London

Transportation in London:

Everything to Know About Public and Private Transport- and everything in between!

Public Transport

London's internal transport system is one of the Mayor of London's four policy areas, administered by its executive agency Transport for London (TfL).

TfL controls the majority of public transport in the area, including the Underground, London Buses, Tramlink, the Docklands Light Railway (DLR), and London Overground rail services within Greater London; other rail services are franchised to train operating companies by the national Department for Transport (DfT).

All information on the Underground tubes, DLR, London Overground and TfL Rail can be found by visiting: TfL.gov.uk

London is the focal point of the British railway network, with 14 terminus stations providing a combination of commuter, intercity, airport and international services. Most areas of the city not served by the Underground or DLR are served by commuter heavy rail services into one of these terminals. These suburban rail services are not part of Transport for London (apart from London Overground) but are owned and operated by a number of private rail firms.

The terminals are Blackfriars, Cannon Street, Charing Cross, Euston, Fenchurch Street, King's Cross, Liverpool Street, London Bridge, Moorgate, Marylebone, Paddington, St. Pancras, Victoria and Waterloo.

Fares

Most of the transport modes that come under the control of TfL have their own charging and ticketing regimes for single fare. Buses and trams share a common fare and ticketing regime, and the DLR, Overground, Underground, and National Rail services another.

Rail service fares in the capital are calculated by a zonal fare system. London is divided in to eleven fare zones, with every station on the London Underground, London Overground, Docklands Light Railway and, since 2007, on National Rail services, being in one, or in some cases, two zones. The zones are mostly concentric rings of increasing size emanating from the centre of London. They are (in order):

Superimposed on these mode-specific regimes is the Travelcard system, which provides zonal tickets with validities from one day to one year, and off-peak variants. These are accepted on the DLR, buses, railways, trams, the Underground and provides a discount on many river services fares.

For more information, visit: TfL - Fares & Payments 

 

Contactless Bank Cards and Oyster Cards

Contactless bank cards: The current contactless card payment limit in the UK is £20. Contactless payments (UK issued Bank Cards - Debit and selected Credit Cards) are an alternative means of payment, which allows a direct method of payment from your assigned bank account. This method of payment gives a substantial amount of savings when travelling past multiple zones (past Zones 5-9) 

This video explains how : Contactless Versus Oyster

Adult 2017 fares and daily capping information can be found by visiting: http://content.tfl.gov.uk/adult-fares-2017.pdf

The Oyster card is a contactless smart card system introduced for the public in 2003, which can be used to pay individual fares (pay as you go) or to carry various Travelcards and other passes. It is used by holding the card close to the yellow card reader. Card readers are found on ticket gates where otherwise a paper ticket could be fed through, allowing the gate to open and the passenger to walk through, and on stand-alone Oyster validators, which do not operate a barrier. Oyster Pay-As-You-Go has a set of daily maximum charges that are the same as buying the nearest equivalent Day Travelcard.

For official information, visit: TfL - Oyster cards

Journey Planning

TfL has developed an electronic "Journey Planner",which enables users to plan journeys by all forms of public transport and bicycle in and around London.

http://www.tfl.gov.uk/gettingaround/1106.aspx

 

Bicycles

Santander Cycles is London's self-service, bike-sharing scheme for short journeys

You can hire a bike from as little as £2. Simply go to any docking station with your bank card and touch the screen to get started.

There's no need to book - hire a bike, ride it where you like, then return it to any docking station.

For more information, visit: TfL - Santander Cycles

 

Driving in London

Driving in and around Central London can be a challenge and is not highly recommended.

However, if you do need to drive in London, be aware London's roads are busy and congested; if you drive through Central London you'll have to pay the congestion charge  and parking in London  ("Pay & Display" schemes, "phone parking",  car parking companies, residential parking) is limited and expensive.

Should you wish to drive to London or use a car while you're in town, there are some important things to know:

  1. First, Britons drive on the left side of the road.
  2. Second, you need a valid driving licence, automobile insurance, automobile registration, Tax discs, which show you have paid the annual road tax and a neighbourhood parking permit (if applicable).

The website that gives all required information concerning vehicle insurances, tax and driving licenses  is DVLA or on Road rules.

Under British law:

  • All drivers and passengers must wear seatbelts.
  • It is prohibited to drive while using a hand-held mobile phone or similar device.
  • Car seats or appropriate restraints are compulsory for children. Motorcyclists must wear a helmet.
  • There are also strict laws about driving while under the influence of alcohol.

To familiarize with street rules and signs it is advisable to obtain a copy of the Highway Code, which details the rules of the road including street signs. It is available at AA (Automobile Association) and RAC outlets as well as many bookshops and Tourist information centers.

Driving Licence

It is legal to drive in Britain with a valid driving licence from outside the UK for up to 12 months from the time of arrival. After that it depends on the Country your driving licence was issued how to proceed.

Click here to see more details about exchanging or applying for a driving licence.

Alternatives To Owning A Car

If you don't bring your own car to London and you don't want to buy one whilst your living in London but still need a car once in a while there are several options.

1)You can hire a car. Please also make sure to pay congestion charge when going through central London and  arrange a visitors parking permit if you are planing on  keeping the car throughout the night.

2) You can join a car club, preferably you are longer-stay visitors who wish to drive regularly. Car clubs give you access to a car when you need it, for a fraction of the cost of owning and running your own vehicle. For information on car clubs please visit http://www.carplus.org.uk/car-clubs/

3) If you'd rather not drive yourself, you can book a London Taxi or one of the many mini cabs or chauffeur services on offer.(Swiss cottage cars, Airport Executives, etc.)

Coming soon! Updates on the following top tips:

Helpful Apps for Your Smartphone

Cabs and Mini-Cabs

Helpful Tips: Cars and Rentals

Last updated: 23 Jan 2017