So now you’re finally here in London! Well done for making the big move. Now that you’re here, figuring out how to get around London can sometimes be a bit overwhelming. London is quite a big city and the transport systems can feel like a maze to navigate, so there are a few apps we suggest you download to assist you with your journey planning.
JOURNEY PLANNING APPS
Tube Map – shows you a detailed map of the London underground system with real time departure and journey times, and the quickest route options.
Citymapper – this map covers all types of transportation including tube, bus, bike and taxi rides, and shows you which route is the quickest and cheapest. It also directs you through your travel in real time as you go through your journey.
METHODS OF PAYMENT
An oyster card is the Transport for London suggested mode of payment for all forms of public transport as you cannot pay with cash on the London transport network. Cards can be purchased from ticket machines in underground stations, bus stations, and some local corner stores. Cards cost £5, and the amount for the card is refunded if/when you return the card. You must top up your card whenever your balance is running low to allow you to travel. Topping up your oyster card can be done via machines in stations, and also with the handy TFL app.
Using your contactless card or apple/android pay is the most convenient way to pay for your travel around London. It charges the same amount as an oyster card but without the hassle of having to top up. Contactless payment includes daily and weekly price capping, the same as oyster cards.
UNDERGROUND, TRAINS, OVERGROUND
The most expensive times to travel on the underground are morning and evening rush hours, monday to friday. These are also the busiest times, so try to avoid this if you can as the stations, platforms and tubes are often VERY busy. The cheapest time to travel on the tube and overground trains is on weekends and bank holidays.
Another factor that affects how much your journey will cost is what zones you are travelling to and through. The further you travel the more it will cost you, and any tube/train journey that takes you through zone 1 will also cost more. For example, a journey from zone 1-3 will be cheaper than a journey from zone 1-5, and a journey from 2 separate stations will be cheaper if you DON’T travel through zone 1 to get to your destination.
Travel fees are capped at daily, weekly and monthly prices, so long as you use the same card to tap in and out with you will only ever pay a maximum fare no matter the number of journeys you take. The amount of the capping varies depending on the distance of your journeys and if you travelled in peak or off peak times.
Please click HERE for specific prices for single journeys and a table of price cappings.
( GREAT IF NEED TO BUDGET )
Buses use a very different system for rates, and they instead charge a flat rate of £1.50 per single journey 24/7, 7 days a week. The ‘Hopper Fare’ gives you unlimited journeys for £1.50 made within one hour of touching in. Touch in using the same card or device on all journeys and you get the Hopper fare applied automatically.
WE ALL LOVE A DISCOUNT!
There are a few discount options that can be applied to oyster cards that may be available to you. Unfortunately at the moment no discounts can be applied when using your contactless card to travel.
There are different Railcards available to suit your age and needs; a 16-25 railcard and a 26-30 railcard. Both of these cards apply ⅓ discount on off peak pay as you go travel.
To get either of the discounts, you will have to apply for the cards on the relevant websites.
Please see the links below that have the application process and all the relevant information.
Once your railcard has been sent to you, you can then either register your oyster card online and follow the steps on the website or ask a TFL member of staff in the stations to apply the discount manually for you.
If you are a student you may be able to apply for an 18+ student discount oyster photo card. There are certain criteria that you must meet and documents to be provided to prove your student status. Please see the TFL website for full information. 16-15 and 26-30 railcard discounts can also be applied to student discount oyster cards.
Due to the coronavirus outbreak and in line with British Government rules, face coverings must be worn for the full duration of journeys on the public transport network. Your face covering must cover both your mouth and nose, and it should be discarded after one journey's use. Transport for London also suggests avoiding public transport if at all possible, and to walk or cycle whenever you can. If you have to use public transport then try to avoid rush hour times when it is likely to be busier. Please go to TFL website for more in depth information about particularly busy times and stations.
Register your oyster card or contactless payment card on the tfl website or app. It'll help you keep track of your spending and enable you to get your money back if your card is lost or stolen.
Try to remember to use the same card to tap in and out at the beginning and end of your journeys to properly benefit from daily/weekly capping.
Do ask for help from staff in any of the stations if you are confused or need directions! They are usually very helpful.