If you are planning on traveling around London it is really important to make sure that you know the best ways to get around and what is available for you to use. There is plenty of public transport available but it is worth being aware of what it is and how it works.
The main forms of transport in London are:
Taxis are the most expensive but they are useful if the other forms of transport do not go where you want to go, you have lots of luggage or you do not want to do any walking. The others will run to a timetable and so it is worth knowing what that it. The underground and buses are the most frequent and more local but are less comfortable than a train. The cost to use public transport can also be quite excessive if you don’t know what you’re doing and don’t know how to take advantage of the various offers and deals available.
Some other other things to be aware of:
If you plan on taking your own car into London there is a congestion charge. This varies depending on when you travel, with weekends and bank holidays being free as well as evenings after 6pm. It is much cheaper to pay in advance, so worth looking in to as you can pay online.
It is possible to cycle in London and you can even hire a bicycle once you get there to get about. However, the amount of traffic can put even the most advanced cyclist off. However, there are many cycle routes and maps are available to download.
Travel by most public transport in London can be done with an oyster card. This speeds travel up as you do not have to worry about finding money or cards to pay, you just touch the card in the right place and it deducts the cost of travel. It can make travel much more convenient and faster. You can use a contactless credit or debit card in the same way if you want to. You cannot pay with cash on a bus in London so you need to have a contactless card or Oyster card to travel on them.
It is worth being prepared for big crowds traveling in London particularly at peak times. It can make you feel that you need to hurry as you get carried along in waves of people, but you do need to be careful. Make sure that you check carefully where you are going and whether you are getting on in the right place and at the right time.
Tube strikes can happen and these can cause chaos. It can mean that trains run less frequently, if at all and so people have to travel by bus or taxi instead. It means that there will be much longer to wait and everywhere will be much more crowded. It can be worth avoiding traveling at all in London on these occasions.
If you can avoid travelling before 9am and between 5pm and 7pm you will find that it will be a lot easier. It can also be worth checking for local events that might make particular areas more crowded such as concerts, festivals, shows etc. It is worth checking what’s on guides to avoid those areas and times.
Walking can be a way to avoid the crowds on public transport. However, London is big and so you could find that you will have to walk for miles to get from place to place. A lot of people do walk though and there are good pavements and lots of safe places to cross which helps a lot.
It can be quite expensive to use public transport in London. It is worth comparing prices beforehand, if you can so that you can find the cheapest for you. It is likely that buses will be the cheapest, followed by the underground then trains and then taxis, but it will depend on the time that you are traveling, the distance and how long you travel for.
Accessible Public Transport
All buses in London are wheelchair accessible as are Docklands Light Railway trains. Other services will vary and so you will need to check in advance as to what facilities are available and whether you need to give advanced warning that you will need access. Disabled travelers can get discounted and some free travel so it is worth looking into this as well. You can also ask for staff assistance on trains and tubes and this can be booked in advance.
There are trams in some parts of London which are step free and they are free for wheelchair users. These run from Wimbledon through Croydon to Beckenham. They can be paid for using an Oyster card and they run frequently on Mondays to Saturdays. They have a standard fare in the same way that the London buses do and it is cheaper to pay by Oyster card than paper ticket.