The London Underground rail network (AKA ‘the Tube’) is the best way to get around the capital. It is divided into nine zones (central London is covered by zone 1). There are 11 Tube lines. The Tube fare depends on how far you travel and the time of day. Oyster or contactless payments are the cheapest ways to pay. Tube services start very early and run until midnight.
If you’re in London for a few days – and to make life easy – you can purchase an Oyster card from a number of outlets displaying the Oyster Card symbol. If you’re not sure just ask a member of staff at any station where to buy one from. The card will cost you £5 and then you load up credit with a regular credit or debit card at machines located at the stations. We suggest £20 per card should keep you going for 2-3 days. Again, staff at the larger stations can show you how to ‘top up’ your Oyster card.
The Oyster is a cost saver too. An adult cash fare on the London tube for a single journey in zone 1 is £4.90. The same Tube fare with an Oyster card is £2.40.
Here are some other useful tips that will make your Tube journey more enjoyable and efficient:
- Using the Tube is about taking the right line in the right direction (i.e. north, south, east, west). On the tube map; spot where you are – and where you need to get to. Your ‘instruction to self’ will be something like this; ‘take the Victoria line going east for 3 stops then change onto the Piccadilly line going north for 2 stops’. What could possibly go wrong! Don’t worry, there are staff members on every platform to help you – just stick together!
- Avoid travelling during rush hours
- Check the front of the train for the correct destination
- Stand on the right when using escalators
- Move down inside the Tube carriages while travelling
- Stand behind the yellow line on platforms
- Hold onto the rails if you are standing during your journey
- ‘Mind the gap!’
For more information and tube maps see the Transport for London website: