Public transport in London can be a confusing and hectic affair, but it can be less so if you follow our five tips below. They’ll be mistaking you for a seasonal commuter before long.
1. There’s a time and a place for standing or sitting. When you’re on an escalator in the Underground, you want to stand on the right, and walk on the left. Few things will gain you more contempt than ignoring this hallowed rule. Similarly, drivers don’t like you to stand on the top deck of the bus. So if it’s full, go back downstairs.
2. Get an oyster card. Seriously. These badboys can help you explore the entire city on the bus and the Tube. They come with a variety of travel cards for students and others that need concessions, and although you have to put down a £5 deposit for the card itself, it’s fully refundable. Useful, huh?
3. Don’t make eye contact on public transport. Haven’t you heard? Londoners are a bit like bulls – if you look them in the eye, they charge. Seriously though, Tube etiquette is a serious business. Pay attention to the announcements, let people get off the trains first and move right down inside the carriages. And whatever you do, don’t make eye contact.
4. London has five airports. It’s really useful to remember this little fact since it can make all the difference to how cheap and easy it is to get to your hostel. London is a big place and you don’t want to spend hours fighting across it if you’ve just endured a long flight. The five airports are called Luton, Gatwick, Heathrow, City and Stansted. All have good connections to the city centre but if you have a late flight, it’s worth checking you’ll make the last train or coach beforehand.
5. Love the nightbus. London doesn’t have plans to get the Tube operating all night until later this year, so until then, the nightbus is the best friend of seasoned clubbers and night owls. Services to all corners of the city are frequent and they’re extremely useful for making your way home after midnight.