Visitors to the famous London Underground could be forgiven for feeling a little overwhelmed by the sheer scale of this busy mass transit system.
Offering a swift and efficient travel option for millions of passengers heading to every corner of the Greater London area each year, the London Underground is a true engineering feat of excellence.
Travellers planning to use the service during their stay in the English capital should not feel daunted though, as here we offer some simple tips that can make getting around this busy city as easy as pie.
Plan your journey
Mapping out one’s journey before reaching the station can be an excellent way to save both time and stress for travellers.
The Transport for London website offers a full route planner service for Underground users, while there are also maps that can be downloaded to mobile phones to help those on the go.
Book tickets in advance
Stations can also be extremely busy at certain times of day, so taking the time to book tickets in advance can help to reduce the time needed to queue and ensure travellers can get down to their platform that much more easily.
Booking travel arrangements in advance will also mean Underground users can secure the best deals on their tickets – something that can be more difficult in the heat of the moment and the rush of buying tickets at the station.
Be prepared for rush hour
Travellers planning to use Underground services during the busy rush hour periods are likely to be that bit more stressed during their journey than at other times, but by planning journeys carefully these busy periods can often be avoided.
Travellers are reminded that London rush hour typically takes place each day from 7.30am to 9.30am and then again between 5pm and 7pm.
The London Underground can be crowded at times, but individuals planning journeys should not let this get to them. Furthermore, taking the wrong train is also a more common occurrence than many people might realise, but travellers have to remember that this is not the end of the world.
By staying calm and simply waiting for the next appropriate connection – Underground trains arrive every two to seven minutes on average – travellers can be back on track and on their way in no time.
Be chivalrous and courteous to others
Despite the fact that many services will be busy, it is important for Underground users to be polite and courteous to one another at all times. This helps to ensure journeys are less stressful for everyone.
Visitors should remember to always keep to the right when using the many escalators dotted around the Underground network, as this allows others to overtake them. Meanwhile, they should also have their tickets ready to be used at the barriers at the entrance and exit to each station to avoid hold-ups and unnecessary frustration.
Keep your belongings safe
An important thing for every traveller on the London Underground to be aware of is the need to keep their belongings on their person at all times and to report any suspicious or unattended belongings to staff.
While the likelihood that travellers will be faced with any loss of their belongings is low, it always pays for travellers to be vigilant. Bags that can be zipped should be fastened securely and valuable items should be stored out of sight.
Check for line closures
There is nothing more stressful than arriving at the Tube with a journey fully planned out, only to realise that part of the route has been closed for maintenance and an alternative plan will therefore be required.
To avoid this, travellers should visit the Transport for London website prior to embarking, as this is where all scheduled line closures, station works and potential delays to their journey will be shown.
Like any busy capital city, upgrades to the London Underground are being carried out all the time. Therefore, it pays to be informed before starting a journey of areas that might be off limits during your stay.
Ask for help if you need it
Finally, with so many stations and the many separate lines and methods to reach many of the network’s most popular destinations, travellers might find they need a little help to plan their journey – and this is something that the friendly staff of the London Underground will be more than willing to provide.
Travellers should not be shy in coming forward to ask for help, especially when doing so can make all the difference in visitors to London having a stress-free experience of using this iconic transport network.