London Travel & Transport

The transport system in London offers visitors a number of ways to get around from public transport such as buses, trains, underground (tube) and docklands light rail to using the road with car hire, taxis, minicabs and using boats on the River Thames.

London Buses are among the most recognisable icons of London. The red buses come in both single and double-decker form and serve an extensive number of routes all over central London and its many districts and suburbs. Buses provide a good way for visitors to get around with services close to many tourist attractions and places of interest. There are also night buses available that run from midnight to 4.30am, visitors should note the frequencies can be limited and they stop on request so passengers need to clearly indicate to the driver to stop at the appropriate stop.

Underground (Tube)
London Underground is among the most famous symbols of London, it is also referred to as the ‘Tube’ and provides visitors with easy access to just about all of central London and stretches out well in to the suburbs. The London Underground is the oldest and one of the most extensive underground metro systems in the world. The Underground provides a quick and easy way of getting around London and is often faster than using the road.

Trains in London serve a number of routes across central London and the outskirts. There are several mainline rail stations in central London including London Victoria, Charing Cross, Farringdon, Blackfriars, Fenchurch Street, Liverpool Street and Marylebone. The rail stations offer local services around London, suburban services to outer London areas and services further out to the South Coast, Midlands, North of England, Scotland and Wales. Passengers should be aware trains in London can get very crowded especially in the morning and evening rush hour.

For more information please see National Rail Enquiries

Docklands Light Railway (DLR)
The Docklands Light Railway (DLR) is a light rail system that first operated in 1987. The trains are famous for being automated operating without drivers, the DLR network extensively covers east London and Docklands and stretches to Bank in central London, Lewisham in south London and London City Airport and Woolwich Arsenal. The services are frequent offering visitors a quick way of getting around.

London River uses the River Thames for boat services providing a useful addition to transport in London. Sometimes overlooked, visitors may wish to consider using the river services offering transport from across central and east London. River Piers range from the Barrier Gardens and O2 Pier to the East and include piers at Blackfriars, Embankment, London Bridge and Westminster in Central London and Putney Pier in the south.

Cycling in London offers visitors an interesting way of setting London and getting around. London has a number of cycle lanes across the capital and in recent years a number of cycling routes have been added offering cyclists better and more direct access across the city. Barclays Cycle Superhighways (BCS) are cycle routes that run from outer London into the central London area with wider clearly marked cycle lanes. The Barclays Cycle Hire (BCH) offers cycle hire from a number of locations in central London and close by with bicycles available at docking stations across central London and can be returned to back to any docking station.

Public Transport Safety Tips
Most journeys on public transport in London go ahead without incident, in order to minimise the chances of any incidents, passengers may wish to consider the following safety tips:

- Be aware of your belongings at all times.
- Do not leave your bags and belongings unattended at any time.
- Stay alert and aware of your environment and those around you.
- Do not show valuables including money and jewellery in public.
- If you are carrying a bag/handbag, ensure you use a bag that has a strong good quality strap and wear it across your shoulder (not on your shoulder), with the pockets closed facing towards your waist. Carrying the bag on your shoulder makes it much easier for criminals to snatch the bag or cut the strap.
- Be careful and cautious in crowds and beware of pickpockets, do not leave anything valuable showing in public including wallets in back trouser pockets.
- Sit in carriages with other passengers do not sit in carriages with no/fewer passengers.
- Try not to use smaller/isolated stations especially at night.
- When waiting for buses, trains, underground, boats, DLR and taxis stand with other passengers in an area that is well lit, do not stand/wait in isolated areas.

There are a number of car hire firms in London that offer car rental services for both short and longer term car hire offering a range of vehicles from small budget cars to family cars to larger mini-buses and luxury cars. London is well known for its traffic congestion along with many other cities, the traffic is usually at its peak during the peak morning and evening rush hours however road incidents and unforeseen circumstances can create traffic congestion at all times.

Drivers should be aware of the London Congestion Charge fee where drivers have to pay to enter the congestion charge zone at certain times.

The famous London black cabs (they are usually black but can be in different colours or have advertising on them) are an iconic symbol of London, the cabs can be hailed from the street, they usually carry up to 5 passengers and drivers have a good knowledge of London’s streets. The taxis available for hire usually have the ‘For Hire’ sign illuminated on the taxi. Taxis can be found on the street or in taxi ranks outside public places including airports and tube and train stations. Taxis can also be booked by telephone. It is important that visitors use only licensed taxis for your safety.

Taxis provide a good way of getting around London offering convenience, comfort, are wheelchair assessable, take guide dogs at no extra charge and have a knowledgeable driver. However visitors should be aware they can be expensive with fares metered, tipping is usually rounded up to the nearest pound.

To book taxi journeys across London see: Dial-a-Cab

Minicabs offer a cheaper option to using taxis; in general they usually charge cheaper rates and need to be pre-booked in advance. Unlike taxis they cannot be hailed from the street, licensed minicabs from reputable firms offer a good option to get around London. Visitors should be aware vehicles are not recognisable as taxis are; they usually look just like ordinary cars.

Minicabs can usually carry 4 passengers with larger vehicles available to carry more. When using minicabs it is recommended visitors only use those that are licensed with the PCO (Public Carriage Office), the PCO disk would be displayed on either the front or back windscreen of the vehicle. Visitors should be aware of unlicensed unbooked minicabs and those touting for business on the street including outside tourist attractions, stations and public places, it is strongly recommended not to use these for your own safety.

Transport for London offers a facility on its website to find both licensed taxi firms and minicabs in different areas. Transport for London also offers a useful facility called Cabwise where you can find the number of one taxi firm & two licensed minicab firms by text from the area in which you are texting. This is a useful service especially if you do not have the taxi/minicabs numbers to hand or are in an area you are unfamiliar with.

For more information please see: Booking Taxis & Minicabs - TFL

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