UK Public Transport Travellers Tips

Busy Station, Public Transport

Travelling by public transport represents one of the best ways for visitors to the UK to get around. The public transport system including buses, trains and underground offers the opportunity for visitors to explore much of the UK. In cities such as London the extensive public transport network is used by millions of passengers every day, including tourists, commuters and locals to the area. The UK public transport travellers tips gives useful advice and tips on how to best make use of the public transport available and ensure you stay safe when using it.

Travellers Tips - UK Public Transport

Before You Start Your Trip
During Your Journey
Safety Tips & Considerations
Other Tips & Considerations

Before You Start Your Trip

Plan your journey well, check on journey planners online to get a better idea of the modes of transport i.e. buses, trains & underground available for your journey. Alternatively use the tourist guides and familiarise yourself with the maps and guides and work out how you are going to get where you want to, how much it will cost and how much time it will take on average and how you are going to return.

You may find if you are going somewhere that is not on the tourist trail or is not well serviced by public transport you may have to make alternative arrangements i.e. use public transport up to a certain point and then get a taxi etc, or possibly you may need to take a coach, hire a car or taxi to get to your destination.

Do your research on the public transport services available to your destination and back. Find out the fare, the possible fare options and cheaper options.

Fares especially on trains can vary depending on how close to the time of your journey you purchase them. If you have more time check if booking in advance can save you money.

Consider if you really need to travel at peak time i.e. approx 7am to 10am and 4pm to 7pm. Public transport is at full capacity then and often beyond it, if you can travel off peak away from these hours it can mean a more pleasant journey, less stress, overcrowding and the fares are likely to be cheaper.

Investigate if a daily or weekly bus pass or travel card is cheaper for the journeys you will be making. Passes can save you money if you are going to be travelling regularly for anything more than a day. Even if you are going to be making several journeys in a day, it is likely to be cheaper to get a travel card.

Keep a timetable of the trains, underground & buses with you.

Keep a map of where you are going so you are not totally lost if something unforeseen occurs.

Ensure you have enough fare money to get to and from your destination and some extra in case of an emergency.

Ensure you take your mobile phone and make sure it is fully charged.

Keep the number of licensed taxis/cabs in case you need to use them during your journey.

During Your Journey

If the bus, train or underground train is particularly full and another service is coming soon you may wish to avoid getting on the overcrowded one. This is useful if you have a long journey ahead, are travelling with baggage or children, disabled or older people. There are times when all the services are crowded, at other times especially off peak hours some services may be a bit less full.

Keep a low profile, do not alert everyone to the fact you are a tourist or new in town.

Be aware strangers rarely engage in conversation with one another on UK public transport, unlike in some other places around the world. People starting conversations with others they do not know may get looks of bewilderment!

Keep your mobile phone in your pocket where you can use it in an emergency in case you need it. Do not show mobiles and any other valuables on the bus, train or underground unnecessarily.

If you sense any danger or possible danger be pro active, on the bus alert the bus driver, on a train move to another carriage. Use your anticipation & instincts to keep you safe and stay out of potential situations.

Be aware of who is sitting and standing close to you and ensure no valuables are on display or can be assessed easily. Watch your bags/luggage.

Safety Tips & Considerations

Do not show any valuables such as jewellery or money in public.

Consider wearing coats with pockets that close, especially those with inside pockets to keep valuables such as wallets, purses safely out of public view.

Ensure you close/button up coats, jackets/suit jackets especially when boarding and disembarking off public transport, this can help stop any valuables falling out and discourage pickpockets.

Do not leave your bag/baggage/luggage unattended for any reason.

Use bags/luggage with good locks on them and ensure the bags are locked when travelling.

If you are carrying a bag/handbag, ensure you use a bag that has a good quality strong 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.

Keep the money you need to pay for the fare ready separate from your main wallet (or in a different pocket). That way you do not take out your main wallet in public.

Be careful and cautious in crowds and beware of pickpockets, do not leave anything valuable showing in public including wallets in back trouser pockets.

Be aware and alert at all times to your surroundings, environment and those around you.

If you are lost or confused as to where you are or what to do, ask for help from official public transport staff.

Act and appear confident in public, do not appear afraid or look lost, criminals can sense fear in potential victims.

On Buses:

Sit on the ground floor close to the driver

Use well known bus stops on well lit main roads

Try to avoid using the last bus on a given route.

Do not use isolated bus routes, stops and avoid using buses late at night.

On Trains:

Sit in carriages where there are lots of other people, do not sit in carriages with no/few other passengers.

Sit in carriages close to the front of the train not towards the back.

When waiting at a train stop, wait where there are other people and it is well lit. Do not go to any isolated areas away from other passengers.

If you sense danger, feel in danger or uncomfortable change the carriage and consider getting off the train at the next stop.

Try to plan your journey so you do not use isolated stations, use larger stations with more people.

Avoid using the last train on a given route try to use the train preceding the last one or two trains before.

On the Underground:

Sit in carriages where there are lots of other people, do not sit in carriages with no/few other passengers.

Sit in carriages close to the front of the train not towards the back.

When waiting at an underground station, wait where there are other passengers. The platforms can be long, do not wait where it is isolated away from others and it poorly lit.

If you sense danger, feel in danger or uncomfortable change the carriage and consider getting off the underground at the next stop.

Try not to use smaller/isolated stations when travelling alone especially at night.

Avoid using the last underground train at night, try to use the one before the last one or two trains before.

On Taxis/Minicabs:

Use licensed taxis & minicabs, ask your hotel or holiday/travel provider to recommend a trusted taxi firm.

Never use unlicensed taxis and minicabs. Beware of some minicabs touting for business outside tourist attractions, pubs, clubs, and theatres, do not use them you could be putting yourself in danger.

Before you get in the taxi ensure you keep the approx fare ready and do not to go through your wallet.

Keep your mobile in your pocket in case you need it.

Double check the taxi driver knows where you need to get to avoid confusion & check it is the correct taxi for you.

If you are uncomfortable or sense danger, do not get in the taxi, cancel it and get another one.

Other Tips & Considerations

Public transport is in many ways at the mercy of many external factors travellers cannot control, the weather, environment conditions, incidents arising, strikes on the services & any other unforeseen circumstances can affect your journey. Be prepared for this, stay cool and do not panic.

Allow plenty of time to get to your destination and to return again, there may be traffic or other factors that could delay you.

Our UK public transport travellers tips are intended to inform travellers of things to look out for, things to avoid and practical measure to help ensure their journey on public transport is a safer one. Many points to have been highlighted for travellers to consider, it is important to keep things in perspective and note the vast majority of the millions of journeys on public transport go without incident each day. Travellers that are well informed, knowledgeable, plan their trips well and take sensible precautions are likely to find public transport despite its flaws offers a great way for travellers to see the UK.

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