London offers the traveler one of the biggest and the best networks of urban transport that can be found anywhere in the world. It has river, road and rail travel systems that are integrated and they span the thirty three boroughs of this great city.
Buses offer a convenient, quick and economical way to move around London. You have many sightseeing opportunities with buses, en route. The London bus network continues to improve with the introduction of technology, security cameras, bus lanes and new buses while older ones like the Routemaster and bendy buses are retired. Many of the buses also offer access for wheelchairs, and spaces for them as well as for buggies. Bus fares could be paid by using an Oyster Card, a Visitor Oyster Card, a Travel Card or a Contactless Payment Card. To see more of London, it is best to take a front seat in the upper deck.
The underground rail network of London is popularly referred to as the `Tube’. It is the easiest and the fastest way of moving around London. London has a 11 Tube lines serving 270 stations, as well as the Docklands Light Railway and a local train network system that is interconnected. The underground trains begin their run at five in the morning and they operate until midnight from Mondays to Saturdays. On Sundays, their operating hours are reduced. London has the world’s first underground railway, the Metropolitan Railway, which opened in 1863. It is now part of the Circle, Hammersmith & City and Metropolitan lines.
Docklands Light Railway
This is an innovative railway system that runs without drivers. It serves sections of South East London and East London and that includes Canary Wharf. DLR connects with the Tube network at the Bank and Tower Gateway Stations and also at Bow and Canning Town. It serves London City Airport to the East and Docklands and Greenwich to the South.
River Bus Service
Travelling by the River Thames Bus service is an exciting way to travel across this city. You will be able to escape the traffic jams and you would also get to see some fabulous sights, en route. The River Bus Service is a frequent and a fast mode of transport in London. Majority of the boats offer refreshments and an opportunity to see the famous landmarks of London from the riverside. They do not offer commentaries for tourists and travelers, unlike the river tours; yet, they are a great choice among both visitors and local commuters.
Travelers use the local trains and treat them as the over-ground network in London to travel across and beyond the limits of the Tube. The over-ground rail services traverse and cut across the city. They extend far beyond the network reached by the Tube. There is a total of 366 rail and passenger stations in and around London. Most local rail lines connect with the Tube effectively and they accept payment by the Oyster Card, the Visitor Oyster Card, Travel Card and the Contactless Payment Card.
Trams first ran in London between 1860 and 1952, then got phased out and were re-introduced in 2000. Trams operate in sections of South London between Croydon, New Addington, Wimbledon and Beckenham. Their services are accessible and frequent. The tram network in London is popularly referred to as `Tramlink’. The access to trams is step-free as there is no need of using ramps or special features for the purpose of boarding. All travel on trams is free of charge for wheelchair passengers, regardless of whether or not they are holding a Freedom Pass.
Cycle Hire Scheme
The bicycle hiring scheme for the public in London is an adventurous but risky way to travel around the city because of inadequate cycle lanes. This bicycle sharing scheme is available round the clock on all days of the year. There are more than eleven thousand bicycles and seven hundred and fifty docking stations that are in circulation all across London for people to get around easily and quickly. The bicycle hiring scheme includes South London so that travellers may use it anywhere from Canary Wharf to Shepherd’s Bush and from Camden Town to Wandsworth Town. Popularly known as ‘Boris Bikes’, after the former mayor of London, Boris Johnson, they can be hired at the docking station terminal with bank cards. Customers just have to touch the screens and follow instructions to use. The bicycles can be returned to any of the hundreds of docking stations across London.
The iconic London black cabs now come in a variety of colours and sometimes in advertising brand liveries. They can be hailed at any point on streets or at their designated ranks that are sometimes located around tube and train stations and busy commuter areas. There are also mini-cabs, which essentially, are taxis which may be booked in advance but which are not licensed to pick up passengers who hail them in the street. They can also be booked over the telephone or via mobile apps. Taxis offer you a safe and efficient travel experience in London. If the signs at the front on the yellow taxis are illuminated, it means that they are available for hire. Black cabs could be hired for up to twelve miles or up to one hour of duration of the journey. Black cabs at the airport are authorised to take on journeys for up to twenty miles.
Travelers can take rides on London’s cable cars and get great view of East London and Greenwich and this includes the O2, Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park and Cutty Sark. These cable cars allow passengers to ‘glide’ above River Thames to see the exciting sights of London. They are a fun and convenient way to travel from the Royal Docks to the Greenwich Peninsula.
Transport for Disabled People
Senior citizens and disabled travellers are entitled to discounted fares on all public transport systems in London. All mobility scooter and wheelchair users can travel free on trams, trains and buses. However, their carriers and companion travellers have to pay full fares for moving around with them. There are Disabled Persons Rail Cards for local residents that can be loaded on to Oyster Cards for a third off a majority of fares. Persons holding these cards, when travelling on National Rail services, are eligible for discounted fares. Staff will assist disabled persons to help them board trains and then be met at their destinations at both over-ground and Tube stations. Bookings may also be done through the Travel Assist services. People requiring help on National Rail services have to book a day in advance.