This section of InsideTransit will help you to understand how the London Underground works, pricing, routings, tips, and more.
Allen’s System Overview:
I think the tube is one of the best transit systems in the world. Ok, yes there are many delays. I think many of these could be avoided and I am pretty sure by the time the 2012 Olympics come around, all of those issues with signaling will be cleared up. There are 13 lines as part of the tube: Bakerloo, Central, Circle, District, East London, Hammersmith & City, Jubilee, Metropolitan, Northern, Piccadilly, Victoria, Waterloo & City and the Docklands Light Railway (DLR). The DLR is very interesting, it is controlled basically completely by computers and you can sit in the "driver’s seat" and make believe you are driving!
The basics of the system are quite easy. Most stations have a journey map for the specific line as you descend the stairs to the platform. I suggest you take a minute to read these maps closely. Many of the lines have multiple destinations. For example, the District line shows 6 (yes, six!) main destinations with possible sub-destinations as well. Choose wrong, and time and frustration will be added to your journey. Also, once on the platform, there are computerized signposts up above showing which train is arriving next and how long until the train arrives. This makes getting on the correct train easier.
Another wonderful benefit of the system is the helpful Transport workers who will help you with any of your queries. There are generally assistants near the oyster and ticket machines to help you with purchasing the right type of ticket as well as basic journey queries. This is a great service and their great attitude helps you relax on your transit journey!
There are some AWESOME deals currently running:
- For mainline travel to outside of London, check out: Greatfares from FirstGreatWestern (I saved over 30 quid with this one!) (appears to be expired as of 6/1)
- For travel on the Heathrow Express, you can save 25%! by putting in this code 200007 at the Heathrow Express web site (I saved over 4 quid on this one!)
- For travel on the Gatwick Express, you can save 25%! by putting in this code 200006 at the Gatwick Express web site
- There is another special with 4 for 2 — pay for 2 adults, get 2 free – Gatwick Express
Interesting Quirks about the London Underground:
Ok – here are some of the interesting quirks I have come across over the years. Please drop me a line with your quirks and I will add them here and credit you!
- In the USA trains "stop" at stations, in the UK, they "call" at stations. You are likely to hear "This is a 15:40 train to High Barnet, calling at Camden Town and Archway"
- Trains are operated by 1 person, an operator. There are a series of monitors at the operators end of each platform so they can monitor traffic on and off the train.
- Does the Circle line have an end?
I have found that taking the Underground is as easy as other major subway systems. One of the pet peeves I have is that the system is non-airconditioned. I am actually shocked that a capital city, one of the top cities in the world, has not figured out how to aircondition the carriages. If it can be done in NYC, it can be done in London.
Another rant would be around express routes. I would wonder what the London system would look like if they had real express tracks within the zone 1 area. For example, could you imagine an express train running from Heathrow to Covent Garden stopping only 1-2 times in between? (oh wait, that will kill their revenue rich Heathrow Express). Or an express on some of the further out lines. And to the Londoners, yes I know there are a few places where a line skips some stops but that is not truly an express train.
Tags: london underground