Posts Tagged ‘Tube’

London Tube Stations To Get Wi-Fi Before Olympics

Nearly a year ago I wrote about a deal that was supposed to bring Wi-Fi access to all 277 underground subway stations in the NYC subway system. This weekend, the London Underground Transport for London management group announced that they are soliciting companies for a RFP for wi-fi internet access at about 120 London tube stations. The plan is to have the stations wired up before the Olympics arrive in June 2012.

From the TFL, “A contract will be awarded to the chosen bidder by the end of 2011, which could mean that passengers will be able to log on to the internet from their laptops or mobile devices at stations before the 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games.”

“The first phase of wider wi-fi provision on the Tube would be to make available the service currently used by London Underground (LU) staff at 16 stations for passenger use, and then to work to expand this service to other Underground stations”

“Research from Charing Cross Tube station found that over half of LU passengers surveyed felt that access to wi-fi would make their experience of using the Tube better.” This is interesting, I wonder what the feedback will be like when people are talking on their phones to no end while waiting on a super hot tube platform in the summer.

Here’s the key statement from the announcement, “As well as improving journeys for passengers, wi-fi services are a potential future revenue source for LU. “

Google Adds Transit Layer – London and NYC

Last year Google got cozy with the MTA with the launch of transit directions inside of Google Maps. Last week the Google Maps team has announced the launch of a new layer on Google Maps that displays all of the NYC subway routes directly on the map.

There have been many mashups that created something similar in the past but now the subway lines are displayed directly on the map. So far I haven’t been able to find any errors in the lines and/or stations. I am sure my fellow railfans will find any errors this weekend.

The new subway map lines also work on the mobile version of Google Maps. Google notes that they provide transit directions for 436 transit agencies around the world.

While the subway lines on the map are nice, nothing beats the Swiss Rail mashup that shows the trains in real-time and they actually move on the map!

Ewan also reports that the subway layer works in London as well. He calls it a mess and notes how wonderful the Harry Beck London Tube map still is today.

Circle Line Now Circle Plus a Hook

The Circle Line which runs in the London Underground is growing a hook beginning on December 13, 2009. As the TFL (Transport for London) notes, the Circle Line won’t go “round and round” anymore. Instead the route is growing a hook as displayed in the image below.

Some passengers will now need to switch trains but yet still ride on the same line – pretty interesting. Also, the TFL notes that this should help smooth out the line and reduce delays.

Check out all of the changes coming to the Circle Line by 2016 including air-conditioning! The images and videos of the new tube carriages look a lot like the new cars on the Berlin bahn.

As a railfan, I wish I could be in London for the first ride to Hammersmith!

Bus vs. Porsche – Who Wins?

Have you ever wondered who would win in a battle — a porsche or a city bus? Wel the video below provides details on which vehicle wins.  As a bonus we have included bus vs. bus shelter battle.

London Mayor Demands Thames River Returned to Tube Map

Last week the TFL (Transport for London) group put out a new London Tube map. The map removed the fare zones along with the Thames River. London Mayor Boris Johnson was “furious” over the Thames removal.

Apparently both items were removed for clarity. I think the river is one of the things that makes the Tube map special. For me it “grounds” the map and I agree with the London Mayor that it must be re-added.

The BBC has a story about the map change and notes that the Thames River will be re-added later this year during the next map update. TfL said the Thames would return on future maps following an “overwhelming public reaction”. From the BBC story, “Mr Johnson said: “I hope Londoners will imagine the Thames in place until it reappears on the maps, and will not forget their beautiful river.”"

For us NY’ers, it would be like the MTA removing Central Park from the subway map.

London Transport Pricing

London’s transport system offers several ticket options. The system works on “zones”. The main tourist attractions and the center of London are in Zones 1-2. So, except where noted, the pricing discussed below is for Zones 1-2.

(fares updated December 30, 2010 with early 2011 pricing information)

Cash Fares

  • The most basic ticket – a “Cash Single Fare” is £4.00 for most of the network, £4.00 to Heathrow via tube. Approximately 90% of the time, this is not what you want.


  • Travelcards – come in 1, 3 and 7 day options.
    • 1 day zone 1-2 travelcard: £8.00 peak, £6.60 off-peak
    • 3 day zone 1-2 travelcard: the 3 day card has been removed
    • 7 day zone 1-2 travelcard: £27.60 (there is no peak/offpeak)

Oyster Card

  • Oyster Card – this is the newest form of “currency” for the London transport system.
    • From the TFL web site: Oyster is London’s travel smartcard. You can put your Travelcard or Bus Pass season ticket on it, add travel value (cash) to pay as you go or have a combination of both. Oyster cards are also reusable. This means that when your ticket expires you can buy another on the same Oyster card, and when your travel value (cash) runs out, you can just top it up.
    • The basic idea with Oyster is that you load up the card and you receive the best fares possible based on your trip. So for example, a “Single Fare” in cash is  £3.00 but could be free if you have already passed the limits for a day on the Oyster.
    • Oyster charges a £3.00 refundable deposit when initially charging and receiving the card. There is no fee if you only charge the Oyster with the 7 day travel card listed above.
    • Some of the benefits I see with pre-pay Oyster include:
      • easy to use and recharge
      • allows you to travel anywhere in the system and the computer handles how much to charge you for the trip
      • keep the card forever, each trip back to London you use the same card.

My personal preference is that you use an Oyster card for all of your trips. What’s great is that you can share it – so when you return to your home country, pass it along to a friend.