The London Underground, or ‘the Tube’ as it’s known by locals, is one of the busiest and most used public transport networks in the world with an estimated 1.35 billion passenger trips per year! That’s right, 1.35 billion! It is a sprawling mass of tunnels and rail networks under the city, that offer an unprecedented level of access to pretty much anywhere you could want to go.
First opened in 1863 as the world’s first underground passenger train, the network has expanded to include well over 200 stations, and is still expanding to this day. The Tube exists in a perfect dichotomy; being simultaneously heralded as the best and most expansive public rail network in any city anywhere in the world, whilst at the same time being notoriously difficult for beginners and visitors to use! With lines that split, maps that look like a headache printed on paper, and a labyrinth of tunnels leading to platforms deep under the city, it’s easy to see why people struggle.
Having said that, if you stick to a few simple rules, make sure you are prepared and don’t upset any busy Londoners, you’ll be fine. This guide should help you to have a smooth run on your first time using the Tube, so keep reading and let us help you to make the most of your Premier Club Rewards the next time you stay at the Park Grand London Hyde Park Hotel. Let’s take a look.
Get Your Tickets Before You Arrive
One of the greatest things you can do to ensure smooth journeys around the city is booking your tickets online before you even reach the city. Purchasing an Oyster Card is one of the best purchases you will make during your trip. It allows you discounted rail tickets and can be used at all the stations with a simple tap. Make sure you scan your pass as you board and alight the train; the money will be automatically subtracted, and away you go! There are many different types of Oyster cards, from options best suited to locals, to 1 day visitor passes; so check out the website for the options best suited to you.
Navigating the Tube
As previously mentioned, navigating the Tube can be hard- even for locals. But there are a few tips and tricks you can use to help you out a little on your way.
Getting Around the Stations
When you arrive at a station in the city centre, it will more than likely be a gate leading to an escalator or stairs to take you underground. Duh, right? Make sure you stick to the correct side, some areas allow for pedestrians to travel in one direction only, so be mindful of the signage! Tap your oyster card at the ticket gates on the yellow/ gold Oyster pads and away you go.
Catching the Right Train
Many of the lines that make up the network split. So a train could arrive at your platform and be the correct line for your direction of travel, but it could veer off and end up somewhere totally different than your intended destination. Make sure you check the end destination of a train before boarding, if it doesn’t end in your desired direction, don’t get on! Another one will be along shortly.
Using the Right Lines
Make sure you plan ahead and know the lines you are travelling on for the day. Some stations actually access several different lines, so finding the right platform for you can be difficult. For example, Kings Cross St. Pancras Tube Station allows you to connect to pretty much all the major lines in the city. Ensuring you know exactly which lines will take you to your destination will save you lots of time.
Tube Map App
Apps like Citymapper and TfL Go can be invaluable to a newbie riding the underground for the first time. Even Londoner’s who use the tube every day benefit from the services. Citymapper takes into account every single train above and below ground, as well as buses and bus stops. You can enter your desired destination and the app will plot the easiest route for you, it will even give you times and prices to get you there in good stead. Just make sure you enter your destination whilst above ground, you don’t always get a signal in the tunnels!
Here is a quick list of simple rules you should follow in order to get around safely and quickly on the underground; and also to avoid the wrath of a busy Londoner going about their day!
- Stand on the right- When riding escalators stand to the right if you are moving slowly or standing still. This leaves a space for people who are moving quicker than you to pass.
- Move down the platform- When you arrive on your desired platform and are waiting for a train, try and move away from the entrance to the platform. You will be amazed at how many people can squeeze onto a platform at busy times if people do this!
- Stay behind the yellow line- This one is pretty self explanatory, for your safety, and the safety of others, stay behind the line!
- Stand clear of the doors- When your train pulls in, make sure you avoid the doors and let others off the train before you try and get on!
- Move to the centre of the carriage- Again, move away from the doors and allow others to board the train, it gets busy down there!
- Hold on!- Don’t be that person who thinks they can stand there all cool and not hold on. There are some bumpy tracks and the trains move fast! Don’t injure yourself or other travellers, get a grip and hold on tight.
So there you have a good list of things that will help you to have a successful journey when travelling on the Tube. Whether you are a first timer or a veteran, it can be a complicated place, so make sure you are fully prepared! Make the best possible use of your Loyalty Rewards Programme enjoy a stress free trip to London whilst you explore the city from your Paddington Court Executive Rooms.