Transportation in London
Initial arrival to London could be the most difficult part of your whole journey. Many options for transportation from the airports to your residence are provided but it is advised to plan this ahead in order to avoid major disappointments regarding the carriage of your luggage and proximity (hence duration) of the journey. Especially cab service from certain airports to the city centre may cost a fortune when booked in last minute, hence local knowledge of the issue may be really important. Train services like Stansted Express, Heathrow Express or Gatwick Express may prove to be a cheap option but this may end up leaving you in the middle of a city with your heavy luggage and no practical knowledge of public transportation.
It is advised that you check the “tfl.gov.uk” (Transport for London website) before any journey of yours using the public transport. You can check for services and the easiest way of transport to your final destination. The website includes routes for buses, lines for the tube, maps for walking, cycling and driving. Beware of the warnings on this website as sometimes (especially at the weekends) planned engineering works could disrupt your journey.
Oyster Card is the travel card for public transport. You can buy top-up your card at all underground station as well as in some corner stores. You can choose between weekly, monthly or annual travel cards, or a pay as you go. You may as well apply for a student Oyster card and find out about this on TFL’s website along with the fares associated with this: http://www.tfl.gov.uk/tickets/14416.aspx
If the college/school building you have to commute is close to an underground station, then you may calculate your travel time by multiplying the number of stops with 3 minutes. In order to be able to do this, a tube map of London would be essential. You may download this map from the link http://www.tfl.gov.uk/assets/downloads/standard-tube-map.pdf. Do not forget that the pricing for tube map zones would be varying and shall be considered accordingly. The transportation costs would increase as you go further away from Zone 1 if you travel by trains. However it would not matter for the buses. In choosing your residence area, it may be crucial to consider which underground lines are available. Some lines may not be that reliable and may cause disappointment in medium to longer terms. For example, District Line (Green coloured line on the map) and Circle Line (Yellow coloured line) could be both slow and crowded in peak (7am to 9.30 am and 5.30 pm to 7.30 pm) times.
An alternative way of commuting in London is cycling. As mentioned in the Extracurricular Activities Section you can hire a city bike (also known as Barclay’s or Boris bikes) at one of the docking stations located all around Central London. You can pay with credit card and if you register at Tfl (www.tfl.gov.uk) for a membership key. Cycling is a cheaper option as compared with public transport. But these bikes are slightly heavy and might be difficult to ride. Also bare in mind that London still lacks a proper cycling infrastructure which makes cycling more uneasy and dangerous.
National Rail(ways) Student Card
National Railways covers all around the UK.
If you get a student card, you have to pay a bit large amount of money (which is almost equal to a journey to Manchester!) but if you want to travel a lot in the UK, this card applies %30 discount which compensates the money that you paid for the card many times.
National Express Coaches
National bus service covers the all-around the UK. It is cheaper than trains, but trains are quicker and more efficient.
If you need more detailed information or have any queries regarding either your initial arrival to London or general transportation in London, you may e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org typing “Transportation” as the subject of your e-mail.