London rates high as a visitor-friendly city with most international tourists. Helping to keep it at the top of the tourism charts is the city’s highly-efficient and expertly managed transportation network.
The Mayor of London`s “Transport for London” agency, also known as TfL, oversees most of London`s metropolitan transport system, including the well-known “London Buses”, the Underground, Tramlink, Docklands Light Railway, London Overground and the major roads of the city.
Spoiled for Transport Choices
London Underground (or the Tube,) is the world`s oldest metro rail transit system, dating back to 1863. A staggering 3 million people use the Tube every day, ranging from tourists to business users. The Tube is made up of 11 inter-connected lines which link the suburbs to the city centre and connect up to London`s major rail terminals.
The London Underground
The “Docklands Light Railway” is an automated train service in the Docklands area of the city. It shares its fares system with the Underground and the two services are connected by numerous interchanges. The system connects the Royal Docks and Isle of Dogs to each other and also serves London City Airport and Woolwich station.
London`s Tram System dates back to Victorian times and boasts an extensive network, mostly serving the employment region in Croydon. Tramlink connects Croydon to surrounding suburbs and to the centre of Wimbledon town.
Open-top Tour Bus
London is also home to an exciting city tour for visitors by “Open-top Tour Bus” with an entertaining commentary in a variety of languages and over 90 stops across the city.
With a one day pass purchased from ‘The Original Tour’ company, tourists can use the ‘Hop-on-Hop-off’` service to board any of the brightly-colored sightseeing buses according to convenience and fancy.
The services run daily with tours departing every 20 minutes and provide a cost-effective and fun means to explore the city`s attractions. The day pass also includes free walking tours and a river cruise ticket.
London Buses and Hackney Cab
London has an extensive bus network with over 700 routes. It caters mainly for local journeys and runs day and night, providing a 24-hour service. Many of these routes still ply the iconic red “double-deckers”, made famous in many period movies.
Nearly all of these distinctive buses are now modernized to better cater to disabled passengers. The bus system has been subject to recent improvements on a number of routes, making it a more frequent and reliable service.
The Hackney Carriage
London transport is synonymous with the hackney carriage, or the ubiquitous black cab. The black cabs are a common sight and only the most experienced of London drivers are privileged enough to drive them. Fares are set by TfL and calculated using a Taximeter in the car. Taxis can be hired from ranks, found at train stations and busy areas, or even hailed on the street.
London’s Green Transport
An increasingly popular form of transportation in London is the humble bicycle. Since the year 2000, the city has seen a rise in the number of cyclists, who enjoy the cost savings, the heady feeling of independence and health benefits that accrue from cycling. Many Londoners own their own bicycles. But also in operation since 2010, is the Barclays Cycle Hire scheme, which aims to supply upto 6,000 bicycles for hire at docking stations across the city.
Passenger transport along the River Thames has seen a revival in recent years following the introduction of the London River Services in 1999. A network of river bus services is now available for commuters and leisure cruise boats are in operation, making use of London`s 22 piers. A water bus service also operates along Regent`s Canal during the summer.
Tourists and visitors to the UK have much holiday happiness to look forward to. Wherever you may be based in England`s capital city, be it in a hotel or an apartment, you will be readily served by London’s vast and efficient transport network that makes it near impossible to miss out on any exciting tourist attraction and fun location that may strike your fancy.