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Hints n' Tips for sane tube travel .
London Underground in General
Member Name: nullpoint
London Underground in General
Date: 20/09/00, updated on 31/12/00 (83 review reads)
Advantages: When it's running it can be decent
Disadvantages: Dirty , expensive , unreliable
If you're a first time traveller on the tube then things can get pretty confusing - especially when things go wrong ! I've used the tube for getting in and out of london on a daily basis so I'll just offer a few extra tips to those that have already been put forward in the excellent opinion in this section .
Getting into London :
* Try and buy tickets in advance . A lot of the smaller local stations are really heavily hit in the mornings by people buying tickets . You can guarantee the day you need to get to work on time you'll get stuck behind someone renewing their yearly travel card . Queues are especially bad on Mondays - make sure you get there early .
* Travel on the underground is worked out by zones . If you know how much your ticket is you can use the smaller ticket machines ( which there is usually lesss of a queue for ) . There's no reduction for getting a return fare - and if you're buying a return to say Charing Cross you're really buying a single to zone 1 ( central london ) and a single back out again .
This has the benefit that you don't have to leave from the same station you've travelled to if it's closed or delayed for example.
* Check out the new touch screen ticket machines - but if you're travelling into London in the morning remember that you can have one ticket purchase per card per day per station .
* Ticket machines are a lot more unreliable taking £10 or £20 notes than £5 notes . I think this probably depends on how much change they have but I've never had a £5 note rejected from a machine - even tatty old ones that are falling apart .
* If you're travelling into London and you're near the end of the line on a day when the service is delayed - make sure that you get on a train where you don't have to change ( even if it means waiting ) . Usually when you get off to change the trains behind the one you're o
n will be so crouded you won't be able to get on them .
* Get a copy of the Metro ( free newspaper available at underground stations ) .
* If you're a uni student in London enquire at uni and get yourself a student photocard - they're a quid . They're valid for a year and get you 33% off the price of monthly and yearly tickets but have to be issued by your uni . Asking around the student union is a good place to start - most places will encourage you to get one anyway .
* Keep your ticket safe . London Underground has it's fair share of wannabe bouncers at stations who will charge you £10 if you don't have a valid ticket .
* If you buy tickets from touts you run the slim risk of the people at the station charging you again if they see you ( Underground staff generally turn a blind eye to the touts themselves ) .
* Travel cards are around £2 more expensive before 9:30am - check if a return is cheaper .
* Travelcards can be bought up to 4 days in advance which helps if you know you're going to be travelling . It doesn't help you beat the rush on Monday morning though unless you're travelling after 9:30 ( or you're willing to pay £2 extra ) .
* Take a few essential items with you -
A can of your favourite antiperspirant - tubes get rediculously hot in summer .
A personal stereo - to blot out all the other people with personal stereos .
Travelling out of london :
* If you're travelling from Tottenham Court Road on the northern line - don't trek down the spiral staircase they point you towards . Take the escalator down and turn left - saves a walk especially when its wet and slippery .
* During rush hour the Victoria line gets extremely crouded
* Buy tickets at lunchtime if you can
When you're delayed :
* If you're delayed for more than 15 minutes you're allowed to claim back
the price of the journey you're on . Get one of the Customer Charter forms from the station - they're freepost and you can fill them in while you're waiting . If your ticket gets swallowed by a ticket gate and you don't have one to attach - London Underground will still refund your fare ( if it's a single or return ) .
* If the line you're on is suffering delays and your train is stationary at a station - get onto another line if you can . If you're not going well out of your way you'll probably save a fair bit of time - especially in central London as the stations are so close together .
Useless things to watch out for :
* Chocolate machines on the underground are very unreliable and the the contents are usually melted . If you're unsure if a machine is working or not key in '110' and if it doesn't report 'OK ! NO PROBLEMS' don't stick your cash in it .