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Basic information

  • Area: 1,706.8 km² (659 sq mi)
  • Calling Code: +4420
  • Currency: Pound Sterling (£) GBP
  • Population (EST): 7,556,900
  • Language: English
  • Time Zone: GMT (UTC+0) BST (UTC+1)

London – Getting Around

Boat

There are a number of companies offering boat trips on the Thames including sightseeing tours or cruises with dinner/tea. Services between two or more piers or circular cruises operate on a regular basis and are operated under Licence to London River Services (LRS) whose duties include the regulation of fares and levels of service. Travelcard holders are entitled to significant discounts on boat trips operated under licence from the LRS.

Bus

London offers an extensive bus service, with approximately 4 million journeys being made each weekday. Most bus shelters are now fitted with displays showing waiting times for buses and have maps explaining their routes and where to go for a bus to a chosen destination. Night buses are the only method of public transport available for travel at night as Underground stations close at around midnight.

Taxi

London is full of the famous Black Cabs and their drivers are reputed to provide the best taxi service in the world. Before drivers are awarded their taxi badge they must first pass a comprehensive test assessing their knowledge of London, preparation for which can take in the region of four years. Checks concerning the driver’s character and criminal records are also conducted helping to ensure that Black Cabs are as safe a method of transport as possible. The taxis themselves typically carry five people and luggage, but some models can take six people. Wheelchair access is standard and child seats are available. The London Black Cabs can be booked by phone on 0207 833 0996 or hailed in the street when the yellow taxi sign is lit. They are also to be found on designated ranks in prominent places such as mainline rail, underground and bus stations.

Private Hire Taxis

Private-hire taxis are now coming under regulation by the Public Carriage Office. Licences are granted for a period of five years providing the applicant meets, and continues to satisfy, certain requirements for the duration of the licence. There a numerous private taxi companies in London whose numbers can be found in any local directory. The main difference between private taxis and Black Cabs is that the former must be booked in advance and cannot ply for hire on the street. As with the Black Cabs, private-hire taxis licensed by the Public Carriage Office have regulated fares.

Travel Card

One of the best ways for getting around London is with a Travelcard. London has been divided into six zones for travel, with central London as zone 1. The Travelcard gives convenience and flexibility, entitling the bearer to unlimited travel on any combination of tube, train, bus and Docklands Light Railway within the selected zone(s). However, there are some restrictions on this, such as with the Heathrow Express. Travelcards also offer the holder a significant discount on the standard fares of most scheduled boat services, on the Thames, operated under licence to London River Services. You can purchase Travelcards from Underground and railway stations and also selected newsagents. There are several types of Travelcard available including daily and weekend Travelcards, Travelcards for longer periods of time and family Travelcards.

Underground

Apart from during the rush hour (07:00-10:00 and 17:00-19:00, Monday to Friday) when it is extremely crowded, the underground is generally a comfortable and convenient way to travel. For disabled persons there is a booklet available from any Travel Information Centre which provides details of lifts and ramps at each station. The trains operate from 0530 until about midnight Monday to Saturday and from 0700 to 2330 on Sundays.