We’re were at the LT Museum earlier today. It was a pretty informative visit and this entry will be about what we’ve learnt – Transport in London.
First, a brief history of the London Transport museum before we carry on.
London Transport Museum
London Transport Museum or also known as LT Museum, houses collections that covers a wide spectrum of materials and media, including vehicles, rolling stock, posters and original artworks, signs, uniforms, photographs, ephemera, maps and engineering drawings.
Together, they make up the most comprehensive record of urban mass transit in the world.
By conserving and explaining the Capital city’s transport heritage, LT Museum offers people an understanding of the Capital’s past development and engages them in the debate about its future.
London Transport Museum is based in Covent Garden, London who’s true aim is to be the world’s leading museum of urban transport while seeking to conserve and explain the transport heritage of Britain’s capital city
London Transport Museum’s collection originated in the 1920s, when the London General Omnibus Company decided to preserve two Victorian horse buses and an early motor-bus for future generations.
The Museum of British Transport opened in an old bus garage in Clapham, south London, during the 1960s, before moving to Syon Park in west London in 1973 as the London Transport Collection.
In 1980, the public displays moved again, this time to occupy the Flower Market building in Covent Garden as the London Transport Museum.
The Flower Market building
Markets selling ‘fruits, flowers, roots and herbs’ were established in Covent Garden by the Earl of Bedford in the year of 1670.
In the 1830s, permanent buildings replaced the traders’ stalls in the central square and as the market grew, additional buildings for specialist trading grew up around the piazza.
The building that now houses London Transport Museum was designed as the dedicated Flower Market by William Rogers in 1871.
For the next hundred years, this was the heart of London’s wholesale flower business, famously trading every day except Christmas and by the 19th century, Covent Garden had become London’s principal vegetable, fruit and flower market.
1974 – That’s when all the market businesses were relocated and moved out to modern warehouses at Nine Elms in south London. The old market buildings in Covent Garden were restored and the Flower Market became the home of the London Transport Museum, opening in March 1980.
The cast iron and glass architecture has an appropriate feel for a transport museum, being similar to a Victorian railway station.
Transport in London
London has one of the largest urban transport networks in the world, with integrated bus, river and road systems spanning the city’s 32 boroughs.
London’s famous red buses are a quick, convenient and cheap way to travel around the city, with plenty of sightseeing opportunities along the way.
The buses run throughout the night and night bus services cover the period between the close of the Tube and the start of daytime bus services. In addition, many London bus routes run for 24 hours.
London Bus Fares
There is a flat fare throughout the bus network.
It will cost £1.40 by paying with a pre-pay Oyster card and £2.40 if you are paying by cash.
Travelcards are valid on buses.
London Bus Passes
Bus passes are valid for the whole bus and tram network in London, unlike the Tube there are no fare zones.
And with Oyster’s daily price cap system, the most you will be charged per day when you use Oyster to pay as you go on bus and tram services is £4.40.
Buy Before You Board/Ticket Machines
Most routes in Central London require you to buy tickets before you board.
Ticket machines selling single fares are located next to the main bus stops on these routes. You’ll need the exact money as the machines do not give change. Many newsagents sell bus passes and also have Oyster top-up facilities.
London Bus Tours
London bus tours provide a unique opportunity to appreciate the full architectural splendor of London’s famous streets and monuments.
Tour guides offer historical background and interesting facts, with commentaries available in several languages.
The London Underground rail network, or “The Tube” as it is best known, is normally the quickest and easiest way of travelling around London.
Greater London is served by 12 Tube lines, along with the Docklands Light Railway (DLR) and an interconnected Local Train Network. Underground trains generally run between 5am and midnight, Monday to Saturday, and operating hours are reduced on Sunday.
Zones and Tube Fares
For the purposes of working out different fares, London’s transport map is divided into six concentric zones. Zone 1 and 2 are in Central London and Zones 6 to 9 cover the outer edge of the capital.
Consider purchasing an Oyster card and/or a Travelcard to get the best fares and beat the queues. If you’re caught on the Tube without a valid ticket you’re liable for an on-the-spot fine.
Oyster card prices are always cheaper than paper tickets for the Tube. For example, the cash fare for a single journey in Zone 1 is £4.50, which is £2.40 more than the Oyster fare.
Free London Tube Maps and Guides
Transport for London produces free maps and guides to help you get around.
You can pick up a London Underground Map upon arrival at any London Tube station. London Travel Information centers sell tickets and provide free maps. There are centers at all Heathrow Airport terminals, major stations in London and at Tourist Information Centres.
Tips for Tube Travellers
Devised in 1933 by Harry Beck, the Underground map is a 20th-century design classic.
It’s very useful, clearly indicating the general directions used to designate trains headed; north, south, east or westbound, with all interchanges clearly shown.
Useful tips when using the Tube:
- Avoid travelling during rush hour if at all possible
- Check the front of the train for the correct destination
- Stand on the right when using escalators
- Move down inside the Tube carriages while travelling, so you don’t block the doorways for other passengers
London River Bus Services on the Thames
Travelling by river is a great way to get around London. You’ll beat the traffic and soak up some fantastic views along the way!
Thames river bus services are popular with commuters and visitors to London alike. They are faster and more frequent than other river tour services and some boats have refreshments and Wi-Fi. They also offer an opportunity to see London’s famous landmarks from the water; but unlike river tours, they generally do not offer commentary.
River buses are great value and serve six different routes with destinations between Putney and Woolwich Arsenal.
Thames Clippers operate the Hilton London Docklands Riverside to Canary Wharf ferry route as well as other river bus routes, including the popular Tate to Tate boat between Tate Britain and Tate Modern.
Popular stops include:
Millbank pier for Tate Britain
Bankside Pier for Tate Modern
London Bridge Pier for London Bridge and the Shard
Tower Pier for Tower of London and Tower Bridge
Hilton London Docklands Riverside Pier
North Greenwich Pier for The O2
Greenwich Pier for Greenwich
Thames River Bus Tickets and Timetables
Generally, you need to get a ticket from a pier ticket office before boarding a boat. However, some services require you to buy your ticket on board.
Travelcard holders can get discounts on many standard riverboat routes, and pay-as-you-go Oyster cards are accepted on Thames Clippers, giving you a 10% discount on most single journeys.
A Thames Clippers River Roamer which functions just like a “hop-on hop-off day ticket”, is also available and value for money.
Local Trains in London
Use London’s Local Trains and Overground network to travel across the city and beyond the Tube.
London’s local trains are rail services that crisscross the city and extend beyond the Tube network. Most local train lines connect efficiently with the Tube and accept payment by Oyster card.
Train Tickets and Oyster Cards
Local rail services are typically covered by Travelcards including those on Oyster cards.
Pay-as-you-go Oyster is now accepted on nearly all local rail services including London Overground.
Using Oyster “pay-as-you-go on National Rail is cheaper than paying cash for a paper ticket.
How much you pay depends on which lines you use.
You can also add money to your Oyster card and buy single or return paper tickets from ticket offices and machines at train stations.
Trams run in parts of South London between Wimbledon, Croydon, Beckenham and New Addington. The services are frequent and accessible.
London’s tram network, Tramlink, was introduced to South London in 2000. The London tram network runs from Wimbledon through Croydon to Beckenham, where it has proven a popular mode of transport.
All access to trams is step-free. There is no need to use ramps or any other special features to board. Additionally, all tram travel is free for wheelchair users, irrespective of whether or not they hold a Freedom Pass.
Tramlink South London
Tramlink trams run every 10 minutes in the daytime on Mondays to Saturdays to Wimbledon, Elmers End and Beckenham Junction.
For New Addington, trains run every seven minutes instead.
London Bus and Tram Fares
When it comes to tickets, trams are treated as part of the bus network.
There is a flat fare throughout the bus and tram network, £1.40 with pre-pay Oyster card or £2.40 if you are paying by cash. Travelcards are valid on trams and bus us passes are valid for the entire bus and tram network and are not divided into zones.
From iconic London black cabs to local minicabs, you don’t need much information other then your destination, to help you travel around London by taxi.
Complete your London experience with a ride in one of the city’s black cabs. London’s official taxis, black cabs can be hailed in the street or at designated ranks situated in prominent places, including many mainline rail, Tube and bus stations. They can also be booked by telephone.
If the yellow TAXI sign at the front is illuminated, the cab is available for hire. Black cabs are legally obliged to take on any job for journeys up to 12 miles and 20 miles for cabs who’s journey begins at the Heathrow Airport taxi ranks, or up to one hour duration.
London Cabs Fares and Tips
Fares are metered, and there is a minimum charge of £2.40.
Additional charges apply when you take a black cab from Heathrow Airport, book by telephone and on Christmas Day and New Year’s Eve. Many black cabs accept payment by credit or debit card but check with the driver before the trip starts just to make sure.
Card payments will incur you with additional charges.
Stay Safe in London
Unbooked minicabs are illegal. You may be approached by minicab drivers seeking passengers or offering a service; avoid this as these are unsafe, unlicensed, uninsured and illegal and you put yourself in danger if you use these services.
Booking your minicab with a licensed minicab company guarantees that your trip will be carried out by a licensed driver in a licensed vehicle. It also means that a record is kept of your journey, your driver and the vehicle used. Therefore, in the event of any problems, the driver can be traced.
Only black cabs’ taxis can be stopped by customers and can pick up off the street. Even minicabs lined up outside pubs and clubs are breaking the law if they accept your fare without a booking being made first.
Many clubs have licensed minicab operators inside who can take your booking. Check with staff to see if a minicab service is available.
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