How to Use London Public Transportation

by Muskan Jain of

London is one of the world’s greatest attractive capitals! It’s a tremendously varied and touristic destination – yet it’s also fairly extensive, with a variety of unique areas, each with its charming personality.

The London public transportation system is excellent, but the sheer number of options might be bewildering to first-time travellers and students who are always looking for ways to commute cheaper from their student housing in London.

All of this travelling may be costly, so here are some travel tips and commuting options to help you get about.  But before we dive into that, let’s take a little tour of our understanding of London.

London Public Transport System

The city of London is organized into 9 fare zones, with zones 1 and 2 being central London and rising in number as you travel further afield. For example, Heathrow Airport is located in Zone 6. The transportation methods listed below will get you to all of the zones.

Paying for London Public Transportation

TfL, which translates as “Transport for London,” is in charge of transportation in London.  TfL is the official agency in charge of all elements of London’s transportation system, from roads to railways, tickets to operation.  To encourage travellers to use the public transport system, TfL has introduced the following cards:

Oyster Card

An Oyster card is the most cost-effective mode of transportation. An Oyster card enables you to use the Underground, Trams (DLR), Overground, certain riverboats, Emirates Air Line, and the famous red London buses to travel across London.  You may be qualified for an 18+ Oyster as a student, which can save you 30% on weekly, monthly, and yearly travel cards!

Hopper Fare

With the arrival of the ‘Hopper fare,’ London buses and trams could be a better choice for the tube. This price allows travellers to take a £1.50 bus or tram ride and then transfer for free to another bus or tram within an hour of beginning their travel.

16-25 Railcard

A 16-25 Railcard is required if you intend to utilise National Rail services to move around London or to travel within the United Kingdom.  This card entitles you to a 30% discount on rail tickets.

London Public Transportation Options


London Taxi

From the famed red bus to the tube, London has several classic forms of transportation. The black taxi, however, is arguably the most well-known of them. London’s Hackney Carriages have been transporting passengers about the city for over 350 years, with drivers required to master the notorious “Knowledge” – essentially a comprehensive map of London that allows them to traverse the city effectively without the use of charts or computers.

Taking a black taxi in London is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. All you have to do is wave at one, and the vehicle will halt to pick you up (if one is accessible, the taxi light will be activated).

Price: Black taxis are metered and have a £3.20 minimum fee. Minicabs might be a cheaper option if you ask for pricing ahead of time because they are not on a metre.


In 2010, London introduced a new mode of public transportation: the bicycle! There are public bike stations located throughout the metropolis, and with the addition of cycle paths, cycling is becoming a preferred mode of transportation for brief excursions. Bicycles are preferred by students. That’s why the UK government paid special attention to ensuring there are more bike stations available in the vicinity of student apartments in London.

A credit or debit card is all that is required to utilise the cycle rental system. The service does not support Oyster cards due to the requirement to prevent theft.

Price: It charges £2 for a day of access to the network, after which every trip of thirty min or less is free, with each further 30-minute portion costing £2.

So you may ride throughout the city for only £2 if you check each bike here within thirty min.

Underground – famously known as “The Tube”

London Tube

The London Underground, or “Tube,” is the world’s oldest underground metro system, with portions in operation since 1863. In most parts of London, you’ll find a tube tunnel within reasonable walkable distance, with a train coming in 10 minutes or less. So because the underground is free of traffic and streets, it’s among the most effective and often the finest modes of transportation. Most underground stations have an entry/exit gate, and tickets may well be purchased from machines or ticket offices within the terminal.

Price: The London Underground is divided into fare zones 1 through 6, which span the city in concentric rings, with zone 1 in the centre and zone 6 on the outskirts.

In principle, the more zones you travel through, the more costly your trip will be.


London Bus

The frequency of trips done on London buses each year exceeds two billion. This is most likely because London has so many bus lines that serve such a large region – you can essentially go everywhere in London by bus.  To use London’s city buses, just press your Oyster or contactless card to the huge yellow card reader upon boarding the bus; there’s no need to do so when departing because rates are set.

Several bus routes run 24 hours a day, so you can often get home after a night out using public transportation. Some of the best student accommodation in London has bus stops nearby, allowing the students to balance the exciting nightlife with a safe commute.

Buses are typically slower than trains because they must fight with traffic, which in London is notoriously bad almost all of the time. However, there are usually no stairs and no long walks throughout the Underground system, which is a benefit.

Price: Bus prices are also affordable, with Oyster holders paying £1.55 for a single ride, regardless of distance.


A tram service known as London Tramlink operates in south London, especially from Wimbledon to Croydon and Beckenham.  The tram has 4 lines and 17 miles of track, so it isn’t a massive system, but it’s a popular one in the area.

Price: In payment terms, the tram is similar to the bus in that it has a set fare per ride that you must confirm with your Oyster card or contactless card as you board.

When you depart, you do not have to tap out. The Hopper fare scheme includes trams as well.


It might be difficult to get your mind around the public transportation system of London.  It’s a good thing to understand what to anticipate while utilising public transportation in London, whether you’re taking a bus to work or the railway for a romantic weekend with your spouse.