London Public Transportation

I get so amazed at efficient public transportation. Both tourists and locals make more out of their time when the means of transportation are accessible, affordable and reliable. Having lived in London for almost two months, I would like to initially share what I think about their public transportation, particularly about the train system and the buses. I have noticed that people from different walks of life take the public transportation. And this, for me, is an indication that it is really inclusive and serving its purpose.

There are several types of transportation in London.


You can get around the capital through this world famous underground railway. The opening times vary depending on each line but they usually start with the operations at around 5:00 in the morning on weekdays and Saturdays. It is important to note though that operating hours are reduced on Sundays.

The Tube or the Underground is literally below the ground level. I still get so amused at how the UK government was able to plan and execute this all out.  Train stations were built underground and rains are passing by swiftly under the city with lots of buildings and properties.

London Overground 

Get around the suburban areas via the London Overground. This stretches from Enfield to Croydon and Richmond to Stratford. Based on what I have seen and experienced so far, trains of London Overground have nicer interiors and is not as crowded as the Tube.

Docklands Light Railway (DLR)

This is automated light metro system and serves the redeveloped Docklands area of East London. I haven’t rode any DLR but I learned online that this is driverless!

Learn more about the DLR HERE.

Download the London Railway Map HERE.


Travelling a short distance is also easy with the popular red buses of London. It’s not as fast as the trains, but it will give you an opportunity for sightseeing as you get around town.


They are available in South London. It connects to the Tube, London Overground and specific National Rail stations.

Oyster Card

An Oyster Card is an electronic ticket that can be used within Greater London. It allows you to pay buses, trains, trams, some river boat services and most national rail services within London fare zones. You can travel around London by purchasing a paper ticket per ride. But getting an Oyster Card could be a better option for you if you are staying for a couple of days or weeks and will be using the public transportation a lot.

How much is an Oyster Card?

An Oyster Card costs a deposit fee of £5. If you’re going to stay in the UK for a short period of time, this amount is refundable.

Where can I buy an Oyster?

You may purchase an Oyster from ticket machines within the station, or at Oyster Ticket shop agents. I bought mine from a convenience store.

Tip: Don’t forget to ask for a FREE case! 🙂

Why should I get an Oyster Card?

  1. It allows you to pay quickly since a lot of people here are in a hurry!
  2. With the Oyster Card, you only pay for the journeys you make.
  3. Also, the amount that you pay in a day will be capped, fares may become cheaper than getting single journey tickets. I will write a separate post regarding the capping per day.
  4. The credit on your card stays there until you use it. It never expires!
  5. If you run out of credit on your card, it’s easy to top it up and use it again. You may pay using cash or credit card at the stations. You may also add credit online when you register your Oyster Card
  6. By registering online, you can protect your credits in case of loss or theft.
  7. It’s so cool!!!

How about you? What do you think of London’s public transportation?

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