How to Use the London Public Transport System

London transport is daunting, but you can learn to use it like a local with just a few simple approaches that can make it easier.


  1. 1
    Get a map. This may seem silly, but even the locals get confused! If you have a handy pocket map, you at least have a fallback. You can get maps in any tube station and many hotel lobbies.
  2. 2
    Learn the slang.
    • Tube is the underground train, like a subway.
    • DLR is the overground railway.
    • Double Decker is a bus with two stories (the big red ones!).
    • Oyster Card is the transit card––you can refill these at tube stations
  3. 3
    Check which tube line you need to take. It's easy to get confused, but if you double check the line you need it's easy to figure out! (Different lines go to different places. On maps they're colour coded according to the line.) If you need to change lines anywhere, make sure you know where to get off beforehand.
  4. 4
    See if it's worth it! Sometimes it's less time and hassle to walk a few blocks than to take transit. Check before you get on.
  5. 5
    Make sure you have the right amount of money. When you are purchasing a ticket, you put in where your final stop is. The only way to exit the station is to scan your ticket and open the gate, which won't work if you didn't pay for your whole trip! As well, if you are using an Oyster Card, make sure you have enough money on it for your trip.
  6. 6
    Ask a local. If all else fails, ask a local. Look for someone who isn't in a rush, frazzled, or impatient; chances are they won't be too happy and you'll get the famous British "piss off". Find someone who appears friendly and isn't rushing anywhere.


  • Check the maps and timetables online using your smartphone or a computer.

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Categories: Public Transport