london: tube advice

Old Aug 21st, 2004, 04:15 AM
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london: tube advice

we will be in london between christmas and new years. given the weather conditions likely and our location (close to kings cross), in all probability we will be using public transportation a minimum of two round trips per day.

balancing ease of use and speed to destination with cost, what are our best options?

please mention any carnets (oyster card?) that might cut the cost. i've done some of the research but would still appreciate some input from residents. thank you.
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Old Aug 21st, 2004, 05:11 AM
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I'm not a resident, but we used the 7 day Visitor's Travel Card for a recent trip, and it worked well: good any time and valid for the buses as well. Also, it gets you discounts at certain attractions and restaurants and on the river boats. You can purchase the tickets (to be mailed to you) at the London Transport site. They only mail them to arrive 7-10 days before you leave. Do be aware that even using the underground requires a lot of walking, up, down and between the various lines.
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Old Aug 21st, 2004, 06:36 AM
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part of the london experience is using the tube and getting on a big red bus !
you could use the tube from kings cross to get to where ever you're starting your days exploring, and then get the bus home from wherever you end up at the end of the day. so you each spend about 3-4GBP per day. i'm yet to use a truly flexible (ie any zone, bus or tube) - in the time you spend working out connections and worrying whether you're getting value for money or not you could have walked there. just dress warm and wear comfortable shoes, take a good pocket size map and enjoy the sights at your own pace on foot! i don't live in london, but i visit friends every 3-4 months, i found it much more relaxing and interesting to get to know the city on foot first. you can miss a lot of londons sights using the tube, but the design and architecture in some of the stations are fab! buses are plentiful, but you really need to know where you're headed.
have you found the Journey Planner on The Tube website ? If you really want to be very organised you can work it all out in advance.
have fun. don't forget your brolly !
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Old Aug 21st, 2004, 06:38 AM
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Buy a seven day travelcard for Zones 1-2 after you get to London for 20.20 GBP. No time restrictions; good on tube, the DLR, and National Rail trains within the zones you pay for; and for the entire London bus system. If you travel outside Zone 2, buy an extension for that particular trip.
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Old Aug 21st, 2004, 06:55 AM
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Forget the Oyster Card; it's basically a permanent refillable transit pass that's relevant for residents.

You can get daily, weekly, or weekend passes for any combination of Tube zones. Most tourist attractions and hotels are in Zone 1; Greenwich and the zoo are the most popular places in Zone 2. So one option for a week would be a 7-day travelcard, for which you'd probably need just Zone 1 (£3 cheaper than the pass for Zones 1 & 2, IIRC).

If you're traveling on the tube in Zone 1, another option is carnet tickets, a book of 10 good in Zone 1 only; the booklet can be shared, so you can buy them one at a time and not be stuck with excess value. Choice between pass and per-ride obviously depends on how often you'll use them.

Visitors travelcards are available in advance, but the 7-day card is for Zone 1 and 2 and costs the same as the card purchased in London, so there's no advantage there for you.

Here are my favorite links to the regular and visitors travelcards.

http://www.transportforlondon.gov.uk...velcards.shtml

http://www.ticket-on-line.com/cgi-bi...te=info_prices
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Old Aug 21st, 2004, 07:28 AM
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You will know best your length of stay and your total plans, but I believe many people "overbuy" their travel passes in London.
If you aren't going out until 9:30 you can get a one day pass for those days you will travel a lot at a big savings.
Are there days you are leaving the city to go outside? If so, then those days you are likely to only use one round trip ticket -- to a train station, perhaps, making the week pass a loss for that day, or since you are near King's cross it's possible you wouldn't use the tube at all that day, depending on where you might be going.

I know I no longer buy week or longer passes and I always come out ahead that way. On the other hand, I'm there in fair weather so walk a lot, and also stay very central meaning I take the tube less than others might.
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Old Aug 21st, 2004, 08:00 AM
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Most importantly, subcon,

Mind the Gap.
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Old Aug 21st, 2004, 10:55 AM
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thanks to all for sharing.

it appears that the visitor's pass will be the best bet.

perhaps someone also can tell me whether the period between christmas and new years lends to less traffic (which make buses a more attractive option)?
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Old Aug 21st, 2004, 10:57 AM
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I'd recommend trying to walk between places too, often it's more direct, and it's always more pleasant!
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Old Aug 22nd, 2004, 02:12 AM
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Traffic does fall off a lot between Christmas and the New Year, BUT...

Other traffic isn't really what makes buses slow and irritatingly stop/starty. It's other buses (the mathematicians out there will understand what queue theory predicts about bus bunching), and people getting on and off.

The gap between Christmas and the New Year is widely taken as a holiday in Britain. And guess what Brits do during that holdiday? Yup: shop. Or bring the kiddiwinks into London to see pantomimes.

So a lot of the West End is actually fuller of bus-slowing pedestrians after Boxing Day than most of the year. The City, however, is almost surreally empty, and the few workaholics dealing currencies or WTI futures then are far too rich to mess with buses anyway. So your bus from KX to The Tower will zap through.
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Old Aug 22nd, 2004, 03:49 AM
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thanks to all...

we do plan to choose a sector per day and walk from venue to venue. it's more the getting there and returning twice each day that is the issue.

but that's all been nicely covered by y'all. again, i appreciate it.
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Old Aug 22nd, 2004, 04:07 AM
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Last time I spent xmas-new years in london (96 & 97), I found that everything shut down for boxing day. I mean everything. Maybe it's changed since...

As always, m_kingdom2 has good advice. Tourists in london tend to get the tube from one part of the city to another, and end up with no idea how one area relates to any other area of the city.

Travel to one "walkable" area each morning, walk everywhere, and travel home at night. Remember that it's usually faster and most pleasant to walk 2 or 3 tube stops than it is to get lifts/escalators/stairs down to the platform, go 1 stop, then get escalators back up again..

Why do you need to return twice each day? Seems like hard work to me.

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Old Aug 22nd, 2004, 05:00 AM
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i explained earlier on that we normally sightsee until late afternoon and, then, return to the hotel for some rest before going out again to dine. since the restaurants we've chosen are not within walking distance of the hotel, that would make 4 trips per day.

thanks for your response.
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Old Aug 28th, 2004, 06:48 PM
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Do the math...let's say you make only 1 roundtrip each day...the current tube fare for a single in zone 1 is £2 so a round trip each day costs £4 multiply that by 7 and you get to £28. Carnets are a little cheaper granted but let's say £15 for 10 trips...7 roundtrips is 14 trips, right. so you would need 4 additional trips at full fare. By my math, that comes to £23.

A zone 1 travelcard costs £17..and that's only for a single round trip not including getting off and getting on etc.

The question is not what happens when you stay a full week but what's the best cut off.

5 days or more is sort of a no brainer, a 7 day card. 4 days is marginal...I prefer the 7 day as I hate the long queues that form just before 0930 as people wait for the restriction to be lifted so while it may be marginally cheaper to go with 1 days, I prefer the 7 day. 3 days is usually best with one days (weekends have to be taken into consideration).

The reality is there are lots of variables but none of them will kill you in terms of ruining your vacation one way or another.

Another thought, the buses are great and you can get a 1 day bus pass for, I believe, £2.50. Nothing like seeing London from the top of one of the double decker buses.

As a matter of fact, again if you do a little homework, lines like the #15, the #12, the #11 are every bit as good as the ovepriced all day bus tours. You can pay £2.50 and see every single one of the same sights as the £15 or whatever it is big bus tour (no commentary of course) just by studying the maps and doing a ittle homework.
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