The London Underground (locally known as the Tube) is the biggest and oldest metro system in the world. It’s also one of the most convenient, serving about 20 hours on a daily basis. Each of the Underground lines has a different name and colour. This helps you easily follow your route on the map.
Upon your arrival at a station, you should have a look at the colour-coded signs that will direct you to the line you’re looking for. The London Underground system is divided into 6 different fare zones. The London city centre is of course in Zone 1. Your ticket price depends on the number of zones through which you travel. You can easily buy your ticket from an automatic ticket machine or alternatively at the ticket office at any station. Both single and return tickets are available and they are valid only on the date shown.
If you know where you want to go, I recommend you should use the ticket machines because they can save a lot of your time. The instructions are easy to follow. The ticket machines usually give change, but I would suggest that you use the correct money if possible. By doing this, you will help keep change for other passengers who really need it.
Most London Underground stations have ticket gates. You need to pass through them quite a few times throughout your journey. Upon your arrival, just insert your ticket into the slot of the machine through which the ticket will pass. You can then take it from a slot at the top and the gates will open to let you through. When you have completed your last journey, the gates will open and let you through but your ticket will be retained by the machine.
As far as I’m concerned, London’s Tube is probably one of the most famous in the world. However, I feel that there is something about being underground I am not very keen on. For instance, the massive crowds swarm towards the train platforms, rushing up and down stairs, following the signs and the annoying ‘Mind the gap’ thing. Based on my experience, the trains are also absolutely packed. I have so many times been pushed up against someone really stinky. It’s never easy to find yourself a seat, and you can hardly see anything. Having said that, I still believe it is the cheapest and quickest way to get around London though.
To sum up, The London Underground is really easy to use so long as you are equipped with a map. To avoid wasting your time, simply validate your ticket and pass through the gates, stand on the right hand side of the steep escalators, or just walk down on the left if you are in a rush. The Tube normally arrives every few minutes so you don’t need to run. In summer the tube can be really hot and smelly, but again it is another part of travelling around the capital of England.