How to travel by London Underground


Also featured in October edition of  StayBank’s Travel Log under Leisure section.


Commonly referred to as the Tube or the Underground. It is now considered the oldest rapid transit system, which started its service as early as 1863. The network has currently 11 lines (which are all colour coded) and serves 270 stations. Only less than half  (45%) of the Underground is actually running under the ground.  A 24hour service has been introduced as of 2016 on selected lines and days. See below for details.



London is divided into 6 fare/travel zones which apply to London Overground, London Underground, Docklands Light Railway, and National Rail. The city of London is considered to be Zone 1 and surrounding areas then cover Zones 2, 3, 4, 5 and 6.

The cost of your fare depends on the zones your journey will cover. The furthest you travel from the city, the higher the zone but the lower the fare.

Your journey starts when you enter the barriers and ends when you exit the barriers. You must always tap your oyster to enter the underground zone. If your oyster has been accepted you will hear a beep sound and see a green light. If your oyster hasn’t been accepted there will be few beeps and a red light. If you do not have enough credit on your oyster card you will still be able to make the journey but will your credit will go into minus and must remember to top up before your next journey.

Within a single journey you can travel on various underground lines and interchange as many times as you want to, covering various zones as long as you do not exit through the ticket barriers. Once you exit and will want to go back again that will count as two separate journeys and you will be charged for it accordingly.

Tube Map




Another factor that has a direct impact on the cost of the fare is the time of your journey

Travelling during the busy time on the Tube, also commonly referred to as the rush hour, is more expensive then travelling during not so busy times. The busy time is called ‘peak’ and this is any time before 9.30 am and between 16.00-18.00. The travel time between the hours of 9.30 am–16.00 and from 18.00 until the last train is referred to as ‘off peak’ and the tickets are therefore less expensive. ‘Peak’ and ‘off peak’ hours apply from Monday to Friday. Weekend travelling as well as bank holiday travelling is considered ‘off peak’ and you will not be charged extra when travelling before 9.30am or between 16.00-18.00.

A ‘peak’ travelcard is valid all day and also during the ‘off peak hours’. However, if you buy an ‘off peak’ travelcard or a ticket you will not be able to use it during the ‘peak’ hours.

From September 2016 London Underground introduced a weekend 24 hour tube service running on Fridays and Saturdays. Lines operating this service are: 1.Victoria line, 2. Central line, 3. Jubilee line, with more to be announced at later date.

You will not be charged any extra for using the night service. Your Day Travelcard will be valid on the day of issue, for example, if you purchase your Day Travelcard at 11am on a Friday it will be valid until 04.29 am on Saturday.



1. The shortest tube journey is 300 m long and takes about 20 seconds. It’s between Leicester Square and Covent Garden on the Piccadilly Line.

2. The first escalator on the Underground was installed at Earl’s Court in 1911.

3. The Underground’s longest escalator is at ANGEL station, at 60m/197ft, with a vertical rise of 27.5m.

4. The District line has the most stations;60!

5. Busking on the tube has been licensed since 2003.

6. Smoking on the tube was banned in 1987.

7. The shortest escalator is at Stratford and is only 4,1m long.

8. The US talk show host Jerry Springer was born at Highgate station in 1944, where his mother had taken shelter from a bombing raid.

9. The Jubilee is the only line which connects with all the other Underground Lines.

10. Penalty fares were only introduced in 1994.

11. There are a total of 430 escalators on the London Underground!

12. Baker street is the station with the most platforms;10!

13. Waterloo is the busiest station, accommodating around 89,4 million passengers per year.

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