Welcome to the big smoke! Although London’s public transport system can seem a little daunting, it is by far the cheapest and most efficient way of getting around the city. With our top 5 tips below, you’ll soon become a master of all things tube, bus, oyster and beyond. We’ve got great advice to save yourself some money and a heads-up for the best times to travel – rush hour on the Central line is no one’s idea of fun!
Tip 1: Buy an Oyster Travelcard – It allows you to access the London underground tubes, buses, Dockland light Railway and Overground trains. It provides you with the cheapest travel costs and saves you from hassling over buying daily travel tickets (costing more than an oyster card fare). Oyster Cards are available from any tube stations costing about £3, the closest ones to campus is Mile End or Stepney Green station.
A single one-way ticket costs about £4.80, whereas with an oyster card you pay £2.90 (peak times 6am-9.30am/ 4pm-7pm) and £2.30 (off-peak times 9.30am-4pm and after 7pm) – with an Oyster card you’ll be saving yourself about £2 less!
Tip 2 : Apply for a student oyster card– If you’re over 18 and will be living in a London address whilst studying at QMUL, you may be able to get a 30% discount on adult rate travelcards and bus tickets. In order to apply you will need proof from the university that you are enrolled in a part-time or a full-time course in London. For more information and how to apply, check out the TFL website.
Tip 3: Another great way to budget with travelling is by topping up your oyster card weekly or monthly. (That’s if you know you’ll be going out quite a few times during the week/month). That way you’ll save yourself plenty of money as its definitely cheaper than buying daily travel tickets every time. You’ll also be able to use your oyster card whenever you want within the week/month time frame.
On the tube, DLR and Overground services there are zones 1-9. So you can top up your Oyster card for any zones you want, this will also allow you to go on buses for free as long as it is within the week/month you have paid for. Both Mile End Station and Stepney Green are in zone 2. If you know you’ll be going out to Central London (tube zone in zone 1) a few times in the week then you may want to top up your oyster card with weekly zone 1-2. For more details visit the TfL website.
Tip 4: Travel during off- peak times– When using the trains/tubes/DLR, the best time to travel is when it is not busy! During these times travel fares are also cheaper. These times include Monday-Friday 9.30am-4pm and after 7pm in the evening. (You’ll save yourself £0.60 for every off-peak travel you do compared to peak time travels).
Tip 5: Use the bus and not the trains/tubes– Although you have to pay for both bus and trains/tubes. Buses are much cheaper than a tube fare. (You can save yourself £0.80-1.50 by using just the bus). The new free 1-hour bus ride is also out this year which allows you to switch buses within an hour for free. Bus 25 and 205 are popular bus routes in front of the QMUL campus, with these buses you can go towards Stratford and further down East London to Ilford or to the other end towards Central London (Oxford Street and Paddington). Check out the East London blog post for greater details on bus routes around QMUL.
Tip 6: Walk or cycle rather than use the bus/trains! If you’re going from Mile End to Whitechapel then don’t catch the bus/tube, just go for a walk. It only a 15-25 minutes’ walk and even less if you’re cycling. Similarly, Canary Wharf and Stratford also have easy access from Mile End by walk and cycling. (You’ll save yourself the £1.50 bus ride). It’s also a great way to stay fit and healthy! (Plus, you can grab a friend to walk with you, it’d make the journey experience even better!)
I hope the above has made you money saving expert when it comes to travelling in London! If you have any questions about anything mentioned above or travelling in general, don’t be afraid to get in touch with the Springboards Team! 🙂
-Shajiyah + Megan