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The London Bus System
The London bus system is one of the most popular ways for getting around London. In fact, one thing you will recognise right away is those jolly looking red vehicles. Even after you leave you will have an image of a big red bus engraved in your memory. Servicing all the major areas of London, riding on the bus in this metropolis is cheap. The only mode of transportation that’s cheaper is walking and biking in London. Mapping out your route and knowing where to get off is simple and straightforward, too. Before you depart, though, be sure to learn about the cost structure and times. You don’t want to realise you’ve jumped on the wrong bus.
Planning Your Routes
The bus system services 33 boroughs of London. Traveling to all the major sights in London via bus is possible. If you have internet access, use the London bus system’s website to search your route. Simply input a general location or landmark, a bus route number or the name of the stop. Include your departing point as well. If you do not have internet access, use the maps located at the bus stop you are at. If you locate your destination stop, then finding a line that heads near there should not be too difficult.
For those riding at night, note that the night buses in Central London have an N before the number of the line. There are a plethora of routes that reach popular stops like Trafalgar Square, Camden Court, Oxford Street and Victoria. Night buses are convenient because the run from the time the Tube in London closes until the time the day buses start.
Most London hotels should have tourist information designed to help tourists navigate the bus system. Moreover, service staff at hotels should be able to personally assist you in giving you bus directions.
For convenience, you can also be informed, with good accuracy, of when a bus will arrive at your departure stop. You need internet access to access this. However, if you have a phone, you can text the code of your departure bus stop to 87287 to get information on when the next bus will be arriving.
With around 7,000 buses that carry nearly six million passengers per weekday, the bus system is very quick and efficient. All bus routes are reviewed and altered as needed. Aspects like speed of the route, traffic congestion, customer satisfaction and amount of mechanical issues are all considered. Transport for London is constantly monitoring and this has helped it maintain an impressively efficient nature. However, the traffic in London can get bad at times. This undoubtedly leads to slow travel times during rush hour.
Different operators run different routes. These operators, like Go-Ahead London and London United, have to apply for retender for specific routes every five years.
You can save a good deal of money by using the Oyster Card. For a single fare, a ticket is £2.30. Using the Oyster Card, it is £1.35 with a day limit of £4.20. A week pass is £18.80 and a month long pass is £72.20. University students pay £13.10 for a week pass and £50.40 for a month pass. Those aged 11 to 18 pay £0.65 with the Oyster Card, £9.40 for a week pass and £36.10 for a month pass. Those under the age of 11 do not have to pay. This is good to know if you visiting London with the family.
For those paying in cash, be prepared to purchase a ticket at the bus stop before boarding.
About Route Lines
Bus routes number from one to 599 are two-level, day route buses that run within the city of London. These cover the areas of South, Central, West, East and North London. Buses numbered in the 600’s are school day buses that service local primary and high schools. The routes prefixed with N are night lines. The routes prefixed with X are express lines. There are a few other routes that specialise in services outside the city and into the surrounding countryside.