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How to use the London Underground

London Underground Train

Despite Londoners’ moans, it’s a good service considering it’s the world’s oldest underground system.

There are 12 separate colour-coded lines (including the Docklands Light Railway) that run in northbound, southbound, eastbound or westbound directions.

You’re never far from an underground station in central London – they’re pretty easy to spot.

The new Elizabeth line is actually a train running east to west through central London.

Tube maps and journey planners

View a Tube map or download a PDF version .

Free pocket-sized tube maps are available from underground stations.

The TFL Go app has a ‘live’ tube map, which makes it easy to locate your closest tube station (if location services is turned on), and find the next departure times.

The CityMapper app has a tube map which shows the zones.

Journey planners

If you can’t work out which route to take by looking at the tube map, or if you want door-to-door instruction, see our guide to planning journeys in London .

How to find the right platform

London underground platform destination sign

The direction will normally be obvious by looking at the tube map, but if it’s not — here’s what to do:

  • Before going through the ticket barriers, or just after the barriers at some stations, look at the destinations list signs to find the tube station you’re travelling to.
  • Your destination will be listed on a sign that gives you the direction (eastbound, westbound etc.) at the top.
  • Follow the signs and check you’re on the right platform by looking at the destination list on the platform wall.

If you do travel the wrong way, don’t worry, just get off the train and change platform. You won’t pay anything unless you go through the ticket barriers and leave the station.

Some lines have different branches. For example, the westbound Piccadilly line goes to Heathrow, Rayner’s Lane or Uxbridge. Check the display on the platform to make sure you take the right train. You don’t want to end up in Rayner’s Lane if you’re catching a flight from Heathrow.

Tube timetables

The tube does not run to a strict timetable during the day, but you won’t wait long. Most tube trains within central London run every few minutes or so.

If you need more precise information on departure or arrival times, the TfL Journey Planner has a ‘leaving’ or ‘arriving’ option.

Tube first and last times

The first tube trains start running from around 5.00–5.30am. The last tube trains leave central London around 12.30am (see the Night Tube below). Most trains start at least an hour later on Sundays.

The exact start and finish times vary according to each individual underground line. Posters at tube stations give the first and last train times from that station. Alternatively, check the tube timetables on the TfL website for the exact times.

If you need to travel after the tubes have finished, take a bus . Some routes run for 24 hours. If they don’t, there are special night buses.

The Night Tube

There is currently a 24-hour service on Fridays and Saturdays on the following lines:

Some stations on these lines are not served, so check the TfL website before travelling.

The rush hour

There is a morning and evening peak on the underground when the tube trains, tube stations and platforms are extremely busy. The peak times for travel are roughly 7.45am–8.30am and 5.00pm–7.00pm Monday–Friday.

During these busy times you won’t have much room to stand and you definitely won’t find a seat, especially in central London. If you can, wait until after 9.30am before starting your journey.

The TfL Go app tells you if a station is busy or quiet.

Check for delays

You can check if the underground is working normally or if there are any delays on certain lines on the status updates section of the TfL website.

Check for planned engineering work at the weekend

The underground network is being modernised. Engineering work is carried out at weekends and Bank Holidays and sometimes whole sections of the tube are out of action.

When this happens, a replacement bus service run and underground tickets/passes/oyster cards are accepted on the bus. The replacement buses follow the route of the underground line, stopping outside each station, but it might be quicker to travel to your destination by another bus route.

Check TfL’s service update  if you travel by tube or the ELizabeth line at the weekend, especially if you plan to travel to or from Heathrow airport.

Related pages

  • Guide to London transport tickets and passes
  • Underground tickets and Travelcards
  • Oyster cards
  • Contactles cards

Last updated: 14 February 2023

Getting around London

  • How to use the London underground
  • How to use London buses
  • London cycle hire scheme
  • Walking in London
  • London trains
  • London taxis & minicabs

Useful information

  • Plan your journey
  • London transport zones

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Times, Timetables, Maps, Info, Stuff.

Last Train

London Underground Fare Zones Explained

London Underground and parts of the Overground network are divided into fare zones. They are also commonly referred to as zones or travel zones. They range from Zone 1 through to Zone 9. Zone 1 is right in the middle, all the way out to Zone 9 which runs around the edge. The zones are like tree rings, concentric rings around the centre.

Historically, the tube network was divided into six zones… 1 to 6. This has increased with the addition of TfL Rail, London Overground and parts of the Metropolitan line.

London Underground Zones 7,8&9

Zones 7,8 & 9 essentially cover the areas just outside North East London (into Essex ) and North West London. Watford, Croxley Green, Rickmansworth, Amersham or Chalfont & Latimer on the Metropolitan Line are in zones 7,8 & 9. Carpenders Park, Bushey, Watford High Street on the London Overground are in zones 7 & 8. Brentwood on TfL Rail is in zone 8.

Have a look here at the most current and up to date tube map for the latest zones and lines, because sometimes (rarely) the zones change.

London Underground map with Zones

London Underground Zones 1 – 6

Zone 1 is essentially the city centre and Zone 6 is the outskirts of the city. The tube lines run in through and out the other side of London. Only the Circle Line runs round and round, like the M25 motorway.

Most people come into the centre of London from the outside, rather than circling around the city. They travel from the outer zones inwards to the inner central zones and vice versa. Most passengers live in the outer zones and commute to London for work or travel to London for recreation purposes.

Because of this, Transport for London created the zone system to simplify fare pricing by calculating a passenger’s journey. The more fare zones you travel through, the more your fare will cost.

London Underground Stations in Multiple Zones

There have always been a few stations that span two zones. By this, we mean that they sit on the edge of two zones and are classed as being in both zones. The reason for this is so that people who may travel in either direction from their start location are not penalised for travelling into another zone, which may cost more.

If the station is sitting on the boundary of zones 1 & 2, you would stay within your starting zone travelling in either direction. See the image below, Notting Hill Gate is in both Zone 1 and Zone 2. Because fares are zone-based, you would pay the fare for a single zone journey.

For example, a single ticket from Notting Hill Gate to Queensway, Lancaster Gate, Marble Arch, Bond Street, Oxford Circus or any other station in Zone 1 would be charged a single-zone fare. And, a single ticket from Notting Hill Gate to Holland Park, Sheperd’s Bush, White City, East Acton, North Acton or any other station in Zone 2 would be charged a single-zone fare.

tfl journey meaning

Stations that are in two zones are shown on the Underground map with a grey box around the station name.

A Station Sitting on the Edge of a Zone

Some stations sit on the edge of 2 zones but are wholly in one zone. For example, if your station is on the is the most inner station in zone 2, you can start your journey at that station and be charged differently depending on where you go. If you travel outwards, away from zone 1 to another station in zone 2 you will be charged a single-zone fare. But when travelling inwards to a station in zone 1 you will be charged a double-zone fare because you have used two zones.

So, if your start station was on the edge of a zone, travelling one single stop in one direction would cause you to cross a zone boundary and your fare would be higher than if you had stayed within your starting zone.

For Example, a single ticket from Queensway inwards to ANY Zone 1 station would be charged a single-zone fare. But a single ticket from Queensway outwards to ANY Zone 2 (even 2 stops to Holland Park) be charged a double-zone fare.

A double zone fare is higher than a single zone fare regardless of the number of stops used.

New Combined Zone 2&3 in East London

A new combined zone 2&3 area has been recently created. It covers a small area to the east of central London around Stratford. The rise in popularity of East London after regeneration due to the 2012 Olympics has meant an increase in passenger numbers. The Westfield Shopping Centre , West Ham United’s London Stadium , The Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park and the ArcelorMittal Orbit are all new reasons for tourists to travel east.

As you can see from the image below, travel from Zone 3 to any station in the new 2/3 zone will be charged a single-zone fare. And travel from Zone 2 station  to any station in the new 2/3 zone will be charged a single-zone fare

tfl journey meaning

Tourists in London

Most visitors to London will probably only travel inside Zone 1 because most of the main tourist attractions are in Zone 1. However, for those tourists who are staying in a hotel located outside of Zone 1, you will need to purchase the correct ticket to cover your journey through all of the zones you travel. To avoid getting caught out, simply buy an oyster card and load it with enough money for your stay. You will be charged the best ( cheapest capped ) fare based on your journeys.

Use a Visitor Oyster card?

A Visitor Oyster card is a small credit-card sized smartcard. You can buy a visitor oyster card before you leave home and have it delivered to you. It’s active as soon as you arrive in London, so no queuing at stations. It’s a quick and easy way to pay for journeys on bus, Tube, tram, DLR, London Overground, TfL Rail, River Bus and most National Rail services in London. You can buy a Visitor Oyster Card direct from Tfl Here . Simply choose an amount you would like to add to the card, buy it online and get it sent to your home address before you travel. Any unused credit left on your card can be refunded to you in a number of ways. The Tfl website has all you need to know here . All Visitor Oyster Cards include a non-refundable £5 card fee, which is to cover the cost of the physical card.

Save money on London attractions

The London Pass® is a digital sightseeing credits package that gives you access to 80+ attractions in the city. Choose a duration for your credits package, download it to the official London Pass® app, and scan at the attraction gate to enter. Click here to find out more information.

Save money on London attractions and get a Visitor Oyster Card too

The London Pass® can also be purchased with an additional Visitor Oyster Card. Click here to find out more information.

tfl journey meaning

Historically, the bus network covered 4 zones, from 1 to 4. These did not match the tube zones. Zone 4 on the bus roughly corresponded to zone 6 on the tube. Therefore, you could use a 4 zone Travelcard if you were using the outer network on the bus and the middle 4 zones on the tube. This could save you money.

Today the are no zones for buses in London. You can use any bus, anywhere in any zone, with any Travelcard or Oystercard. A valid Travelcard for zones 1 and 2 can be used on buses in any zone.

Remember, Oystercard prices can vary considerably according to how many zones you travel through. But the maximum you can be charged per day is capped .

When to Travel

The time of the day that you travel will also affect travel costs. Peak hours are generally the busiest hours of the day. The hours when commuters will be using the network. TfL charges higher fares at these times. These hours (excluding public holidays) are from 06:30-09:30 and 16:00-19:00, Monday-Friday.

It’s very easy to try and save yourself some money by travelling into London after 9:30 am when the fares are lower. But you will invariably forget on your way home.

You will have had a lovely day, seeing the sights, buying souvenirs . You will be worn out and ladened with bags, only to find out when you get to the platform that it’s the ‘ rush hour ‘. There are 100s of people on the platform, the next train is already full. And if you do manage to get on, you will be squashed in like sardines .

Then, when you get home and check your oyster balance, you will also see that you were charged a higher fare for the privilege. My advice, stay in London, get a beer or some food and come home when things calm down.

Time on the Network

TfL set maximum times for all pay as you go journeys on the Tube, DLR, London Overground, TfL Rail and National Rail services. This means that you can’t travel on the network and just sit on the train going up and down all day or spend excessive time loitering at a station.

Every journey has a maximum journey time, whatever route you take. This depends on the number of zones you cross and the day of the week and the time you’re travelling.

If you spend longer than the maximum journey time, you might be charged two maximum fares. Remember to touch in at the start of your journey and touch out at the end on yellow card readers. Find out more about touching in and out .

For more info, have a look at Wikipedia .

London Christmas photo by Jamie Davies on Unsplash

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Every journey matters — a pan-TfL Customer Information Strategy

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Posted: 25 August 2016 | Silke Elvery, Strategy and Planning Manager, Transport for London (TfL) | 1 comment

Following a review of customers’ current and future expectations, Transport for London (TfL) is working on a long-term vision to improve how their passengers access information. Silke Elvery, TfL’s Strategy and Planning Manager, provides details of their Customer Information Strategy and how it supports the fact that customers ultimately want an empowered and easy experience – to feel supported, autonomous and in control of their journeys…

london

TfL provides the following services: London Underground; London Buses; Docklands Light Railway; London Overground; London Trams; London River Services; Dial-a-Ride; Victoria Coach Station; Santander Cycle Hire; and the Emirates Air Line.

Furthermore, TfL regulates the taxis and the private hire trade, operates the Congestion Charging scheme, manages the red route network of London’s key strategic roads, operates traffic signals, takes action on road safety and enabling people to make sustainable travel choices, including encouraging cycling and walking.

TfL values customers’ time. TfL needs to get smarter in helping our customers make the most out of our network by giving them the right information at the right time.

To enable us to do so, TfL conducted a review of customers’ current and future needs and expectations to create a framework and vision for our long-term Customer Information Strategy.

tfl journey meaning

TfL’s customers range from Londoners to domestic and international visitors of all ages and backgrounds, making up the 30 million journeys made each day on the TfL network

Need for change

London is growing faster than any other European city – from 8.6 million today, to more than 10 million expected by 2030 – by which time there will be 2.1 million extra public transport trips every day. Our network must keep pace if London is to remain a world-leading city and driver of the UK economy.

Technology is continuing to change how, when and in what format customers use information to help them plan and manage their journeys. Technological innovations are rapidly changing consumer perceptions and expectations around customer information. Today, customers are accessing information in increasingly varied ways with 75% of Londoners using the internet for maps or directions, 76% accessing live public transport information, and 62% making day-to-day travel plans online 1 . Customers increasingly expect to find real-time, personalised, integrated information that is easy to use and is personalised for their specific needs – empowering them to make decisions about their journeys.

Information is ever present, through a large number of channels, whether it is digital channels – Twitter, website, emails, apps, tube status update boards, or human – staff or fellow passengers. While printed remains an important channel, our customers use a wide range of sources for the information they need. Customers seek information at any time or stage of their journey. The paradigm needs to shift to a ‘seamless’ and ‘always on’ Customer Information Strategy.

Our customers and their journeys

Our customers range from Londoners to domestic and international visitors of all ages and backgrounds. Combined, these customers make up the 30 million journeys made each day on the TfL network.

TfL knows that a number of factors shape our customers’ needs and expectations and can determine the mode of transport chosen. For example, within central London, people tend to walk to complete their journey, whereas to go in and out of central London, they are most likely to use public transport. In most parts of outer London, people tend to use their cars more.

The majority of journeys are undertaken by car (32%), followed by bus and walking (21% respectively) followed by Underground (11%) and rail (9%).

Our customers and users also have a wide range of habits and attitudes, such as how much they plan their journeys, their use of digital, and their innate confidence levels, which shape their opinion of transport choices and options. These factors and attitudes may vary dependent upon journey type and familiarity. Some of the following facts might be surprising: 29% of all trips are for shopping/ personal and business; 28% are for leisure; 17% is for commuting; 8% is for education; and 6% is other work, with 51% of night bus journeys being work-related. Between 8:00 and 9:00, 50% of journeys are for school and education, with 30% for commuting. Friday is the busiest day on the network.

tfl journey meaning

Information landscape

Customers compare TfL with other companies outside our sector, and the bar is being raised; customers expect ‘everyday excellence’. They want innovation and disregard current limitations, as services are judged against every company the customer comes into contact with. These rising expectations, combined with rapidly advancing technology, are changing the way in which TfL needs to provide services.

Customers value organisations that allow them to feel confident and in control, with customer care and innovative use of technology being cited as the most important factors.

Organisations that are getting the basics right, with friendly and helpful staff, which are easy to contact, have excellent knowledge of their service, handle complaints well and provide consistent customer service allowing customers to make the most use of technology, are scoring top.

There is some understanding of the difficulty of the task that transport authorities face, but digital is seen as cheap and is expected as a basic service, which needs to be complemented with human touchpoints, i.e. staff or Help Call-points.

Customer information needs

Our research has identified two broad states of the transport system that have a significant impact on customers and users’ mood and mind-set 2 and the information needs and requirements they have of TfL.

Customers and users’ needs change when the state of the system changes, and they expect TfL to change too. When services are operating well, customers like to receive low- conscious level reassurance, a ‘feeling’ of being informed, and get a sense of a ‘live’ and proactive system. Customers and users want to feel calm and in control and not be unnecessarily interrupted.

However, customers and users’ information needs significantly increase in scenarios when the transport system is not working well – such as times of disruption or during planned closures. This applies for both planned dis- ruptions and familiar journeys (customers and users perceive the network to work well and are in a neutral/positive mood) and unplanned disruptions and on an unfamiliar journeys (customers and users need more reassurance/ negative mood).

Pic-3

Customers want an evolved and more coherent tone and approach from TfL

Information can play a hugely important role in delivering customer satisfaction at different levels of the customer experience, for example:

  • As a hygiene factor, where the ‘minimum standard’ must always be achieved and if it is not, it will drive dissatisfaction
  • As a critical success factor, where it can make the difference between a good experience and a bad one, and can drive up satisfaction
  • As a delighter, when all other aspects of the service are operating well, it can really provide the ‘icing on the cake’.

Pic-5

Customer information best-practice

From customers’ point-of-view, information should demonstrate progress and innovation, an integrated organisation, and customer care, particularly during times of disruptions.

Combining best-practice from other industries and drawing on the insights of the Customer Touchpoints research has helped TfL develop the overarching principles for TfL’s customer information strategy, which are:

  • One voice: Communicate as a ‘joined-up’ organisation with a consistent tone
  • Human: Retain the human touch by showing empathy and personality where appropriate, and demonstrating synergy with digital channels
  • Actionable: Providing enough information for them to make their own journey decisions, whilst providing optimised options
  • Predictive: Know enough about customers and users and the system to help predict and deliver what they need
  • Always on: Remain relevant and accessible to customers and users in a dynamic 24-hour environment
  • For all customers and users: Ensure the system is inclusive of all customers and users and their needs.

Drawing on these principles, the TfL Information Strategy Model and supporting work streams have been developed, as such:

table1

Staff and customer care To make customers feel confident and cared for, with service facilitated by TfL’s investment in staff who are empathetic and proactive in delivering information and assistance.

Real-time information and innovation TfL needs to continue to capitalise on technology to deliver ‘everyday excellence’ for customers, focused on keeping customers informed and connected.

Personalisation Information from TfL that is based on customer behaviour and habits, localised and personalised for customers’ specific journeys and that also provides actionable information

Consistent experience Be consistent – with a shared cultural purpose and vision – across all its modes and businesses. This consistency relates to quality and format of information, customer service and service design.

Customer and user expectations Table 1 gives a summary of the views and requirements of TfL’s customers. By tackling these points, TfL can demonstrate that it cares about its customers’ daily experiences and is committed to delivering our ‘Every Journey Matters’ customer promise.

What TfL has achieved already

Technology is continuing to change how, when and in what format customers use information to help them plan and manage their journeys

Providing high quality, real-time information to customers and road users is a core part of its job. TfL has changed how, when and what it provides, including:

  • 300 apps powered by Open Data and unified API. 30 data sets available to over 6,000 developers
  • Staff more visible, through London Underground and Buses staff training
  • Iconic print and signage, such as the Harry Beck tube map or the TfL roundel
  • Ground-breaking digital real-time information, such as London Buses iBus system
  • A customer database with four million live contacts
  • Approximately 1.8 million followers on social media
  • Mobile-first website, with increasing personalisation
  • Wi-Fi at 250 London Underground stations and Victoria Coach Station as well as 79 Overground stations.

tfl journey meaning

Customer expectations are always increasing, so TfL has bold plans going forward. In the areas of staff and customer care, there will be: continue to roll-out a core set of principles for good customer service, based on our Every Journey Matters successes; embed pan-TfL customer service training to implement best-practice; and empowering staff to own the customer relationship, rewarding initiative.

Concerning real-time information and innovation, we will: improve customer facing processes and tools to communicate information faster, making the information actionable; increase type and number of information channels to customers; and adopt multi-modal policy for all new digital displays.

In the area of personalisation, there will be: a personalised website, including favourites; disruption and behavioural change notifications; personalised and actionable fares and ticketing content and notifications; and a single view of the customer, with continuity of information across all channels.

For consistent experience, there will be: implementation of common standards in digital and printed information and signage; development and implementation of a consistent tone of voice used in customer information, from staff to print and digital; and consistency in describing service levels for customers with accessibility needs.

Information is hugely important to customer satisfaction and TfL’s reputation; customers feel satisfied on the whole and they have seen noticeable improvement in TfL’s provision in recent years.

  • TfL Digital and Social Media Monitor – June 2014 (13284 TfL Digital Media Monitor report – Oct 2013, Final)
  • TfL Touchpoints research July 2015, conducted by 2CV

Silke Elvery is Strategy and Planning Manager at Transport for London (TfL). Silke’s passion and background is customer information. She joined TfL in 2003 and has worked on improving provision of customer information in a variety of roles. She was Business and Strategy Manager for the delivery of iBus, the world’s largest implementation of an Automatic Vehicle Location (AVL) and Real-Time Passenger Information (RTPI) system (£112 million contract). She was responsible for the policies and strategies, budget and business case for the ‘Countdown II’ project (budget £32 million), which provides real-time bus arrival predictions for buses at 19,000 bus stops across London, on the internet, SMS and via other digital channels including a data interface supporting over 100 independent smartphone ‘apps’. In 2015, Silke took on the responsibility of developing and implementing the pan-TfL Customer Information Strategy, with the aim to continually improve and innovate the way TfL provides customer information across its services. Before TfL, Silke worked for the Great London Authority and KPMG Management Consulting.

Related topics Passenger Experience , Ticketing & Payments

Issue Issue 1 2016

Related cities London , United Kingdom

Related organisations Transport for London (TfL)

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tfl journey meaning

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TfL Go: Live Tube, Bus & Rail 4+

Plan journeys around london, designed for ipad.

  • #4 in Navigation
  • 4.7 • 40.5K Ratings

Screenshots

Description.

Travel confidently around London with maps and live travel updates on our official TfL app. Check live arrival times for Tube, London Overground, DLR, Elizabeth line and Thameslink trains as well as Trams and IFS Cloud Cable Car. Make step-free journeys and look up station facilities. See on the map when stations and lifts are closed. Walking or cycling? Our reliable journey planner will map a safe route. The app is built around our iconic Tube map. To get started: • Touch the map or search to plan your journey • See the status of all lines • Check how busy each London Underground station is right now • Re-route as you travel - we’ll suggest alternatives • Switch to the step-free map for accessible journeys • Find out when your next train, bus or tram is due • Look up which platform your train will arrive on • See when the stations you want to travel through are quieter • Check out station information and facilities such as toilets Most recently we’ve: • Added more information about station toilets – find out where they are by gender and which ones are accessible and/or with baby changing facilities • Built a new map showing nearby bus stops – making it simple to see where you can catch your bus from • Refreshed the navigation – it’s even easier to get to the features you want Our simple and clear layout is designed to make using the app easy for everyone. Planning your journey: We’ll suggest multiple ways to get to your destination – you pick the one that suits you best. Choose the quickest journey, bus-only or one that’s step-free. Check before you travel: See how the line is running and when to expect your next Tube, bus, train or tram Freedom to explore: Choose the right travel options if you or someone you’re travelling with needs to avoid steps, lifts onto a train or in a station. Bus stops near you: Find the bus stop nearest to where you are, and next bus live arrival information for every route. Available underground via Wi-Fi (or 4G in some places) for live updates on the go. What users have said: “I think that out of all of the transport apps I have owned on my phone, this is by far the best” “I love how clean the design of the app is & how easy it is to use. The best part of the app is it’s simplicity & how it helps you to navigate across London so effortlessly.” “The map is awesome! The ability to zoom in and out and see more/less information as you do so. The station information is really useful and seeing which lines/stations are closed or have delays at a glance is really helpful. It’s also beautifully designed! Very slick, clean, and responsive.” “The app is beautifully designed and free to use. Step free mode also works really well." “This is a must have app … very much worth the wait. Well done TFL.”

Version 1.62.0

Updated launch screen image and some improvements to support future features.

Ratings and Reviews

40.5K Ratings

Interesting app

Most map apps such as citymapper and google maps bring similar functionality, but the tfl developers have indeed done a good job of providing a well designed and simplified experience with a focus on public transport in London and accessibility (both in the app and in finding accessible transport options). I am particularly impressed with the consistent design style that reflects the tfl brand really well. I would be curious to find out what technologies you used when building out the screens and interactive map 😁! Of course there are always tradeoffs when designing a whole navigation app around the london tube map seeing as those unfamiliar with the london tube may find it unintuitive, as geographical distances and locations in london aren’t conveyed like they are on an ordinary map. In addition, the amount of text on the map and text on the main option buttons at the bottom may make the main app screen slightly less accessible to certain people. However, given the constraints of working off the tfl map, the design is still impressive. To make the app better, it would be good to add some more disambiguation for places vs stations. Eg: High Barnet may refer to the tube station or the centre of the area.

Developer Response ,

Hi Nina. Thank you so much for your very detailed review and amazing rating! We are thrilled to learn you have such a positive opinion! We appreciate your point on those who may be unfamiliar with london and the underground map, however, the app is designed to plan a journey from the app users current location, which will negate the need to know where you'll be starting your journey from - although this is also something you can do in the app! Damien

I have had countless apps for TFL - none as good as this!

Third party apps have all gone down the drain imo mostly due to ads subscription fees and the info is just late and then I found out TFL have their very own app now so I thought that wouldn’t be good as they’re not devs but they have got good devs and built a brilliant app that has everything you want & more! It’s up to date information and will even let you know when lifts are down on certain platforms. The UI is nice and smooth and the map as you’d expect from the very people who run it. This is right up there in my favourite travel apps now. Finally deleted old apps like movit - citymapper and all the countless others. Download it - it’s the best! 😎👍

Platform numbers would be helpful when using the planner part

The end user still does not have the information given about what platform number the train is departing from. For example. I planned a journey from Paddington to heathrow at 04:42 it says walk to platform london Paddington. For me it's clear it's the national rail station for otherswho are foreign will not see any difference. I know first westbound services depart from the main line station and elizabeth line ststion at Paddington does not open till 0528hrs. It would be helpful if you could PLEASE put the platform numbers as when it is available. This will help a lot of people who are using the app know which platform to go to. Another example I can show is if someone was to go to Gatwick Airport from paddington it just says go to platform. I really needs to tell the user at Paddington use elizabeth line train from platform A to Farringdon from Farringdon go to platform 3. TFL really needs to acknowledge this because it's frtrsting for me to tell you guys the basics the app needs to have.

App Privacy

The developer, TfL , indicated that the app’s privacy practices may include handling of data as described below. For more information, see the developer’s privacy policy .

Data Not Linked to You

The following data may be collected but it is not linked to your identity:

  • Search History
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Privacy practices may vary based on, for example, the features you use or your age. Learn More

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How Do Peak/Off-Peak Times Work on the TfL Network with The Oyster Car

Willa Carson

March 15, 2023

Happy Wayfarer is reader-supported. When you buy through links on our site, we may earn an affiliate commission.

TfL or Transport for London is one of the most prominent local government bodies in Europe. It looks after the local transportation of London’s citizens and visiting tourists. Local transportation is extremely popular among the citizens of London. 

This popularity also results in overcrowding of the transportation system during peak hours. The government works exceptionally hard to make sure everyone has access to the various means of transportation. This is one of the reasons why they introduced the Oyster card. 

The Oyster Card is a convenient mode of electronic payments that can be directly made to TfL. However, the charges may vary from regular hours to peak hours which may confuse commuters. 

What are peak fares in TfL?

As defined by the official TfL website, Peak hours are between Monday to Friday (not on public holidays) between 06:30 and 09:30 and between 16:00 and 19:00. Commuters will be charged surge prices or peak fares during these hours. 

Peak fares are charged during the hours in which most people are using the public transport. This is in the morning when commuters are rushing to the office and to schools, and in the evening when they are coming back. 

These prices are slightly higher than the regular transport rates within the city. While people travelling can still use their Oyster Cards to pay for their rides, the fares would differ for peak hours. 

How does it work? 

Oyster Card users have a very straightforward travelling process for TfL. They need to enter a train station and check their cards before boarding a train. Once they arrive at their desired destination, they can disembark the train and check out at the booth again.

The check-in time and the check out time at the different stations determine the total fare. This fare will be charged to your card directly. You can add money to your Oyster Card whenever needed through an app on your phone. 

While you need t check out on trains once you get off at the station, this second step is not required for busses. You will have to check in while hopping on the bus, but you will not have to check out. 

It is very easy to manage your Oyster Card funds now. All you need to do is download an app on your phone to control your total balance, stop or resume services, etc. 

Peak fares and The Oyster Card 

Here’s a more straightforward breakdown to understand how the Oyster Card payments work in peak hours and otherwise. 

For trains:

You will be charged depending on the time you check in. So, if you get to a station during peak hours and check-in, you will be charged surge fares on your Oyster Card. 

Many commuters are confused about how the fares work if you get off the train after peak fares. In a situation where you hop on the train during peak fare hours and get off after the end, you will be charged your check-in rates. 

It does not matter when you get off a train; you will have to pay the fares when you check-in. The same goes the other way around too. If you take a train before the peak hours start and get off once they have begun, you will be charged off-peak fares. 

Contrarily, for busses, you only have to check in once. So, you will be charged depending on when you checked in.

Who can get the Oyster Card? 

An Oyster Card is one of the most popular ways to pay for local transport in London. While most locals have a permanent Oyster Card made for their regular use, anyone outside London can also get one. 

If you are not from the city, you can apply for an Oyster Card before travelling to London. The card will be ready and will arrive at your given address when you reach the city. It may seem challenging to leave your country and travel to London. 

Most people spend ample time planning their trips and micromanaging everything they need. However, most tourists forget that it is crucial to think about the commute after you arrive. 

An Oyster Card is the best solution to this problem. Tourists and short-term visitors can make the most of the public transportation system and use it just like the locals do with Oyster Cards. 

Where can you get an Oyster Card from? 

If you are visiting London, you can apply for an Oyster Card before arriving in the city. The online application will guide You through the process. Your card will arrive at the address mentioned on the website. You can then carry this card with you on your travels. 

One thing you must take note of is that visitor Oyster Cards are not available on arrival. This means you need to apply for one of these cards beforehand. 

You can also get the Oyster Card at London airports. This facility is available at every airport in London except the London Southend Airport. Buying an Oyster Card at the airport is relatively simple and requires no prior applications. 

Here are a few airports you can consider getting an Oyster Card at. 

1. Heathrow London Airport

Oyster Cards are available at the airport tube station cashier window. Reach the underground after exiting the airport and follow the signs to reach your destination. 

2. Gatwick London Airport

You can get an Oyster Card at the Gatwick North Terminal or the Gatwick South Terminal. You can reach out to the concierge outlets at the Skybreak Service Centre and get yourself the card. You can also get these cards at the train station by the airport. 

3. Luton London Airport

Oyster Cards are available at the National Express or the Onward Travel Centre at the Luton London Airport. 

4. Stansted London Airport

Oyster Cards are readily available at the train station by the Stansted London Airport. You can buy yourself a card at the station and then take a train down to Central London!

5. London City Airport

Oyster Cards are available at the DLR station cashier window. All you have to do is reach the underground after following the signs from the airport. 

To conclude with 

Oyster Cards are a boon for travellers in London. Not only are they cheaper, but they also make travelling very convenient. All you need to do is check-in and check out at stations, and your card will automatically debit the outstanding fare. 

The card is beneficial in peak hours when commuters cannot decide what their fare needs to be. With this automated debiting system, you can rest assured that you are not overpaying for your local transport in London!

Happywayfarer author Willa Carson

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A tube train at Boston Manor station in London

Off-peak tube and rail fare trial to start on Fridays in London

Three-month scheme to try to tempt back passengers since Covid lockdowns will begin in March

Transport for London will trial lower off-peak fares on Fridays on the tube and rail services in the capital to try to tempt back passengers who have stayed at home since the pandemic lockdowns.

Sadiq Khan, the mayor of London, said the trial would begin in March and last for three months.

London has a large number of services workers who were predominantly able to work from home during the coronavirus pandemic and have continued to do so since restrictions lifted, as well as a large proportion of people who rely on public transport to get them to work.

The mayor’s office said weekend rider numbers had recovered to about what they were before the pandemic but fewer people are using tube and rail services during the week . Midweek ridership was at 85% but on Fridays that dropped to 73%.

Khan hopes that the cheaper fares will encourage more people to come into the city, “potentially supporting economic growth” by helping bars, restaurants and music venues. Increased passenger numbers could also help Transport for London (TfL), whose finances were severely affected. That led to a standoff between TfL and ministers over a series of bailouts .

The initiative comes in the run-up to the local elections in May, when Khan is favourite to retain the mayoralty over his Conservative rival, Susan Hall. Hall said she believed the trial would not make a significant difference, according to the BBC.

Peak fares apply between 06.30 and 09.30 and between 16.00 and 19.00 on TfL and National Rail services in London . The mayor’s office said it would save £2 for someone on a journey from the city’s outer zone 6 into the central zone 1, with the fare dropping from £5.60 to £3.60. The policy is expected to cost £24m.

Khan said: “London has really bounced back since the pandemic, but the lack of commuters returning on Fridays is a clear exception – with a major knock-on effect on our shops, cafes and cultural venues. That’s why I’ve asked TfL to trial off-peak fares on Fridays, and I encourage Londoners to get involved.

“A trial will help us to see if it’s an effective way of increasing ridership and giving a welcome boost to businesses as we continue to build a better, fairer, more prosperous London for everyone.”

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Kate Nicholls, the chief executive of UKHospitality, a lobby group for hotels, pubs and restaurants, said: “There’s no doubt that Fridays have suffered as a result of changes to working patterns since the pandemic, and hospitality businesses have felt that loss of commuter trade.

“Responding to these challenges with innovative trials like off-peak Fridays is exactly the type of flexible approach needed to boost journey numbers and stimulate footfall in our venues. I hope we’ll see positive results from the trial, for hospitality businesses, commuters and the wider economy.”

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'I tried the TfL Go app to see if it was better than Citymapper at helping me plan London Underground and bus journeys'

MyLondon What’s On Writer Tilly Alexander tested the TfL Go app for the first time

Tilly Alexander

  • 18:09, 15 JUN 2022
  • Updated 18:32, 15 JUN 2022

I tried the TfL Go app for the first time and it was a breeze to use compared to my long-time love Citymapper

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Getting around London can be confusing and you'd be forgiven (and arguably, no less of a Londoner) if you sometimes needed a transport app to help you do it. I know I certainly do.

For me, this transit app has always and exclusively been Citymapper. Delivering me safely to more pub trips, friends' houses and bedtimes than I can count, its bright green interface has become something of a comfort blanket. So, even though it's let me down a handful of times by not informing me about Tube station closures and disruptions quickly enough, or sending me on roundabout routes, I've remained a committed lover.

But after repeatedly spotting adverts for the TfL Go app while onboard the Elizabeth line recently, my curiosity was sufficiently piqued. Could this free app be better at helping me plan my Tube and bus journeys? I decided to put it to the test against Citymapper the next time I needed to go somewhere. And it was so easy and straightforward to use that it's my new favourite transport helper.

READ MORE: ‘I left my bag on the London Underground and got it back from TfL in under 90 mins - here’s exactly how and what to do’

I used the TfL Go app to plan my route - and saw how it performed against Citymapper

My first thought as I clicked on the new Lizzy line purple addition to my home-screen was 'Wow, so clean.' The interface staring back at me was largely white and oddly calming, with a zoomed-in slither of the Tube map taking up the bulk of it. (Only later did I realise that this segment had been chosen according to where I was, with my own rough position denoted by a pulsating blue dot.) At the bottom were two brighter white rectangles labelled 'Where to?' and 'Buses Near You'. A flick of my finger revealed a third called 'Status', dedicated to live service disruptions.

Suddenly, Citymapper's extremely busy rows of square icons (10 total), horizontal bars ('Get Me Somewhere', 'Get Me Home', 'Saved Trips') and colourful background (again, a map showing where I was) seemed overwhelming. Did I ever really use any of them but 'Get Me Somewhere' and 'Maps'? I couldn't think of any instances.

I was a big fan of the simple but thoughtfully designed home screen of the app

But now came the more important experiment: the route planning. I inputted the beginnings of my destination ( Willows on the Roof , read about it here soon...) and was quickly met with suggestion; next popped up my journey options and, wait, there were only four? I couldn't believe it as I attempted to scroll down beyond 'Cycle', 'Fastest', 'Step-free', and 'Bus only' and met resistance. As someone who is often late and often overwhelmed by having to choose from tens of options, this struck me as a game changer. All that was required of me was to pick the kind of journey I wanted and the TfL Go would do the rest! Goodbye, (some) stress.

Interestingly, cycling was recommended first, an environmentally forward-thinking move that I like. But I was bike-less at the office, so 'Fastest' it was. This meant a journey time of 32 minutes, using a combination of the Jubilee line and my own two feet; my stations were apparently 'quiet' now, information I hadn't thought of considering but was grateful to know. Great, I thought, now Citymapper's turn. The same route popped up top of the Tube column - but to my surprise, there was a discrepancy: my old friend estimated only 27 minutes. I set off.

The app gave me none of the information I didn't want and most of the information I did want

As I travelled to Canary Wharf station on foot, it became clear that Citymapper was going to be more on the money about the timings. TfL Go allotted me seven minutes to get down to the platform compared to Citymapper's four - and I'd made it in three. This turned out to be the case at the other end, too, with the former giving me 11 minutes to exit the station and clear the 0.3 miles between Bond Street and John Lewis in contrast to the latter's nine. (The Tube estimate was right, though.) So, it wasn't as good at probable human walking speeds.

Unlike its transit rival, it also hadn't given me an exit at the Tube (Citymapper suggested the Marylebone Lane one). And yet, I couldn't help thinking that, even so, the user experience of this app made it by far the one I'd want to use when worse for wear after a night out or stressed and running late pre-work. Citymapper's rows of Tube plus cycle plus walk plus etcetera are confusing strings of symbols needing deciphering at the best of times. Also, I could probably do with that extra time buffer anyway so I turn up closer to on time.

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COMMENTS

  1. Plan a journey

    TfL fares frozen until March 2025. Find out more about fares. Plan your journey across the TfL network. Journey planner for Bus, Tube, London Overground, DLR, Elizabeth line, National Rail, Tram, River Bus, IFS Cloud Cable Car, Coach.

  2. The Ultimate Guide to Understanding TFL: Everything You Need to Know

    The History of TFL. Transport for London was established in 2000 as a result of the Greater London Authority Act. It brought together various transportation entities under one umbrella organization, including London Underground (commonly known as the Tube), buses, trams, river services, and even cycling infrastructure.

  3. Transport for London

    Transport for London (TfL) is a local government body responsible for most of the transport network in London, United Kingdom.. TfL is the successor organization of the London Passenger Transport Board, which was established in 1933, and several other bodies in the intervening years. Since the current organization's creation in 2000 as part of the Greater London Authority (GLA), TfL has been ...

  4. How to Use the London Underground

    Tube maps and journey planners Tube maps. View a Tube map or download a PDF version.. Free pocket-sized tube maps are available from underground stations. The TFL Go app has a 'live' tube map, which makes it easy to locate your closest tube station (if location services is turned on), and find the next departure times.. The CityMapper app has a tube map which shows the zones.

  5. Keeping London moving

    Find out about works and events in London which may affect your journey. Information on all forms of transport in London including cycle hire. Routes, maps, plan a journey, tickets sales, realtime traffic and travel updates.

  6. London Underground Fare Zones Explained

    TfL set maximum times for all pay as you go journeys on the Tube, DLR, London Overground, TfL Rail and National Rail services. This means that you can't travel on the network and just sit on the train going up and down all day or spend excessive time loitering at a station. Every journey has a maximum journey time, whatever route you take.

  7. Every journey matters

    Always on: Remain relevant and accessible to customers and users in a dynamic 24-hour environment. For all customers and users: Ensure the system is inclusive of all customers and users and their needs. Drawing on these principles, the TfL Information Strategy Model and supporting work streams have been developed, as such: Staff and customer care.

  8. TfL Go, our new travel app for London

    TfL Go is the 21 st century evolution of the paper pocket Tube map, ... Journey planner will also update to provide more relevant routes. We have worked to ensure that TfL Go works for everyone - through inclusive design principles, coding standards and rigorous user research and testing. We have tested the app in a number of focus groups ...

  9. Oyster card

    oyster .tfl .gov .uk. The Oyster card is a payment method for public transport in London (and certain areas around it) in England, United Kingdom. A standard Oyster card is a blue credit-card-sized stored-value contactless smart card. It is promoted by Transport for London (TfL) and can be used on travel modes across London including London ...

  10. TfL finally updates travel app and station signs to make ...

    Earlier this year, TfL added fares information into the journey planner feature within TfL Go. Last year, TfL added 'widgets', which can be added to the home or lock screen of any iPhone or Android device, and customised by customers for a line that they wish to see live status for, or see the service status on all TfL services.

  11. TfL Go: Live Tube, Bus & Rail 4+

    The app is built around our iconic Tube map. To get started: • Touch the map or search to plan your journey. • See the status of all lines. • Check how busy each London Underground station is right now. • Re-route as you travel - we'll suggest alternatives. • Switch to the step-free map for accessible journeys.

  12. How Do Peak/Off-Peak Times Work on the TfL Network with The Oyster Car

    As defined by the official TfL website, Peak hours are between Monday to Friday (not on public holidays) between 06:30 and 09:30 and between 16:00 and 19:00. Commuters will be charged surge prices or peak fares during these hours. Peak fares are charged during the hours in which most people are using the public transport.

  13. Off-peak tube and rail fare trial to start on Fridays in London

    Peak fares apply between 06.30 and 09.30 and between 16.00 and 19.00 on TfL and National Rail services in London. The mayor's office said it would save £2 for someone on a journey from the city ...

  14. 'I tried the TfL Go app to see if it was better than Citymapper at

    TfL Go allotted me seven minutes to get down to the platform compared to Citymapper's four - and I'd made it in three. This turned out to be the case at the other end, too, with the former giving me 11 minutes to exit the station and clear the 0.3 miles between Bond Street and John Lewis in contrast to the latter's nine.

  15. TfL cheaper Friday Tube and rail travel trial set to begin

    TfL cheaper Friday Tube, Elizabeth line, DLR, Overground and rail travel trial to begin, announces Sadiq Khan. A £24m 'off-peak Fridays' trial scheme, meaning cheaper travel on TfL and National Rail services, begins in March. By Andre Langlois. Published 1st Mar 2024, 07:36 GMT. Watch more of our videos on Shots! and live on Freeview channel 276.

  16. Check your travel

    Use TfL travel tools to check for planned works, events and expected disruptions that may affect travel in London. ... Journeys Plan a journey and favourite it for quick access in the future. Places Choose postcodes, stations and places for quick journey planning. Close edit Favourites

  17. TfL Fare Freeze 2024

    Last Updated 22 January 2024. You still might end up paying more for your journeys. Image: Londonist. TfL fares have been frozen until at least March 2025 — sort of, anyway. The Mayor of London ...

  18. Travelcards and group tickets

    Travelcards. A Travelcard (in the zones it's valid for) gives you unlimited travel at any time on bus, Tube, Tram, DLR, London Overground, Elizabeth line and National Rail services in London. You can use it on all buses, and if valid in zones 3, 4, 5 or 6, on all trams. Travelcards can start on any day.

  19. TfL Refunds: How to reclaim £50+ for incomplete journeys

    Step 1. Find your incomplete journeys. First sign into your account (or create one for free) on the TfL website to check your journey history. Link your Oyster, contactless card or the card you use for contactless mobile payment, for example, via Apple Pay, to your TfL account if you haven't already. You should be notified of possible ...

  20. Pay as you go caps

    A cap limits how much you pay for all your journeys in one day or week. You can make as many journeys as you like and when all your fares add up to a certain amount, we won't charge you more (your fare is automatically capped). Always touch in and out with the same card or device. There are different caps for the times of day you travel (peak ...

  21. Cars will slow down if drivers are speeding under EU safety tech in new

    Cars will beep, vibrate or slow down if drivers are speeding under new mandatory safety technology which comes into effect this summer. From July 6, new vehicles sold in the European Union and ...

  22. Contactless and mobile pay as you go

    Using a mobile payment to pay as you go is the same as using a contactless card. You can make mobile payments with devices such as phones, watches, key fobs, stickers or wristbands. You can use different mobile payments to travel on our transport services: If you use a mobile payment associated with a non-UK bank card, your card may not work or ...