It’s highly likely that you’re not from London.
If so, my guess is that you don’t know the exact fare to take the tube from South Kensington to, say… Leicester Square. I found myself standing in front of those ticket vending machines, staring at a myriad of tickets/zones/fares. Feeling like a stupid tourist without a clue is not pleasant and taking a cab has been my choice for this reason alone.
Travel on the tube as a Londoner.
A few weeks ago, I started a London trip with the purchase of the little blue card pictured above. That sure made a difference. Q: Why? A: First it’s way cheaper than paying cash for a single ticket. Second, it’s way easier – plus it works on the London buses and the DLR, (the Docklands Light Railroad which will take you to London City Airport), as well!
Authorities in every country where paper tickets are still in use, should go to London to check the system out and then order the whole package. This is the way to do it! OK, the Oyster Card system wasn’t without flaws when it was launched (2003) but since then it has worked just fine.
Here’s how to get it:
As soon as you’ve landed, find the entrance to a London tube and go to a manned ticked booth. You pay £ 5 (the price was originally £ 3 but was increased in January 2011) for the card itself and then you charge it with as much money you think you’ll need. The lower fares for cardholders means that it will soon become a bargain. Then wave the card near the yellow thingie on the front of the entrance gate and it will open. Do the same when you exit and the fare is calculated and your card is charged (provided that it has been loaded with money). Simple as pie. You may top your card up using your bank or credit card in machines that are very user-friendly.
And the extra bonus is not bad:
When you use an Oyster Card you may feel a little bit more like a Londoner and a little less like a stupid tourist without a clue. And I can live with that feeling any day.