Unit 10.1

Travel, accommodation and transport: Public transport


Main modes of public transport

  • Metro:
    • Metro is an underground electric railway system in some cities.
    • Only four cities in the United Kingdom have the metro: London, Liverpool, Tyne and Wear metropolitan country.
  • Tram:
    • Is a rail vehicle that runs on tramway tracks along public urban streets.
    • There are only eight cities with trams in the United Kingdom.
  • Bus:
    • Coaches – those are buses adapted for passenger transport over long distances.
    • Public Buses – are buses that are adapted for public regular passenger transport at specific line or transport network. They usually cover one city and neighbour cities.
  • Taxi:
    • Hackney Carriage Taxi
      • Are also known as a black cab or black taxi.
      • Usually, they are black coloured but in some cities, colours may be different.
      • They can be booked but do not have to be.
      • You can approach them at the Taxi Rank/Taxicab stand. They usually have written TAXIS on the ground and a sign standing next to it.
      • You can flag them down in the street.
    • Private hire taxi
      • They are also known as a minicab.
      • They are often cheaper than a black cab.
      • It can be only pre-booked.
      • The price of the journey will be told to you during the booking.
      • You can not flag down a minicab. For the driver, it is illegal to pick people straight from the street.

Cities in the United Kingdom which have a metro system

  • London (England):
    • London Underground (the Tube);
    • Dockland’s Light Railway (DLR).
  • Tyne and Wear (England):
    • Tyne and Wear Metro.
  • Liverpool (England):
    • Merseyrail.
  • Glasgow (Scotland):
    • Glasgow Subway.

Structure of metro networks

  • Metro lines:
    • London Underground has 11 lines.
      • Bakerloo line is marked by brown colour, runs from Harrow & Wealdstone to Elephant & Castle. It has 25 stations.
      • A central line is marked by red colour, runs from Epping in Essex to West Ruislip. It has 49 stations. It is one of two lines that cross Greater London.
      • Circle line is marked by a yellow colour, runs from Hammersmith to Edgware Road. It has 36 stations. It goes around Central London.
      • District line is marked by green colour, runs from Upminster to Earl’s Court. It has 60 stations. At the Earl’s Court, it splits in different routes.
      • Hammersmith & City line is marked by pink colour, runs from Hammersmith to Barking. It has 29 stations.
      • Jubilee line is marked by grey colour, runs from Stratford to Stanmore. It has 27 stations.
      • Metropolitan line is marked by magenta colour, runs from Aldgate to Amersham. It has 34 stations. It is also known as Met.
      • Northern line is marked by black colour and runs from Morden to Edgware or High Barnet (line divides at Camden Town). It has 50 stations.
      • Piccadilly line is marked by dark blue colour and runs from Cockfosters, at Acton Town, it divides into two branches: on to Heathrow Airport and the other to Uxbridge. It has 53 stations.
      • Victoria line is marked by light blue and it runs from Brixton  Walthamstow Central. It has 16 stations.
      • Waterloo & City line is marked by Turquoise colour. It is a shuttle line going only between Waterloo and Bank stations with no stops in between.
    • London Docklands Light Rail has 7 routes.
      • Bank station to Lewisham station.
      • Bank station to Woolwich Arsenal station.
      • Tower Gateway to Beckton station.
      • Stratford to Lewisham station.
      • Stratford International to Beckton station.
      • Stratford International to Woolwich Arsenal station.
    • Merseyrail has 2 official and one unofficial line.
      • Northern line is marked by blue colour. It has 3 routes: from Hunts Cross to Southport, from Liverpool Central to Ormskirk and from Liverpool Central to Kirkby.
      • Wirral line is marked by green colour. It connects Liverpool to the Wirral Peninsula, with branches to New Brighton, West Kirby, Chester and Ellesmere Port.
      • City line is marked by red colour but is not shown in every metro map. It has three lines: Liverpool–Wigan, Liverpool–Manchester and Crewe–Liverpool.  The routes are operated by Northern on behalf of Merseytravel and often share routes with inter-city express services.
    • Tyne and Wear Metro has 2 lines.
      • The green line is marked by green colour. It goes from Newcastle International Airport to South Hylton.
      • The yellow line is marked by yellow colour. It runs from St James to South Shields.
    • Glasgow Metro has one line.
      • It is a line going in a loop. It extends both north and south of the River Clyde. It has 15 stations.

Types of tickets

  • Single tickets allow for one way travel. The easiest way to get them is from drivers (in buses) or ticket machines.
  • Return tickets allow for travel to and from your destination point.
  • All-day tickets allow for travel by all lines from a certain type of transport for the whole day.
  • Group tickets help you save some money if you are travelling with a group of people. The number of people required for group tickets can change in different cities and types of transport.
  • Season tickets are tickets that cover fares in one or more types of transport for a certain amount of time. It can be one week, month and even the whole year.
    • Oyster Card in London is a contactless electronic card used in buses, trams and metro. It can contain:
      • Bus and Tram pass – it allows you to travel by both.
      • Travelcard – can be all day or off-peak. More information can be found at tfl.gov.uk.
      • It also allows you to use Pay as you go system. You just have to add money to your card, and the system will calculate fares when you contact readers when starting and ending your journey.

If you want to get Oyster Card to visit oyster.tfl.gov.uk. Remember that you can not get Oyster Card with child discount online.

  • Travel and Transport tickets are tickets that are mostly directed towards tourists. They can cover various types of transports for different periods. BritRail passes, London Travelcard and a Visitor Oyster Card can be seen as types of travel and transport tickets.

Purchasing public transport tickets according to the mode of transport used

  • You can pay directly to the driver for your ticket in buses and coaches but in that case, it is best if you have prepared an exact change. If you try to pay with the big note for one ticket, the driver will mostly refuse to sell it, especially in public buses.
      • In London buses are cash-free, you can pay only by card.
      • Always use the same device or card to touch in and out.
  • You can buy tickets for the metro, buses or trains at the ticket machines on certain stations.
  • You can buy a bus, metro, train tickets at ticket offices. Ticket seller can help you to choose the cheapest type of ticket that will meet your needs.
  • London offers the method of paying by card in most of its public transport.
  • You can buy tickets online. This method will be the cheapest for trains and coaches, especially if you buy tickets in the advance. Train and coach tickets, just like aeroplane tickets, can get more expensive near the date of departure.
  • Some of the public transports in the United Kingdom offer to buy and store tickets on the mobile phone. You will need to download a special application for that.

Facilities and services in metro stations

  • Automatic ticket machines are places when you can quickly buy a ticket.
  • Ticket offices are places where you can buy tickets and ask for information about lines, tickets, etc. They are usually located near the entrance.
  • Maps of the network and the line show you map with all stations and lines. Near them, there is often hanged timetable for lines going from the station.
  • Ticket gates are a place by which you come to the metro. To pass them, you need to validate the ticket in them. You have to validate the ticket again to leave the metro.
  • Public address system is a system through which incoming trains, delays or other announcements can be made. In train itself, it is usually used for announcing next station.
  • Electronic signs for the platforms show you estimated time arrival of lines along with their main destination.
  • Shops can be found in some bigger stations.

Social conventions and behaviour related to the use of public transport

Social conventions related to using a bus

  • The bus stops are signposted with a shelter or a post.
  • It is normal to queue at the stops.
  • There are buses which stop at all of the stops. In other cases, it is necessary to signal the driver.

Social conventions related to using a taxi

  • Hackney Carriage Taxis are usually black.
  • You can take a taxi when the hire light is on. Light is usually bright and yellow. It means that the cab is available. You can not take a taxi which has hire light off.
  • Do not shout when calling a taxi straight from the street. Instead of that, hold your hand up and wait for the taxi to stop.
  • When taking a cab from Taxi Rank when there is more than one cab, you should take the first one in the formed queue.
  • Taxi is not shared with strangers.
  • If the driver puts down the front window before you get in, it is a moment when you should approach him and tell him your destination.
  • You should not open the front door unless you have luggage and the driver agrees on taking it to the front place.
  • Tips are not necessary but are a tradition.
  • Sit always in the back of the taxi.
  • You can not stop private hire taxis (minicabs), it is illegal to do.


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