Transport & Driving
Public Transport in the UK
Travelling by Train
Public transport in the UK includes a comprehensive railway system that allows you to reach almost every smaller or bigger town by train. There are different companies which maintain the national and regional networks. Thus, as always, ticket prices vary considerably. In any case, taking the train is a very relaxed way to travel. Fast trains allow you to easily commute between cities and airports. For instance, it only takes 15 minutes to travel from London Heathrow to the city center.
The factors which determine the actual price of your train ticket include the distance and time of your journey. The network you travel on and how long in advance you book your ticket can make a difference as well. If you are a frequent train traveler, you should look for one of the Britrail passes which might be a great deal and ultimately save you a lot of money. Keep in mind, that these passes cannot be used on the National Rail network which also makes up a considerable share of public transport in the UK.
Travelling by Coach and Bus
Travelling by coach is not only a valid choice for getting to the UK but also for exploring the country while on a budget. There are different companies which offer connections from one point to another, often including special tours to historical places. Thus, it makes sense to shop around a little bit for great deals for public transport in the UK. Please remember that you need to buy coach tickets in advance as they can’t be purchased directly when boarding. The main, but not only, operators in the UK are:
- National Express
- Scottish Citylink
Of course, you can easily get around cities and towns by bus. The local bus networks are run by different companies and it makes a lot of sense to contact them individually for ticket prices and time tables. You can buy the ticket directly from your driver or from local travel centers. Please remember that single tickets are valid for individual journeys only.
Taking a Taxi in the UK
If you have to get from point A to point B quickly, have a lot of luggage or if you just don’t want to bother with public transportation in the UK, taking the taxi might be a convenient alternative. You should keep in mind, of course, that taxis are not available everywhere in the UK. However, they are prevalent in bigger towns and particularly in London, where the black taxis have become rather famous.
You can always hail a taxi in the street if it has switched on its yellow “For Hire” sign. If you are unsure where to find a taxi, local train stations or airports are a great place to start. In addition to the fare, as shown on the meter, you should pay the driver at least a 10% tip.
Minicabs are a low-cost alternative to taxis or public transport in the UK, but have to be hired in advance. Unlike taxis, they do not have a meter. This is why you should ask the operator or the driver about the price before you embark on your journey. Please remember to only use licensed minicabs, especially in big cities like London, to ensure your own safety. After all, minicabs from unlicensed providers are illegal, uninsured, and potentially unsafe for their passengers.
Public Transport Resources for the Disabled
Granted, for people with disabilities using public transport in the UK to explore the country can be rather complicated, or even impossible. If you are looking for resources on the matter, you can refer to gov.uk to find out more about public transport and driving as a disabled person. Transport for London provides more specific advice on accessibility of trains, buses, and the tube. You might find this particularly useful if you prefer public transport in the UK over taking a cab or driving yourself. Finally, Disabled Travel Advice offers lots of useful tips on public transport in the UK for expats and travelers alike. Although their British city profiles mostly target tourists, expats may find their information useful as well.
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