Law Absolute - Recruitment specialists

Tips for London commuting

13th August 2019

Inside a London tube

Commuting for one – or two – hours a day comes as part and parcel of most London jobs. During your job search at a legal recruitment agency, it’s also a good idea to familiarise yourself with the London transport links, so that you’re prepared when you land your dream job. Although it may seem daunting at first, our simple tips will help you master your commute.

Choose the best transport for you

Baker Street tube station

In London, there are plenty of different transport options including, trains, tubes and buses. It’s a good idea to do some research and discover which form of transport provides you with the quickest and most cost-efficient route.

We asked Stu from London Wlogger, a walking blog that reveals London’s hidden gems, for his top tips for someone who commutes in London, he says: “If you’re taking a trip to the capital for work, make sure you first plan your journey, so you know what train link or station you need to get to, or even what tube line you need to use. But once you’ve planned your journey, I find it really useful always checking the National Rail or Tube Map app just to get live updates on the status of the lines, and whether there will be delays to your journey.

“If there is, it’s better to know about these before you get to the station, that way you can make alternative plans. Another tip for commuting into London is if you’re doing it every day, try to strategically place yourself on the platform where the train or tube stops, so you’re right near the doors, this will save time and mean you get to the front first!”

As well as using the London Transport System, there are also taxis dotted about the city, pedestrianised areas and cycle lanes. Read on to discover more about the different transport links available.

The underground

There are 270 tube stations across the capital, making it easy for Londoners and tourists alike to get from one end of the city to the other in a matter of minutes. It’s likely that on some point during your commute you’ll have to head to the underground, which is why it’s worth considering the best financial ticket option.

Although it’s possible to buy single and return journeys, it’s not recommended if you’re a regular traveller as the cost can build up quite high. A similar option is to use pay as you go, which allows you to only pay for the journeys you make, with a capped fare which limits how much you pay in one day and week. You can use a contactless card, Oyster card or your mobile to make payments, find more information here.

If you choose to use the pay as you go option, you can download the TfL Oyster and contactless app, a free app that helps you manage your fares. You can check your journey history, see if you have any incomplete journeys or mistakes, top up your credit and receive notifications before your card runs out. Make sure you are using the new generation of Oyster cards when using the app, which you can buy online or in places around London.

You may want to consider buying a monthly or annual travel pass, as this could save you money in the long run. Remember to create a contactless and Oyster account for your card so you can receive a refund or replacement if it gets lost or stolen.

The overground

Busy train station

If you don’t fancy going underground for your commute, there are plenty of alternative routes. By using the trains on the London Overground and you’re more likely to enjoy a relaxing and air-conditioned journey.  

You can also use the London bus service on your commute, which runs for 24 hours and covers the entire city. The journeys on the bus are often more pleasant than the underground, and it may even take you closer to your destination. The other plus side is that the Hopper fare system means you can take unlimited bus journeys for one hour and it will only cost you £1.50.

Buses are the preferred transport of Melanie from Sunny in London, a blog featuring tips on all things London, who says: “London buses are my preferred method of transportation. If you take two busses within an hour, you are only charged for the first swipe of your card. This can make buses much cheaper. Plus, the view is definitely better than underground!”

Melanie also mentions: “In general, London’s transportation system is good, but train strikes, improvement maintenance which temporarily closes train lines, poor weather causing delays and cancellations happen. For this reason, my top tip for a commuter to London is that the commuter knows at least two route options to and from work. Further, investigate one route via trains and the other on buses.”

Cycle or walk it

Professional man cycling

You can knock exercise off your to-do list and save money before it’s even reached 9 am by cycling to work. However, remember you can’t take your bikes on the tubes during rush hour unless it’s a fold-up bike in which case, they are allowed anywhere at any time on the tube.

If you decide to cycle as part of your journey to work, remember to be cautious, wear a helmet, add lights onto your bike and learn how to signal correctly. Although you will have more freedom to navigate traffic, remember to leave plenty of room for cars and lorries. Before heading out on your bike, read more on how to cycle in London.

Stu from London Wlogger continues: “One thing you’ll also find out about London is just how close everything is! If you’re commuting around our great metropolis before you think about hopping on the tube or bus, why not plan your route and see whether you can walk it. Instead of going on the packed Northern Line from London Bridge to Bank – which is only one stop – why not take the lovely 15-minute stroll. You can get to so many places in London just by walking as they’re surprisingly close, and you save money as well as get some exercise at the same time.”

Londoner transport etiquette

Even though London transport can be chaotic at times, there is an etiquette to follow so that you avoid some disapproving looks, these include:

  • Giving up your seat for pregnant women, elderly and disabled people.
  • Let passengers off the train before you get on.
  • Keep your bags off the seats.
  • Stand on the right side on escalators.
  • Have your Oyster card or ticket ready for the barriers.
  • Turn down your music volume.
  • Don’t eat strong-smelling foods.

What to pack

Work bag on a desk

There’s nothing worse than settling down on your journey only to realise you’ve left something at home. Avoid this happening by packing your work bag the night before with everything you need for the day, whether it’s your laptop, folders, water bottle, etc.

Stu from London Wlogger adds: “Before I head out for my commute, I’ve always got my trusty rucksack with me. I’m always carrying a bottle of water to keep me hydrated and you can never leave the house with an umbrella in this country! Also, don’t forget your power bank and phone charger so you don’t run out of power while you’re on the go.”

You should also consider packing some items to keep you entertained during the journey, Melanie from Sunny in London says: “Always travel with something to do. Downloading podcasts or books on a Kindle will keep you active and efficient during a commute. At the very least, you can use your mobile device to work on creating your list of things to do.”

How to make your commute enjoyable

Woman waiting for a train

During your commute, it’s easy to become irritated by the London crowds and noisy environments, however, there are plenty of simple ways you can make your commute more enjoyable.

Listen to music

Travelling on public transport is the perfect time to plug your earphones in and turn up the volume on your favourite playlist. Whether you’re listening to some old classics or discovering new music, this can liven up your journey and make you more energised for work.

Read a book

For the less comfortable journeys, reading a book is a great distraction as you’ll feel completely whisked away to a different place. It’s also a great way to arrive at work calm and collected, plus, it can help you unwind on the way home.

Listen to a podcast

If you’ve got a hobby or interest outside of work, or you just want to listen to something funny, podcasts are the perfect form of entertainment for your commute. 

Be productive

Arrive at the office better prepared by ticking small things off your to-do list on your commute. You could check your emails and draft your responses, or you could simply think about your plan of action for the day. Being productive on your commute doesn’t need to be work-related, you could also spend the time replying to messages from friends and family, working on a side business or even doing a spot of online food shopping.

Now you know how to master your commute, take a look at the latest London job opportunities in the legal sector.