The UK boasts an extensive rail system. Over twenty different private companies run the rail network. They work together as ‘National Rail’, with co-ordinated passenger information, fares & ticketing. Tickets are generally cheaper if booked in advance or if you book onto a specific train. Rail cards can also bring down the cost significantly. If you are under 26 you can apply for a Young Person’s Railcard. Through National Rail you can plan your journey, check live departure boards, apply for railcards and book tickets.
For full information contact National Rail on 08457 48 49 50 or www.nationalrail.co.uk
Another option is to travel by coach on the National Express coach services. A good deal if you are under 26 is the Young Persons Coachcard.
For full information contact National Express on 08717 818178 or www.nationalexpress.com
A Budget alternative is Megabus which connects major cities and towns. Very low fares can be found if you travel outside peak times.
For full information contact Megabus on 0900 1600 900 or www.megabus.com/uk
If you are coming from overseas and think you might buy or hire a car it is a good idea to get an International Drivers Licence from your local automobile association. (RACV, RACQ, NRMA, AA etc). In the UK you can drive on your own driver’s licence for up to 12 months and you will then need to convert to a UK driver’s licence. For the rest of Europe you will need an international licence.
If you are travelling to an unfamiliar train or tube station check out Traintaxi www.traintaxi.co.uk Traintaxi lists all the train, metro, tram and underground stations in the UK and shows whether a station has a taxi rank or cab office and also lists up to three local taxi or cab firms serving each station.
Please make sure you always use licensed taxis, especially if you are travelling alone. Don’t take a risk just to save a few pounds.
The quickest way of getting around London is the London Underground, also known as the Tube. A good alternative to the tube are London buses. Both the tube and the buses are operated by London Transport who can provide you with information on timetables and fares. It is usually sensible to buy a weekly or monthly season ticket depending on how long you are planning on staying in London.
When travelling on public transport in London you have several ticket options. You can either pay a cash fare or use an Oyster card. The price of your journey depends on which ticket type you choose, which zones you travel in, and at what time you travel.
Oyster cards often offer the lowest fares. An Oyster card is a reusable pre-paid plastic travel card. You charge up the card with money and pay as you go. Oyster’s built-in price capping means you will never pay more than the cost of a Travelcard for a day’s travel. You can also use your Oyster card for weekly, monthly or yearly passes.
For full information contact London Transport on 0343 222 1234 or www.tfl.gov.uk
Remember the quickest and healthiest way to get around may be to walk or cycle!