After living in London for a few weeks, I would say that I am fairly confident in my ability to navigate London’s public transportation. My daily commute varies, depending on if I am venturing to either class or work. Our classes are held at the CAPA center in Kensington, which is close to my West Kensington flat. On a nice day, I can walk there in an easy 20 minutes. Otherwise, I can take a shorter walk to the West Kensington underground station and take the tube just a few stops east. I enjoy this commute because it is easy and familiar. It is a big longer than my commute to class was at Pitt, but I don’t mind. I like having some time set aside to just take in my surroundings and observe other people around me. I also find it neat to live and commute like a local. Taking the tube is different than taking the bus in Pittsburgh. I honestly am a fan of how most people are silent on the tube. When I am going somewhere else in London, though, I prefer to take the bus when possible. I like to be able to see what is happening in the streets of the city.
My commute to work is a bit more complicated, but still relatively easy since it is also within zones one and two. For the first two weeks, I went to the West Kensington station to catch the tube to Victoria. There, I transferred to a different line that would take me to the station I needed to get to in Soho. One morning, I ran into my coworker Casey, who lives in the same apartment building as me. It turns out that we took different paths to work, and hers was slightly faster and a bit less crowded. Thanks to Casey, I switched my route. I now walk to a different nearby station and take a different tube line. Luckily, this journey also only has one transfer. I enjoy the walk to this tube station a bit better, because I pass a lot of neat restaurants and pubs. My only complaint would be that my travel time is slightly awkward. Although it is good for a London commute, 30-40 minutes is a fair bit of time… but it’s a bit too short to take out a book or journal when you consider the transfer part way through. I do realize that this is standard for a London commute, if not even a bit shorter than average. I consider myself pretty lucky and happily take advantage of the time to relax!
I think everyone in London would offer the same tip to a traveler here: download the “Citymapper” app. Essentially, it is the reason why I haven’t gotten lost yet. I would also urge travelers to remember to be respectful and vigilant while trying to navigate the city. Finally, it wouldn’t hurt to bring a snack to keep you awake before or after a long day. Happy traveling!