1. Experiencing this? Stuck on the tube for an age?
Relax. If your journey is 15 minutes later than expected, you are entitled to a full refund for that journey (even if you have a travelcard). The only exception is if your journey is affected by bad weather or if the service delay was advertised in advance.
It does mean that you have to fill out a form.
And what a dull form too. You also have to remember where you started your journey, where you intended to finish and where exactly you got delayed. You probably have to remember what you had for breakfast that day too. And to make it worse, you get the refund in the POST UP TO 21 DAYS LATER. It’s not even cash, it’s just a voucher which you would need to redeem against your Oyster card.
BUT on the plus side these vouchers don’t expire for ages, so you can hoard them like a boss.
All you then need to do is pop to the ticket office (if there are any still there then) and trade them in for credit when it is quiet.
2. Got a railcard? Link it to your Oyster!
So many people don’t know about this because it isn’t advertised anywhere. I only found out that you could get a discount if you have a Young Person’s Railcard when I was in a kebab shop from a good mate, when I was off my face in my second year of living in London.
It DOESN’T work with a weekly or monthly travelcard (booooooo) but you do get 1/3 off a Zone 1-6 daily travelcard and off-peak pay as you go journeys on the London Underground and the DLR. To kick in these discounts, just make sure your YP Railcard is valid, then go with your Oyster card and your railcard and ask them whether they can link both of them together.
Every time you get a new railcard, you need to do this again as the discount will end once your current railcard expires. There’s also discounts if you are senior, if you are disabled or if you are in HM Forces.
3. Going to Heathrow airport? DON’T take the Heathrow Express (unless you have loads of £££££££££££££££).
The Heathrow Express is flashy. Like really flashy. You’re in there and you’re like OH MY ALL THIS PURPLE. The train is so sleek, so modern, so sexy. You’re at Heathrow Airport in like 15 minutes. Even though you are going to be in Heathrow for the next three and a half hours browsing round the airport edition of WHSmith, those 15 minutes are just so special.
But consider the cost. The Heathrow Express is £34 a return (£39 if you don’t buy your fare online beforehand). Taking the tube? A fiver each way! FIVE POUNDS. It also takes 50 minutes direct on the Piccadilly Line from Holborn station, instead of having to get yourself to Paddington on the Bakerloo, District or Circle for the Express, which can be an arse at the best of times. AND you get to see the Piccadilly Line above ground, which is literally literally quite exciting.
4. On Pay As You Go? Know when off-peak is.
Peak is from 6.30-9.29am in the morning, and from 4-6.59pm in the evening. Why should you remember these times? Because it can save you a bundle.
According to TFL, If you *beep in* into the Underground at 7pm instead of 6.59pm on the tube on any given day, you will save up to 70p between Zone 1 and 2 and 60p if you’re travelling between Zone 1 and 3. This means that if you do this five times in any given week, you save can £3.50 if you travel between Zone 1 and 3 and £3.00 if you travel between Zone 1 and 2.
MATHS CAN BE SO MUCH FUN.
5. Those card readers you see at some tube stations? They ACTUALLY HELP YOU. THEY REALLY DO.
No seriously. If you are on PAYG and you’re not travelling through Zone 1, you should press your oyster on one of these bad boys as you change trains. It will not charge you a Zone 1-3 fare. INSTEAD, it’ll charge you a Zone 2-3 or 2-4 depending on your destination and where you came from.
This saves you money. For example, instead of a Oyster journey costing you £2.70 on an off-peak fare, you would be charged only £1.50. KERCHING!
6. Know the distances between the tube stations. It really does make sense if you do.
Yes, you know that Harry Beck’s famous London Underground map isn’t accurate distance wise. But have you actually worked where everything is? Do so, because it will save you £££ if you walk between places or take a journey in a zone closer to your journey than popping in the closest tube to you right now.
For example, according to The Tube Challenge, Bank is only 290 metres from Cannon Street, Aldgate is only 327 metres from Aldgate East and Mansion House is only 460 metres from Bank. I don’t know about you, but the first time I walked from Euston to Kings Cross instead of taking the tube my MIND WAS BLOWN. Try it for yourself.
7. Never meet with anyone outside Covent Garden station.
ARE YOU NUTS? Meeting with someone outside Covent Garden Station is a bit like trying to find a needle in a haystack, whilst you are trying to find someone outside Covent Garden station. It is impossible. Just don’t.
8. AND NEVER GET A PAPER TICKET. LIKE EVER.
A single cash fare (at any time) is £4.70 between Zone 1 and 2. How much is it by oyster? £2.80. That’s like, nearly twice as much. And think of what you can do with £4.70. You could buy a house. You could sail the world with your loved one. You could pay someone to read aloud this article about tube hacks because you are so rich or yes you are look at the money just LOOK.
So get an Oyster card. Get a spare Oyster card for when your parents visit. It’s only a £5 deposit and it will save you £££££££££££££££££££££££££££££££££££££££££.
Got your own tube hack tip? Tell us in the comments below