Sunday, June 02, 2013

Closing Time: The Tube

I always take public transit when I travel and in London, that's the Tube.  Saturday night we had dinner with some friends who live in Acton Town on the District and Piccadilly Line.  After a great meal and a decent amount of wine we realized that if we were going to get home without paying outrageous London taxi prices, we’d have to leave.  We left their house around 00h15 and made it to the Tube in about 7 minutes. We hopped on the train heading toward Tower Hill and were shocked about halfway home that the train was stopping mid route and we had to get off.

Many cities around the world have stellar subway systems that don’t operate 24 hours a day (London and Paris to name two). I just haven’t come across one that doesn’t continue to the end of the line. Obviously we were missing something.  We hop off and hurry to another train, luckily we were at a station where we could connect to another line that would get us close to our hotel.  We had just missed the final train. The Tube was down for the night.  Dammit.

Night Bus it is.  We found the night bus stop and spent about 15 minutes deciphering the map and found a bus that would get us close-ish to home.  After waiting another 15 minutes we decided we didn’t want to wait all night so we took a taxi.  We asked for a cost estimate from the first guy and he said it would be about 35 GBP to our hotel. That’s NUTS. We’ll take the bus.

We wait another 15 minutes and realize that is just NUTS too. Back to a taxi. We ask him how much it would cost and he said between 30-35 GBP. Ok, at least they are consistent.  As we pull up to our hotel, the meter read 34.80 GBP.  Pretty good estimate.  A 15 minute cab ride should not cost you $50USD!

Moral of the story: Leave Earlier for the Tube; Stay all night at a friends house; Learn the Night Bus Schedule; or realize it’s going to cost you an arm and a leg to get home after hours in London.

Have you had any late night Tube issues in London? Does the price of a Black Cab shock you? Aren't the night buses fun?

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