How to work out how long a London Underground journey will take.

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Justin Smith

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I was thinking of putting this in the London Underground forum but it's actually quite a useful bit of info which may not be fully publicised there, and it also may be useful for those connecting through London stations. You can use the TFL website but you may not have access to the latter when you need to estimate a journey length !

Anyway, back in 2002 I missed my train home because I'd misjudged how long it took to get from one side of London to the other on the Underground. So, I thought, there must be some way of estimating how long a journey will take, so over the next 20 or so trips I travelled I timed them and came up with the following simple formula. It's easy to remember and reasonably accurate, timings are from entering the station to leaving it, i.e. they include having to get down to the platforms, average waiting time for a train, and the getting back up to street level and out again.

7 minutes plus 2.5minutes per stop (plus 5 minutes per change if relevant).

The exact average was actually 2 minutes 17 seconds per stop, but 2.5 minutes is easier to remember......
I hope it means you won't be late for your train, particularly if you've got an advance purchase ticket only valid for that service !
 
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heart-of-wessex

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I count an average of 2 mins in the city area myself, useful when working out the Bakerloo to Paddington, sometimes I get better times than expected!

The only time when it doesn't work is when I ended up at Embankment, waiting for a Circle line train to turn up...I forget how many D stocks going to District destinations I had to flag before a Circle turned up :lol:! (this was in the days the Circle was a Circle...blimey! :p)
 

SS4

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You can double that when you're in a hurry behind someone who doesn't understand why everyone else is standing on the right :lol:

It's a nice statistic though, presumably this is in addition to the time the TfL site suggests you say (and also reinforces my advice of walking between Euston and Kings Cross as well as Marylebone to Baker Street)
 

hairyhandedfool

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When I joined the railway I was told to allow 5 minutes per stop, but then that has to account for people who don't move very fast.
 

yorkie

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I hope it means you won't be late for your train, particularly if you've got an advance purchase ticket only valid for that service !
If anyone reading this has a train to catch on an Advance ticket, my advice is to ensure that either you buy a through ticket or a valid combination of tickets for a through journey (as detailed in other threads; there was one only last week) and adhere to the minimum interchange times applicable to the journey.

If anyone plans to not use a valid combination of tickets or a through ticket, then I would allow considerably more than the minimum interchange time and would most certainly be consulting the TfL journey planner for the optimum route, and any alternatives.
 

Daniel

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The TFL journey planner is the obvious solution, as it is loaded with the working timetable plus station interchange times..?
 

jopsuk

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I think Justin's interested in the situations where you arrive at the station (or are actually underground- so no mobile reception!) and there's sudden disruption.
 

LondonJohn

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I think Justin's interested in the situations where you arrive at the station (or are actually underground- so no mobile reception!) and there's sudden disruption.
If you are planning your journey that late in the stage then you really are asking for problems.

I have a tube exit appln on my iphone that works underground and goes as far as telling you which carriages you can go in for exiting and changing so you can be ahead of the game.

As a rule, I tend to allow an hour for most cross London trips, sometimes more than at least it gives me a bit of leeway if you get a delay and you often have a bonus of being able to grab a coffee or something from the station and find your train and a seat in good time.
 

SS4

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If you are planning your journey that late in the stage then you really are asking for problems.

I have a tube exit appln on my iphone that works underground and goes as far as telling you which carriages you can go in for exiting and changing so you can be ahead of the game.

As a rule, I tend to allow an hour for most cross London trips, sometimes more than at least it gives me a bit of leeway if you get a delay and you often have a bonus of being able to grab a coffee or something from the station and find your train and a seat in good time.
That same app also has a minute map if it's the one I'm thinking of although it's not good for when one uses walking interchanges.

+1 for proper planning. Typically I make sure I have an A and B plan and enough time for improvisation if necessary although I do not make claims for anyone else or even that it's right to do so
 

Mutant Lemming

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If you don't have a through ticket for underground travel then ensure you have plenty of change for the machines. Some of the queues at places like Kings Cross and Paddington can add 20 minutes on to your journey (add Stratford to that list as well).
 

transmanche

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If you don't have a through ticket for underground travel then ensure you have plenty of change for the machines. Some of the queues at places like Kings Cross and Paddington can add 20 minutes on to your journey (add Stratford to that list as well).
Another good reason for getting an Oyster card...
 

Lee_Again

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The exact average was actually 2 minutes 17 seconds per stop, but 2.5 minutes is easier to remember......
A few years back I worked out the averge time for 1 minute on a few of the lines. Mostly from King's Cross. If I recall correctly, the Northern Line had the longest minute at about 90 odd seconds.
 

bb21

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A few years back I worked out the averge time for 1 minute on a few of the lines. Mostly from King's Cross. If I recall correctly, the Northern Line had the longest minute at about 90 odd seconds.
1 minute? Do you mean "one station" instead?
 

John @ home

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1 minute? Do you mean "one station" instead?
I think he means the time until the train arrives as calculated from the platform displays, eg. arrive on platform when display shows "1st train: 7 mins". Train arrives 11 mins later.

When I worked near Angel, it was widely believed that a Northern Line minute has 100 seconds for this purpose.
 

Peter Mugridge

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Isn't it down to the displays measuring the travel time based on distance without taking into account the stops at intervening stations?
 

Deerfold

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I think it only doesn't take into account unscheduled stops.

Unlike the system for buses which estimates how long a bus will take based on how long the last few have taken (it's not perfect but it dows "learn" when there's delays).
 

Justin Smith

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Another good reason for getting an Oyster card...
I would advise anyone who uses London Underground even once a year to get an Oyster card, though make sure you always remember to touch out at stations or it whacks on a huge extra amount. If you don't get an Oyster card you'll really get ripped off with the ticket prices, they're unbelievably expensive if you pay cash for each journey. I must admit I really was a bit annoyed at being forced to get an Oyster card, I only go to London 2 or 3 times a year, but I really couldn't stomach the prices I was being charged before.......
 

Ivo

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I would advise anyone who uses London Underground even once a year to get an Oyster card, though make sure you always remember to touch out at stations or it whacks on a huge extra amount. If you don't get an Oyster card you'll really get ripped off with the ticket prices, they're unbelievably expensive if you pay cash for each journey. I must admit I really was a bit annoyed at being forced to get an Oyster card, I only go to London 2 or 3 times a year, but I really couldn't stomach the prices I was being charged before.......
They aren't much use when every journey made is either passing through on a valid NR ticket or using a Travelcard though...

I have paid for an LU journey just once in my life - and on that occasion I considered it a novelty to actually be receiving my very own LU ticket.
 

jopsuk

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I've got an Oyster, but as I mainly do day-trips to london, at the weekend, using my Network Railcard, it's usually cheapest for me to buy a travelcard return- as Network Railcard discount can't be used with Oyster (unlike 16-25 railcard, for example)
 

heart-of-wessex

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I would advise anyone who uses London Underground even once a year to get an Oyster card, though make sure you always remember to touch out at stations or it whacks on a huge extra amount. If you don't get an Oyster card you'll really get ripped off with the ticket prices, they're unbelievably expensive if you pay cash for each journey. I must admit I really was a bit annoyed at being forced to get an Oyster card, I only go to London 2 or 3 times a year, but I really couldn't stomach the prices I was being charged before.......
Not for me I doubt though, I'll more likely stick with paper as practically every London trip of mine is a bash and a station scratch, and I can do Class 455 scooping on SWT between Waterloo and Vauxhall too and other non-Oyster areas.

As I understand and Oyster isn't suited for such either case
 

Deerfold

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Not for me I doubt though, I'll more likely stick with paper as practically every London trip of mine is a bash and a station scratch, and I can do Class 455 scooping on SWT between Waterloo and Vauxhall too and other non-Oyster areas.

As I understand and Oyster isn't suited for such either case
If you stay "in the system" for long periods of time a paper travelcard is better for you as you will exceed the time limits Oyster allows.

Waterloo - Vauxhall is an Oyster area as is all of NR within Greater London (except on Hayes & Harlington - Heathrow and HS1).
 
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