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How to get around London over Christmas and what TfL services are running

Evening Standard logo Evening Standard 06/12/2022 Jessica Knibbs
Oxford Street Christmas lights © PA Oxford Street Christmas lights

After a year of incessant transport strikes, people now have to start working out the best way to get around London during the Christmas period.

Strikes organised by the Rail, Maritime, and Transport union (RMT) have caused travel misery for thousands of commuters and may impact travel in London as some workers are RMT members.

Bus strikes including some closures, service changes, and planned works on Tube lines are expected. As a result, this may affect journeys around London and commuters are advised to check before travelling.

London bus strikes

There will be bus strikes affecting most routes in London as around 1,000 bus drivers will be walking out.

Days affected by the bus strike are December 9, 10, 16, and 17, for both Abellio and Metroline bus services.

Strike action affecting bus services are currently occuring on:

  • Friday, December 9 (Abellio and possibly Metroline)
  • Saturday, December 10 (Abellio only)
  • Thursday, December 15 (possibly Metroline only)
  • Friday, December 16 (Abellio and possibly Metroline)
  • Saturday, December 17 (Abellio only)

Bus routes affected

Abellio day routes: 3, 27, 45, 63, 68, 109, 130, 156, 195, 196, 201, 207, 267, 270, 278, 315, 322, 350, 367, 381, 407, 415, 427, 433, 464, 482, 490, 969, C10, E5, E7, E10, E11, H20, H25, H28, H26, P5, P13, R68, R70, S4, U5, U7, U9

Route 481 will operate but with fewer services on weekdays from 7.30am to 8am, and from 3pm to 4pm.

Abellio 24-hour routes: 24, 111, 159, 285, 344, 345

Abellio night routes: N3, N27, N63, N68, N109, N207, N381

School routes: 671

Metroline day routes: 4, 7, 16, 17, 30, 32, 46, 81, 83, 90, 91, 98, 107, 112, 113, 120, 140, 143,168,182,186,190, 204, 210, 231, 234, 237, 240, 245, 260, 263, 268, 274, 292, 302, 306, 307, 316, 317, 324, 328, 332, 382, 384, 393, 460, 483, 491, C11, E2, E8, H2, H3, W7, W8

Route 307 will not be affected by strike action from December 10.

Metroline night routes: N7, N16, N20, N31, N83, N91, N98, N113, N140

Metroline 24-hour routes: 6, 43, 52, 134, 139, 189, 271, 297, 390

School routes: 631, 632, 634, 643

London tube strikes

There are currently no Tube strikes planned before the end of 2022 but disputes with TfL have yet to be resolved and may affect some lines in the upcoming weeks.

Unions have to give two weeks’ notice ahead of any action on strikes being called.

Check TfL website for updates ahead of travelling.

There will be engineering work taking place in the capital, alongside the strikes, which may impact some services around London.

TfL services on Christmas Eve

On Christmas Eve, public transport will start to wind down from early evening with no night buses available. London Underground, Docklands Light Railway, Elizabeth Line, London Overground, and London Trams Services are expected to finish earlier than normal.

TfL advises checking its journey planner nearer the time for last train/tram times.

TfL services on Christmas Day

There is no public transport on Christmas Day but taxi and private hire services are available for those needing to travel.

Those wanting to get around the city on Sunday, December 25 can also use the Santander Cycles, Dial-a-Ride, coaches, or electronic scooter rentals in some London boroughs.

Elizabeth Line

The Elizabeth line will not be running normally from Monday, December 26 to Monday, January 2 . Services between Paddington and Abbey Wood (December 26 and 27), Liverpool Street/Whitechapel to Shenfield (December 26), Paddington to Heathrow and Reading (December 26 and 27) will be affected and there will be a reduced service between West Drayton and Maidenhead between 10.30am and 9.30pm (December 27), and Liverpool Street/Whitechapel to Shenfield (December 27 and January 2).

London Overground

London Overground will also have changes to services between Monday, December 26 and Monday, January 2. Affected routes include Euston to Watford Junction, Richmond to Willesden Junction, Surrey Quays to New Cross, Sydenham to West Croydon, Shepherd’s Bush to Willesden Junction (December 26), Willesden Junction to Stratford (December 26 and 27), Gospel Oak to Woodgrange Park (December 26 and 30), Liverpool Street to Enfield Town, Cheshunt and Chingford, Romford to Upminster (December 26 and January 2), Camden Road to Willesden Junction, via West Hampstead (December 28 and 30), and Clapham Junction to Willesden Junction (December 30 and January 2).

Santander Cycles

Santander Cycles is London’s public bicycle hire scheme and a great way to travel around the city, particularly on Christmas Day, when there is no public transport.

There are 800 docking stations across London, with about 12,000 bikes available to hire operating 24/7.

For a 30-minute journey using Santander Cycles, the cost is £1.65 and, for longer journeys, it is £1.65 for each additional 30 minutes.

For more information visit Santander Cycles.

Dial-a-Ride

London Dial-a-Ride is run by TfL and is a door-to-door community transport service for people with a permanent or long-term disability or health problem, which means they are unable or virtually unable to use public transport.

The free service is for passengers with mobility issues who can use the service for leisure, shopping, or visiting friends and relatives.

The service is not for those needing to attend hospital appointments or work engagements.

To become a member for Dial-a-Ride visit its site.

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