City Airport is the nearest of all London airports to the city centre – only 6 miles. It is located to the east of London area, which has been used as the old London Docks. The Docks once covered an area of east London along the River Thames. The Docks were transformed in the 80’s to what they are nowadays- commercial and financial region of London where several large multinational banks have built their office buildings. City Airport is small airport serving mainly short destinations in UK, Ireland and sometimes Western Europe. It has a fairly short runway, so only small jets can land.
Docklands Light Railway (DLR)
City Airport has great connection with the public transport with the Docklands Light Railway (DLR) – a train link from the Terminal to the Central London Underground net. In fact, apart from a taxi or minicab services, this is your only option for a connection with the public transport. DLR station is positioned in the west side on the Terminal and it is connected with it. It is actually part of the Underground system which allows you to make transfers from the DLR trains directly to the Tube with a single ticket. Remember that with single ticket you’re allowed to make up to maximum 2 changes in the Underground.
The line runs frequently – it departs from City DLR Station in every 8 to 15 minutes. It operates from 5.30 in the morning until midnight. Getting on the train passengers can make connection with the Jubilee Line of the Underground / which travels through Waterloo, Southwark and London Bridge/ or the Bank Underground Line – passing through Bank station, Liverpool Street etc. . These transfers can be made on the stop of Canning Town. From the Terminal to Canning Town it takes only 7 minutes.
The journey from the airport to city centre with the DLR is about 20 minutes. Pricing with DLR and the Underground is complex and you should think it over well before choosing the type of your fare. You can choose between an Oyster card, Contactless Payment Card or Travel card.
What are the differences?
Most Londoners travel with Oyster cards, which gives them free access to all kinds of public transport –buses and the Tube. Travel cards are better for groups or for people who decide to use just one type of transport / bus,tram or underground/. Travel cards are not valid for all types of transport. Contactless cards may be the most spread future method for paying for your trip, but in case you’re overseas visitor, don’t choose this option. Contactless paying system uses your debit/credit card and charges it at the end of the day for all your travels. Therefore you have to be sure that you credit card supports that kind of contactless payment.
As a comparison – single journey from City Airport to Bank Station in the centre with a single fare will cost you -£4.90, with Oyster card – £3.30 and with Contactless – £2.80. So broadly speaking, no matter if you’re local or just temporary visitor, you should think about getting card for travel instead of paying single fares all the time.
Buses from City Airport to the center are only two – 473 (Stratford, Silvertown, North Woolwich, and Prince Regent DLR Station) and the 474 (Canning Town, North Woolwich and East Beckton via Silvertown). These are the famous red London buses and you can pay again with some the card options listed above.
Taxis & Minicabs
Taxi or minicab is another good option as the terminal is not very far. Normally a single journey with a black cab will cost you between £35£ to £45. Black cab rank for licensed taxis is just outside the Terminal. Minicabs services are relatively cheaper as for 4 people journey the average price is between £23 to £26. In case you haven’t used minicabs before, you should know that booking in advance, you avoid the annoying public transport hassle, take all you luggage easily and travel in comfort.
Minicabs are driven by fully licensed drivers, they are exact and have great knowledge of the city. You can take minicab from point to point, or from City Airport to your address. Minicab services allow a lot of additional types of luggage, including pets, sports equipment, household large items and many more.
How to book a minicab?
Just visit some of the hundreds minicab websites and make your quote for journey. You can do this 24/7 or just call before your arrival to make an inquiry. Minicabs prove different types of vehicles, from saloon, to estate or even 8-seated cars. You should consider this option if you travel with a lot of cases, small children or in group. Public transport might be cheaper, but it will drive you crazy, don’t think trains are empty. They are full of people-both tourists and local residents.
Another alternative to a taxi service is airport transfer. For City Airport this kind of transportation is good for groups larger than 5 people. In any other case, you better take a minicab. The services private transfers provide are pretty much the same as minicabs services. A vehicle can be booked in advance, the driver will wait for you at the airport, and the price is rock solid – for a single journey from point to point. No meters!
It’s also true that private transfers are more convenient as you don’t have to worry for arriving earlier or later at the airport. Usually companies assure cars immediately no matter of time of your arrival as they monitor airway traffic constantly. If you are new to London, you should know that private airport transfers from City Airport are luxurious way of travelling- prices to the centre are pretty high – from £45 to £60. In any other way- travelling from City Airport to another airport it can be practical to arrange private transfer, because the distance is greater and prices really acceptable.