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Cab fare estimates

I've posted in General Europe & on some of the packing & tech forums but this one is specific to London. I just found out at a group meeting today that due to liability issues (big group, primarily high schoolers plus a small percentage of parents/grandparents/etc.), that getting to and fro around London will be either by foot or by cab - no public transportation allowed. We do have coach buses that may take us a few places during the day (for the concerts) but optional activities will be by foot or cab.

Can anyone help with estimated costs of cabs in London? We stay at the Thistle City Barbican Hotel & evenings seem free for theater (West End play), London Symphony, London Eye, Piccadilly, etc. We are seeing a play one night so West End for sure. Not sure what we do on the other free night. First night I believe we do a walking tour of the nearby area. Three nights total in London.

Thanks for any info so I can adjust my budget based on potential cab fare.

Posted by
27426 posts

that's nuts! I agree entirely with emma, i cannot believe that walking will be safer than everybody piling on to a bus.

Posted by
193 posts

I was surprised by the info too. There will be coach buses that might take us to one area and then we would walk to the sites around the area - but they said no one in the group can use the subway-type systems in London (or Paris). I'm guessing it's because each chaperone has 10-15 kids to watch over and the kids are 16 - 18. Most parents do not go, but my husband and I were able to make it work, so we get to attend. However, I think we can do what we want - so we might find the Tube if we want to do something different than the group. I will have to look at some London maps to get an idea of the distances between various sights. Never having been, it's hard to imagine. Thanks for the tips!

Posted by
10344 posts

Walking distances in London can be substantial, as others have attempted to point out.

Posted by
8889 posts

16-18 year olds are perfectly capable of going on the tube or using buses on their own. How do you think local kids of that age get around? And 18-year-olds are adults so you can't stop them using public transport (and going in to pubs and buying beer if they want to).
I too think this is nuts.

There is really no alternative to the tube or (slower) buses to get around central London, unless you want a fleet of expensive taxis.

Posted by
193 posts

Hopefully I'm not understanding completely how they will get us around town. Yes, looking left instead of right (or right vs left) is going to be important to remember - that is definitely not our norm here. I'll have to ask some more questions of the tour operator to get a better idea of how they will get us around. I can't believe we will have to walk everywhere - at least I hope not!! I will do some more homework - thanks all!!

Posted by
8889 posts

P.S. If all public transport is banned, how are you getting from London to Paris? Can't take the Eurostar train or fly (both are public transport). That leaves only one option, taxis to Dover, swim the channel (ferries are public transport), and more taxis to Paris.
Have you costed this option? :-)

Posted by
10344 posts

As a vital safety issue, it should not be under-estimated how easy it might be for 16 to 18 year old Americans (or Americans of any age) to get hit by a car crossing streets in London.
Do not tell them to always look right, or look the opposite way--instead, instruct them (and make sure they are doing it):
Look both ways, twice.
Because some London streets are one way.

Posted by
193 posts

I think just the subway type transport is not allowed. The tour is via coach bus and we ride the ferry across the Channel to Paris. The bus drives to each hotel and from city to city. It sounds like in the big cities, the bus will drive to one location and then groups go out and about to various sites - but I'm not 100% sure. It's a group of 300 (5 coach buses) so a good number of folks to move around England and Europe. It is a pretty strict tour group. Parents had to sign a waiver to allow their child one glass of beer or wine with dinner - the kids can't drink here (legally) until 21. I'm sure I shouldn't worry - they've been doing these tours for many years and most likely have all the details worked out and everyone comes home safe :)

Posted by
193 posts

Thanks, Kent - will do! Definetly do not want anyone struck by a car, bike, any vehicle!!

Posted by
8889 posts

Sorry to drift of subject, but I don't understand "Parents had to sign a waiver to allow their child one glass of beer or wine with dinner". If they are 18, they are legally adults in charge of themselves. It doesn't make any difference legally whether the parents approve or not.
The parents can't ban them from doing something which is legal (drink alcohol, go on public transport), and if they are adults neither you or any of the people running this tour can be held legally responsible for their behaviour.

Posted by
193 posts

What's the legal drinking age in London & Europe? I'm guessing younger than 18 since the 16 & 17 year olds can have that waiver signed. Lucky for me, my daughter & nephew will be 17 - so not "true adults" - no matter what they think ;)

The liability and rules are all bound by a contract that everyone on the tour had to sign, so legally they have the right to set the rules, limits, etc. because we signed to agree to comply - otherwise the tour would not accept the student.

Even us adults (not performing, no chaperone duties - thank goodness!) had to sign an agreement that we would be 'good role model'... I had to let that one sit a while before signing it LOL!! :)

After this fast paced, big-group tour, my hope is that me & husband can go back and take a smaller RS tour where we learn some of the independent travel skills for big cities mixed in with the convenience of most planning done so we don't have that worry.

If my daughter likes the trip, I'll let her be the backpacking carefree traveller when she is out of school and is an adult (and can pay her own way!!) ;)

Even though we've gotten a bit off track - it's all good info for me to consider!

Posted by
4631 posts

The age for drinking wine or beer with a meal in the UK is 16, if they are accompanied by an adult. At home or other private premises the age is 5.

Posted by
10344 posts

I don't think 5 year olds should drink.
Maybe at 6 or 7, but 5 is a little young.

Posted by
193 posts

@Kent - thanks for the laugh!

@Chris - our group will also be in Switzerland for three nights - we will hopefully be calm travelers by then & thrilled to have seen the sights and sounds of London & Paris successfully and without incident :)

Thanks again for all the info, thoughts and questions posed to my question!

Posted by
8889 posts

Marco is correct, the legal minimum age in the UK for drinking in a restaurant with a meal is 16.
For buying alcohol yourself (in a pub or a shop) and drinking in a pub it is 18.
The 5 is "with the parents consent", and designed so it is not criminalise parents who allow children to have a sip of wine on a special occasion (Christmas). Anything other than a minimal amount would come under the protection of children laws.

In France it is also 18 to buy alcohol.
In Germany, Switzerland, Belgium and some other countries (with certain additional local restrictions), you can buy wine and beer at 16, but for spirits you must be 18.

300 is a big group to manage, I wish you luck. I think you might miss some "immersion in the culture" with that number.

One minor point. A bus/coach in the UK is right hand drive, with the passenger door on the left, in France, Switzerland etc. vice-versa. In order that you don't get on and off on the 'wrong' side in the middle off the traffic, they may well switch buses when you cross the channel.

Finally, enjoy yourselves!

Posted by
193 posts

Thanks all - luckily I am not in charge of this group in any manner!!! We are just along for the "ride" & will be watching our daughter, nephew & the many talented kids from our state perform music in all the places we visit. The sightseeing is a bonus - but watching our kids perform in such amazing places will be the focus. :)

Posted by
1335 posts

As Chris and Marco point out the big age restriction is on buying the alcohol, not drinking it. The UK's minimum of 5 is actually on the higher side in Europe, most countries do not have a legal minimum set out in law and just rely on prudent behaviour by the parent or guardian.

The other restrictions are about where the alcohol can be drunk. The 16 is in a licenced premises with food, with a guardian's approval and purchase, the other is in the home or another private environment. Every where else it is illegal to drink alcohol under the age of 18.

Posted by
4631 posts

Part of the reason the UK has a relatively high age for alcohol purchase for Europe is down to an American - Nancy Astor who sponsored the legislation through the House of Commons in 1923. Prior to that the age for sale and consumption of beer was 14 and spirits 16 (school leaving age was 14 though at the time). Go back another 50 years and there were no age restrictions at all.

The Act that makes a person giving alcohol to the under 5s an offence also makes illegal allowing a child aged between 4 and 16 from living in a brothel.