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IELTS Reading Text 1

Travelling on the London Underground


The London underground is the most convenient way to travel in London. The 275 stations are dispersed throughout the entire city, 63 of which are in the centre. Therefore, it’s not surprising that the majority of Londoners and tourists use the underground.

The size of the network

London currently has 12 tube lines which spread across the whole city and into its outskirts and suburbs. In total there are 402 kilometres of track. This means that you can get around quite easily using the underground. The network itself is the second largest in the world.

Rush hour

Peak times are in the early morning and evening between 7-9 and 5-7. Over a billion passengers per year makes the London underground the third busiest system in Europe, while the daily ridership is averaged at 2.93 million in the week, rising to 3.5 at weekends.

Service times

Most lines offer services every few minutes from the hours of 5:30 to 12:30. However, Sundays offer a slightly reduced service with trains only running between 7:30 and 23:30. Public holidays also affect service times as too do severe weather conditions such as floods and snow.

Ticket options

A valid ticket or travel card is necessary to travel on the network. This must be purchased before starting your journey. The cheapest option is a single ticket and the most expensive a yearly pass. There are also daily, weekly or monthly passes but the majority of regular travellers choose to have an electronic rechargeable pass called an ‘Oyster card’ or a ‘pay as you go’ card.

Ticket Pricing

The price of a ticket varies per zone and travel time. For example, a single ticket for zone 1 at ‘off-peak’ is currently £4.00 while a day travel card is £6.60. A single ticket for zones 1-9 in comparison is £5.90 and a day pay stands at £14.50.


Cheaper fares are available for young people, university students, unemployed and groups. Disabled and retired people can also apply in writing for a ‘freedom pass’ to gain free unlimited travel across the network at any time.


Travel without a valid ticket will result in a fine of £50 leading to £1,000 and the possibility of 3 months imprisonment for refusal to pay. For these reasons it is highly recommended that you purchase a ticket and also validate it using the machines at the entrance of the underground station.

Questions 1-7

Look at the extract from a leaflet about London Underground.

Using NO MORE THAN THREE WORDS for each, answer the following questions.

  1. How many tube lines reach the suburbs?
  2. How many people travel on the London underground in one year?
  3. What kind of service is offered on Sundays?
  4. Which TWO environmental conditions affect the trains?
  5. Which ticket has the lowest cost?
  6. How much do disabled people pay to use the underground?
  7. What is the worst punishment for not buying a ticket?

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December student of the month

Katharina from Germany had the very tough task of achieving 7.5 in each test to do her medical elective in Scotland.

But after taking the iPass Writing & Speaking Plus course, she did it!!

Her speaking score went from 7 to 8.5 and her writing increased from 6.5 to 7.5 - an amazing result - well done Katharina!!


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Jedd - Libya (New Zealand)

​I’m Kristoffer Gayanilo, aka Jedd. I was Jenny and Nigel’s student in sept, 2013… I took IELTS more than 2 yrs ago while working in Tripoli, Libya.

This January I’m celebrating my first year here in New Zealand and so far, looking back, it was a tough journey.

I welcomed 2016 feeling thankful to the blessings I received from the previous years. Currently, I’m a registered nurse in New Zealand and looking forward to become a resident in this country.

I would like to take this opportunity to say “thank you!” All of this was made possible with your guidance to ace IELTS beyond the band score I was hoping for. Happy new year iPass IELTS team!


Jedd - Libya (New Zealand)

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