Episode 03

Episode 03

Tess and Ravi talk about one of the most emblematic forms of transport in London. You guessed it! The big, red double-decker buses! Jo and Adam join them in speaking about transport.


Jo and Adam

Adam: Hello! And welcome to Episode 3 of Series 4 of LearnEnglish Elementary Podcasts. My name's Adam and, like last time, my colleague Jo will be joining us later on to talk about some of the language in the podcast.

We've had messages from lots of people who are new to the podcast and the LearnEnglish site, which is great. If you're new, or even if you've been with us for a while, have a look at our Help page. There's a lot of useful advice about how to use the site to help you improve your English, including speaking.

And for the people who are asking if there are going to be more podcasts, don’t worry – there will be a new episode released every two weeks until February of next year. That’s not too long to wait and there are plenty more episodes to come!

Also, remember that you can download the LearnEnglish Elementary Podcasts app from the Google Play Store or the Apple App Store, and there’s also a link to the app on the LearnEnglish website. One useful feature of the app is that you can slow down the speed of the audio if you need a bit more time to understand what you’re hearing.

Now, I'm sure you remember, in the last podcast Carolina and Emily went shopping at the sales. Emily had a great time, but Carolina didn't enjoy the experience very much. So we asked you to write in and tell us about sales in your country, and what you think about them. Are you with Emily or Carolina? Do you love the sales or hate them?

Just as with Carolina and Emily, your opinions were divided. Samba from Mali likes sales very much, and Magnolia57 from Brunei feels happy and relaxed to get things at a cheaper price. Buta from Vietnam loves shopping in the sales because of all the discounts and special offers.

But trener from Poland says ‘I don't like the sales because I spend a lot of money on stuff which I don't need’.

And Juhat from Brunei doesn't understand why people are so crazy about sales because now you can buy everything you want online. That’s a good point.

Tanni, from Pakistan, doesn't like the sales either, because the streets are crowded with people and traffic and people are rude. That sounds like Carolina's experience! And Amy My from Vietnam doesn't like shopping in the sales period because the clothes are all the wrong sizes and don't fit.

Tanni and Amy My also make the point that some shops are clever. They put very high prices on things at first – higher than the real price – and then say that these things are much cheaper during the sales. Sneaky! So watch out for these kinds of tricks.

But that doesn’t happen in all the shops. Kemdehoundja from France is a fan of sales because they're the right time to get good deals. He says ‘In 2009 during the winter sales, my girlfriend and I paid 300 euros for a sofa which initially cost 1000 euros.’ What a bargain!

Kemdehoundja and N4dia, who’s from Italy, mentioned that there are winter sales and summer sales where they live. But BNima and asuma girlish say that in Morocco, there is no special time for sales.

Thanks to everyone who left a comment – we really enjoy reading them and hearing what you think. It’s interesting to read different answers to our questions from our users all over the world. So please keep sending them in!

Now it's time to hear from Tess and Ravi again. And, as usual, they're going to talk about something that people think is typically British, like drinking tea for example. Let's see what it is this time.


Tess and Ravi

Tess: Hello again, everyone. I’m Tess.

Ravi: And I’m Ravi and we’re back to talk about some of the things you think you know about Britain. We’ve talked about fish and chips and bad weather and drinking tea – typically British things – and today we’re going to talk about a typically British way to travel. What do you think it is, Tess?

Tess: The London Underground?

Ravi: Nope.

Tess: Erm … on a horse?

Ravi: On a horse? No. It’s on a bus – or, to be exact, on a red double-decker bus.

Tess: Ah, OK. Good one. Double-decker buses are buses that have two levels – an upstairs and a downstairs. You see them in other countries too, but for lots of people a red double-decker bus is a typical London sight.

Ravi: Where do you like to sit, Tess? Upstairs or downstairs?

Tess: Mm, I don’t really take the bus, Ravi, I like to …

Ravi: For me, the upstairs seat right at the front, above the bus driver – that’s the best one. I always used to sit there when I was a kid and pretend I was driving the bus.

Tess: You’re still a kid, Ravi. Actually, if you think about a red London bus – the typical London bus that you’ve seen in films and photographs – you’re probably thinking about one special kind of double-decker bus called the Routemaster.

Ravi: Is that the one that’s open at the back?

Tess: That’s right. You got onto the bus at the back – there wasn’t a door, it was open. The driver was shut away in his driver’s cabin at the front and another man or woman – the conductor – was inside the bus to collect the money for bus fares from the passengers.

Ravi: And you could just jump on or off the bus? Bit dangerous.

Tess: Yeah, a bit.

Ravi: And you don’t see bus conductors on buses any more, do you? You just pay your money to the driver or use your Oyster card …

Tess: Yeah – An Oyster card is a sort of travel card that you can use on all kinds of London transport – but, yeah, we don’t really have bus conductors any more. In fact, we don’t really have that typical red double-decker Routemaster bus any more.

Ravi: Yeah we do – I saw one this morning.

Tess: Well, we do still have them on one or two bus routes right in the centre of London but I think that’s sort of a tourist thing, really. Buses nowadays are mostly new double-deckers – they’re still red – or the very long single-decker buses – the ones we call bendy buses.

Ravi: Oh, yeah, I don’t like those bendy buses.

Tess: But they’re much easier to get on – for people in wheelchairs, or mums with babies in pushchairs or old people who can’t walk very well – it’s much easier to get on to the bendy buses. That was one of the main reasons that they stopped using the Routemaster buses.

Ravi: Oh right, I didn’t know that.

Tess: So people like to see the old-fashioned Routemaster buses and tourists like to see them too but it’s probably better to travel on the new buses – they’re definitely more comfortable.

Ravi: Well, there are so many traffic jams in London that it's probably quicker to walk – it took me ages to get here this morning.

Tess: Actually, you know, walking is a great way to see London.

Ravi: If you like walking, it is …

Tess: Oh Ravi, don't be lazy, you’re always going on about ...


Jo and Adam

Adam: And Jo's here again with me today. Hi Jo.

Jo: Hi Adam.

Adam: And what did you think of that, Jo? Do you take buses?

Jo: I don't. I live in the country, so I usually walk, cycle or take the car or the motorbike. The last bus I took was in London.

Adam: When I'm in London I always take a bus. I love sitting on the top deck, right at the front. Why don't you write and tell us what your favourite transport is? How do you get to work or school or university?

Jo: And is there a special form of transport that tourists use in your country? Like the Routemaster buses in London?

Adam: The address is www.britishcouncil.org/learnenglish. Now let's look at some of the language from this podcast. And today it's prepositions. Jo...?

Jo: Prepositions are words like 'on', 'at', 'in' or 'from' – and it can be difficult to know which one to use. Listen to Tess. Which preposition does she use?

Tess: ... but it’s probably better to travel on the new buses – they’re definitely more comfortable.

Jo: She said 'on' – 'it's better to travel on the new buses'. My students always think it's strange that we say 'on the bus' or 'on the train'.

Adam: When someone phones you on your way home you say 'I'm on the train – I'll be there soon'.

Jo: 'On the plane' too. 'I watched a good film on the plane'. But we use 'in' for a car or a taxi.

Adam: 'I'm in a taxi – I'll be there soon'.

Jo: So – you wait for your bus, and when it comes you get on – but what do you do when you get to the bus station? You get ...? Listen to Ravi.

Ravi: And you could just jump on or off the bus?

Jo: Yes, you get off the bus when you arrive. You get on and you get off. There are some exercises on the website to practise this. And some exercises to help you with the different meanings of the verb 'get'.

Adam: And there are other exercises too. You can do them online or download the pdf file and print them. So – I think that's all for this time. Please don't forget to send us your comments on transport where you live.

Jo: Or if you've ever ridden on the big red buses in London, tell us about that! See you next time.

Adam/Jo: Bye!


Average: 5 (1 vote)

Submitted by Hu on Sun, 05/06/2022 - 08:07


Hello everyone, my favorite transport is a car. It is because you are free to go anywhere you want and on any time without waiting other people who might not have the same destination as yours. Therefore , using your own car is a time keeper. on the other hand, people in my country are mostly using car for transportation. There are few people who go on buses. Buses are used as tourists form of transportation where some one can guide them through the trips.
I have seen Routemaster buses in London on the socialmedia and I cannot wait to ride it one day.

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Submitted by Czar Aaron on Mon, 01/02/2021 - 16:00

Hi everyone, I have just read previous comment of Jmajo from Uruguay. It is a great idea to ride on a bike to a work, a shop and for the relax trips. I would like to ride on my bicycle everywhere like Jmajo. I am from Poland. I lived in Warsaw where there was my favourite public transport - the underground. I was going to my work on the underground and a bus or a tram. There are two lines of the underground in Warsaw. They are still going to built new lines. In Poland we have a very good public transport. There are single-decker buses and very long single-decker buses. There are the new and modern buses in Warsaw. Each of them is available to older and disabled passengers. Also all trams are without stairs. You can come in to the trams or the buses through each of doors. You should to buy the ticket before the journey from the automatics ticket machine. You can charge the long term ticket on your ticket Warsaw card there. If you have a one month card you can travel on all buses, trams, the underground and trains in the Warsaw area. It is a brilliant idea. I had a one month ticket and used it to public transport in Warsaw. Many young people and tourists use city electric bicycles and city electric scooters. We have a lot of these vehicles points. You may pay with debit card for an hour. There are many of bicycle paths in Warsaw and they still built new paths. Some people ride their bicycles to work and schools but they should have a safe place for bicycle parking there. I use the underground lines in London. I like it because there are many lines. I can achieve my travel aims on the underground faster than London buses. Apart of that buses and the underground in London do not have one payment system if you use a prepaid card. One system is when you use the long term oyster card only. But if you travel only five days a week or less the prepaid card is cheaper than the long term oyster. The prepaid card it can be your debit card. It is convenient in London public transport. I was travelling on the London double-decker buses when my guests visited me. We had the weekly oyster tickets. That were a excellent travels on the buses in London. I showed to my guests a lot of the London attractions. We even travel in the Emirate airline cable car. There were cheaper tickets with the oyster cards. That were brilliant views from the cable car. Every guest was enjoy. Best wishes for everyone, Bye

Submitted by jmajo on Thu, 28/01/2021 - 18:35

My favourite transport is my mountain bicycle and I use it always to get everywhere but I use de public transport(bus) when it's raining though. To get to my work I use my bicycle because luckily there are lots of bike paths to use riding bicycles or rollers, skates and electric bikes, although I use the public transport in the rainy and very cold days of winter, I try to use my bicycle every time I can because I think it's more healthy and it's the most environment-friendly way of transport. Lots of people here complains about the time they lost in the traffic travelling for short distances but every year they still buying lots of new cars instead of use green transport like electric bikes or bicycles when they need to travel short distances to get to work. There is not a special form of transport here for tourists to use, they usually use taxis or they rent cars or others services like that. I have never ridden on the red big double-decker buses in London because I've never been to London. Thanks for the episode. Great site!!!

Submitted by Qoo on Thu, 28/01/2021 - 00:11

I have a question about the task. To reply to the question ''How much does it cost?'' , the appropriate answer is '' Seven pounds return with a student card.'' I don't know what it means. Does it cost seven pounds? Or you can get seven pounds back if you use your students card? but in this case, how much does it cost ? Please tell me what it means.

Hi Qoo,

Good question! It means the ticket costs seven pounds, and it is a return ticket (for going and coming back, not just one way). This price is for people who have a student card.

Does that make sense?


The LearnEnglish Team

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Submitted by danisep on Tue, 22/09/2020 - 20:54

In this city the public transport is not best to travel. I don't have anything against public transport. I think it is great for the environment and if I could use bikes I will, but this city is full of hills, so my favorite transport is the car that is fast to arrive at your destination and comfortable. Here used to be a railway that communicates both countries and works for transported goods between countries. The Railway is not working anymore. I would like to see a more healthy public transport in this city.
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Submitted by Sergey Sh on Tue, 08/10/2019 - 00:54

In my opinion the best way to get somewhere is by car. Whatever you do, I mean, you travel or just go to work or even feel a bit down to psych up. When you drive a car, you can go as fast or slow as you want in full comfort without being surrounded by other people. You are always in time to work if there’re not so much of traffic jams in tour hometown. Having a car means no restrictions, you are sort of free. When it’s raining and cold outside you’re always dry and happy. Tune music you like on your way to somewhere and things gonna be better. Car as means of transport is very good choice, isn’t it?

Submitted by parisaach on Wed, 22/05/2019 - 11:32

In my country there is no special facilities for tourists , they can take taxi, bus or subway for transportation. I usually take a taxi to get to work in the mornings and back home by bus or subway. I'd rather to take a taxi or use my car to commute but when I get back from work I can use bus because it is the first station and I can seat on the bus while usually it is hard to find an empty seat on the other stations.

Submitted by User_User on Mon, 25/02/2019 - 18:07

Hello How I travel: I live in a village. I walk to work because the place where I work is in the same street where I live. There is a general practitioner and a dentist where I live. When I want to see other doctors I have to travel to one of the towns (mainly the biggest one) in the same district. I buy almost everything by mail order. So, about once a month I travel by train. The train station is behind my house. If the train can't come I can also travel by bus. The bus station is close to the the train station. Bye

Submitted by ali aiad ali shanan on Tue, 29/01/2019 - 23:09

I like train in the travel .we have some transportation in our city like cars, buses and taxi .when I was in the university I was taking the bus . I really want to ride on the red double-decker buses in London