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Episode 03

Tess & Ravi

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 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!



Language level

Intermediate: B1
Pre-intermediate: A2


Hello everyone! I'm Alexandr and I'm from Russia.
My favourite transport is a my car.
Usually I get to work by the my car also.
There is a special form of transport for tourists such as the red double-decker buses in my city.
I have never ridden on the big red buses in London, because I have never been in London.
I invite you to St. Petersburg. See you soon.

Hi Alexandr I m sure your city is one of the most beitiful on the word. I would like to go there. Hope I will in future. I like London I visited the city few times couse I live in the Uk (actually)/ London is so busy and expensive to live. Remaind me Warsaw my home town. Regard from England when the rain is too often.

I saw a double-decker bus during my trip to Glasgow. Sitting on a seat on the second floor of the bus may be great, because you can get a better view of the landscape below. I sometimes take a train with such double-decker cars and have a seat on the second floor of such car. The view is great, actually.

Hello everyone,
according to this part of the video I'd like to talk about ways of transport in my country, Poland. We have well-developed public transport here, from buses and trams to even an underground (only in Warsaw). I usually go to work by car because I don't really have other options in my town. There are some suburban buses too but they can't get me to every destination I want. There are also trains in my country, but these are not as good as abroad. Railways need many improvements and changes, for sure, but they're still developing much.

,There are some suburban buses' I m affraid is not good word to use. Never heard suburban buses.

Yulia, I´m from México and I was in Spain too, ten years ago, I love traveling, is one of the best activity, Costa Rica and Guatemala are contries very friendly and wonderfull, I would like you to meet them some day.
best regards

Hello! I am happy to write to you again! I am from Russia. Unfortunately, I have never been to London. I hope that some day I wiil come to London! I was in Spain. It was Sevilla. There I traveled a red double - decer on the top deek right at the front. I like this transport. I live in town. My work is near my house. I usually walk to my work. A walk in the fresh air is wonderful, if there is no frost becouse I live in Siberia!

Hello guys.
In my country, the most common transport is motorbike. But, I don't have motorbike! I usuallly walk to university and I will get the bus if it's rain. The tourists come to my country do not always use the bus to travel around the city, but they can use the bus if they want. In addition, they usually hire the motorbike to go around. After hearing this poscard, I really want to ride on the red double-decker buses in London once. Hope these days in the future!

hello every one
we have some transportation in our city like cars, buses and taxi
we can't ride a bike for transport because the nature of the city, it has so many mountain and also we can't walk for along time.
i prefer the cars to transport for the work
when I was in the university I was taking the bus, my university was in another city it took about 45 min to get there

Hello everyone
The first thing that I need to say is that this practice is very very amazing, because there are a lot of things to which we can practice and share with everybody..Thanks for all team who work here.. English is so difficult for me, but I hope to learn very well. My Favorite transport is car, but i would like to use train some day, I have never used this before.. In my country there are not train and I have never used train in other country. I would like to get on a train!