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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


There are many types of transportations used to go to work or school in my country such as car, bus, taxi, motorcycle and bike. During these motorcycle is the most popular. Personally I go to work by motorcycle too. Buses are the next most used in my country, they are used widely by students because of cheap fare. I love red Double-decker buses in London. I never see them in real life but only on television. I wish someday I could visit London and traveled around city on a red double-decker bus.

Hi everyone!
In Italy (I live in Milan) I usually use the underground or the car.
But when I was in london, I enjoyed very much to get on the buses, especially the red double-decker buses. They're very originals and they allows to see aorund and to enjoy the panorama.
Next time I will get a routemaster: I never travelled on it.

In my country we have a various ways of travel to get to work, bus, subway or metro, taxi, bicycle, motorcycle and sometimes by foot if your work isn't far away from home. Personally I travel by motorcycle and for me is the best way you can move yourself through the city since there is lots of traffic and you can be stuck at least one hour and a half in your car or even in the metro. I have to go through the city from north to south and for me is better going by motorcycle, in addition, you can skip the traffic, you don't get stressed and don't spend much money in gasoline. XD

Hello Everyone ! This is a Good site in english ! I`ve watched all spisodes ,, but on my mobile phone I think the season number four is low ! it must be turned up

Hello Everyone!
Jamal from Sweden. My favorite transport is car but I always take a train to the school because it's easier to reach and more comfortable as eveyone know that.

Hi Everyone!
I'm from Vietnam. My favorite transport is motobike whichwas my gift birthday from my parents. i have been using it for 3 years when i went to school or office.

I like to go to work by a cycle and I usually ride it as my office is not far from my home. When l was a student I usually travelled by public bus to reach my College.

hi i like to go to my work walk on the feet because my work is near from me and my favourite transport is my car my city damascus we have single -decker buses and we use it to moved in the city

When I have a business trip I prefer travel on plane especially in long distances, we arrive quickly,
During peak hours in the morning I usually go to work by taxi because there is a lot of traffic and I try to not be late, I go back by bus it’s a little slow but more cheap than other means of transport.
Most of tourists use buses to move between long distance points when they can take photos and see attractive places easier than car and walk in the city center.
I have never traveled to the UK, but I have watched this form of transport on TV (routemaster) and I really like it especially the double-decker bus…. It’s really typically British.