The O2 has been open for a little over 10 years but has seen thousands upon thousands of different events being held there, from comedians to performances on ice, The O2 has seen it all. However, with a capacity of 20,000 as well as numerous restaurants around The O2, it can become quite difficult when leaving The O2 as well as making sure that you don’t miss the last Tube of the night or the last bus of the night. Either way, after seeing an event at The O2 the last thing on your mind should be panicking as to how to get home.
After The Event
Whether you’re visiting The O2 to see your favourite comedian or your favourite singer, most events will finish between 10pm and 11pm. For example, when I saw Jack Whitehall at The O2 I was told that the event would finish no later than 10pm to which was accurate as the show finished at 9:50pm. Even though I was told that the show would finish no later than 10pm, I would still need to plan my route home as well as allowing time to exit The O2 as well as allowing time to get into the station and then waiting for the Tube.
There are a few options when you’re seeing an event at The O2. The first being that you can leave around 5-10 minutes before the event formally ends, in which the performers or artists thank everybody for coming and formally end the show. These people will beat the crowds and make a dash for the Tube, the taxi stand or the buses departing from North Greenwich. It should be noted that The Emirates Air Line does not operate past 9pm meaning it’s not a suitable form of transport for those leaving The O2 after an event. The next group of people will be the majority of people leaving The O2 just after the event has finished which leads to a sea of people flooding the exits of The O2. Unfortunately most will be stopped in their tracks by staff and security working there since they want to prevent overcrowding as a health and safety risk. The last group of people will be a small few who will go for something to eat and wait until the crowds have disappeared to make their way home through the various forms of transport that North Greenwich has to offer.
There are 8 different buses which depart from North Greenwich which takes passengers all across London, with various connections to The London Underground and other bus routes. The following buses depart from various stops outside of North Greenwich Station:
During the weekend, which is when most events are held at The O2, the final bus departing from North Greenwich for the 129 departs just after midnight which is very similar to other buses that don’t operate on a 24 hour basis. Even though these buses are very frequent, it’s advisable to wait until one or two buses pass since people will swarm onto it and try and fit as many people as they can onto it. Especially if you’ve had a drink, the last thing you’d want is having to stand squashed up onto a stranger that you recognise from the toilets at The O2.
North Greenwich is only part of the Jubilee Line but connects with stations such as Stratford, London Bridge, Waterloo and Westminster which means it’s perfect for those travelling across London from The O2. As mentioned before, the Tube is a popular option for those travelling home which leads to an influx of crowds travelling towards the station, which can lead to a queue to get into the station and then a queue while waiting for the actual Tube. Luckily, the barriers are open to prevent crowds pushing one another and therefore preventing more of a buildup up. However, this doesn’t mean that visitors should try and avoid paying their fare since at their final destination the barriers may be closed.
There are two directions as to which the Tube travels to: Eastbound and Westbound. Each of these routes have different stops and it would be advisable to check what direction you'd be travelling in to prevent going to the wrong platform and then having to go back upstairs and change. The Tubes are very frequent with ones arriving and departing every 2-5 minutes, which higher frequency during the peak of crowds departing from The O2. Another benefit of using The London Underground would be the times in which these services run: the last departure towards Stanmore leaves just past midnight as well as the last departure towards Stratford leaving just past 1am. However, if you’re travelling along other lines then it would be advisable to see what timetable it operates on as well as when the last Tube departs.
If you do find yourself using The London Underground and want to get a seat then the easiest option would be moving down the platform. By the time you walk to the end of the platform then you’ll find that a Tube will have arrived and most likely be empty with lots of seats. If you get onto the platform and run onto the first Tube you see, then chances are you’ll be regretting your decision within seconds of getting on. There’s always people either commuting to or from work as well as those travelling back from Central London so there’s no shortage of people if you’re worried about travelling back alone.
North Greenwich Station operates its own taxi ranks for London’s Black Taxis which are deemed to be the safest option for those wanting to travel home quickly and without fuss. However, these taxis are known to be rather expensive but after a night out, a licensed driver in a licensed taxi will ensure your safety throughout your journey until you get to your final destination. The taxi rank is next to North Greenwich Station and is accessible by walking through the station and taking a right to which you will see a sea of taxis lining up, waiting for visitors to The O2 to leave, to which there is no short supply.
If you prefer to book on the night the RoyalBorough Minicab operates an office next to the Indigo At The O2 which also operates a 24 hour service throughout London. It should be noted that RoyalBorough Minicab is the only Minicab service that operates at the O2 alongside Black Taxis - any other service claiming to be taxis could be fraudulent and put passengers and their safety in danger. If you’re getting into a taxi, regardless of whether it’s a Black Taxi or one provided by RoyalBorough Minicabs, you should always ask for ID and take a picture of the license plate to which you can send to a friend or a family member.
If you’re travelling to The O2 by means of private transport such as your own vehicle or a family/friend’s vehicle then there are a wide range of options for drivers. Firstly, if you want to pre-book in advance to avoid disappointment if the car park is full, this can be done up to 4 months in advance through the Internet. If you go through The O2’s Official Website then you will be taken to a page which outlines the different events and shows planned, to which you can select your event and pre-book parking from there. There are a wide array of different options in terms of vehicles such as Blue Badge, Coach, Valet Parking and MiniBus which all come with different price tags attached. The standard price for a parking space would be £18-20 which allows passengers to park there from 10am in Car Park 1 (which is designed specifically for those visiting The O2 for events).
However, for those wishing to visit The O2 for their wide array of entertainment, shopping and dining then there are designated spaces: Car Parks 2, 3 and 4, to which hourly tariffs apply. If you’re dropping off passengers or picking them up, then Car Park 1 allows a free service to do so - all you need to do is follow the signs.
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