Thursday, 10 April 2008

on transport prices in London

Last week I mentioned briefly about the cost of public transport in London and its increase year on year. Today I have undertaken a more detailed assessment of tube travel in comparison with other major cities around the world. In July 2007 the BBC reported that the cost of a single journey in London was £1.50, Paris was £1.20, New York £1, Sydney £1, Tokyo 65p, Hong Kong 75p, Moscow 10p and Beijing 19p.
The BBC didn’t report on how they reached these figures and owing in part to the fact that the Pound has reached a record low against the Euro today and that it has been almost a year since then, I decided to work out the prices myself. In London the cost of a single zone 1 journey costs £1.50 and for zones 1 and 2 £2, this is the price if you use the Oyster card and not if you buy a paper ticket, if you buy a paper ticket the cost of a single journey on the London Underground is £4 at any time and for any zones. Now the Oyster card is not unique, every city in this comparison has some form of ‘smartcard’ system that results in cheaper fares. To highlight the cost of transport in London and to allay criticisms that the majority of Londoners use the Oyster card, I will compare the cost of a single journey using the Oyster card to a single journey using a paper ticket in the other cities. Furthermore where zone systems do not exist I will compare a similar ticket or the most expensive ticket. All this considered the results make for interesting reading.
Paris a single journey on the Paris Metro will cost you 1.50 Euros, or £1.23. The Paris underground is not without its faults and is in need of some vital investment however its coverage is impressive, this single journey covers both zones 1 and 2.
New York a single journey on the subway costs 2 USD, or £1.04p. Furthermore there are no zones in New York and a single ticket can take you from JKF Airport to Manhattan. In London, Heathrow, the only major international airport within the zone system is in zone 6.
Sydney two systems are in operation, a light transit and a monorail within the centre of the city. A single journey on the monorail for an adult and child is 4.80 AUD or £2.34p, to travel one zone on the light rail is 3.20 AUD or £1.56p and two zones is 4.20 AUD or £2.05p
Japan is renowned for its excellent transport system and bullet trains. A single ticket in
Tokyo is based on the distance you will travel. The cheapest ticket for 1-6km will cost you 160 Yen or 85p, the most expensive single ticket for travel up to 28-40km will set you back 300 Yen or £1.59p. Tokyo’s underground system transports the most passengers of any underground system in the world.
Hong Kong also has an impressive transport system. The most expensive single ticket there is for 23.50 HKD (no zones exist) or £1.61p, to go to the most distant station.
Moscow has the world’s second busiest underground network with an amazing array of classical stations. With no zone system in operation single tickets are charged per ride, one ride costs 19 roubles and two rides cost 38 roubles, 44p and 89p respectively.
Beijing, the focus of attention for this summers Olympic Games. A single journey here will cost you a minimum of 3 Yuan for a single journey on any line or 23p.

The price of London’s cheapest underground fare – £1.50 for a single adult fare using the Oyster card, is either equal to or more than an adult standard single ticket bought without using an equivalent Oyster ‘smartcard’ in some of the world’s major cities. When these prices are compared to the standard adult underground fare bought without an Oyster card in London of £4.00 then London has a price which is two and a half times more expensive than most cities.

Summary (fare for a single journey):
London £1.50 using the Oyster card
Paris £1.23 includes zones 1 and 2. Paper ticket
New York £1.04 no zones, price is for a single journey between any two stations on the network. Paper ticket
Sydney £1.56 zone 1 only on the light rail transit. Paper ticket
Tokyo £1.59 for a single journey between zero up to 40km. Paper ticket
Hong Kong £1.61 for the most expensive ticket. Paper ticket
Moscow £0.89 for two rides. Paper ticket
Beijing £0.23 minimum price that needs to be paid for a single journey. Paper ticket.

Currency Conversions are done using Travelex online service, in the case of Moscow (Russia) Marks and Spencer’s is used.
A single journey equates to valid use of a ticket to make one journey, after which the ticket becomes invalid.
Prices stated are all for adult paper ‘walk-up’ fares not ‘smartcard’ or discount prices.

UPDATED OCTOBER 2009. Boris Johnson's fare rises for 2010.

· Oyster pay as you go bus fare from £1.00 to £1.20;
· A seven day bus pass from £13.80 to £16.60;
· On the Tube, the Zone 1 Oyster pay as you go fare from £1.60 to £1.80;
· Most other Oyster pay as you go fares on Tube also increase by 20p, with larger increases in some longer distance peak fares;


jackw85 10 April 2008 at 16:40  

Wow, that's very impressive. I've never seen a more comprehensive and accessible comparison of London transport costs. I wonder how they justify those prices? It would be interesting to know how the average wage for the cities compares (or maybe the minimum wage, if there is one).

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