Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Traveling Around London Just Got More Expensive

Yes, that's right.  I know you thought it couldn't happen, but it did.  Traveling around London just got more expensive - on average, it's going to cost you 6% more.

London is renowned for its myriad of convenient public transportation options, so those of us who depend on the trains, trams, Tubes, and buses to get around grimace but ultimately pay up.  Fares have consistently increased year on year and so far we've all bit the bullet, but I have a feeling that there will be consequences if the hikes continue at this pace.

- an adult single ticket, valid for zones 1-2, used to cost £4.00 but now costs £4.30, an increase of 7.5%
- an adult one-day travelcard, valid for zones 1-2, used to cost £6.60 but now costs £7.00, an increase of 6.1%
- an adult pay-as-you-go Oystercard, valid for zones 1-2, used to cost £2.50 per ride but now costs £2.70 per ride, an increase of 8%

These may seem like relatively small jumps, but they really do make a difference when added up over the course of even a few days.  This is bad news for locals and visitors alike, and I can only imagine that it'll be bad for London in the long run as professionals get priced out of working in the city and tourists decide to take their holiday money to another town.

made by me!

So what can you do if you have to get around London?  Here are my three top tips on traveling smart:

Get an Oystercard.  It costs a few pounds to buy one, but the savings are enormous.  Plus, it never expires and you can top it up with money as needed, making it perfect for tourists who visit often.  Make the investment.

Work out if a weekly or monthly pass will save you money.  Let's assume that you live and work within zones 1-2; if you travel by Tube just twice a day you will spend £37.80 with a pay-as-you-go Oystercard.  A weekly travelcard (on your Oystercard) for zones 1-2 will cost you £29.20.  Do the math.

Take buses where possible.  If you're on a pay-as-you-go Oystercard, you'll be charged £1.35 each time you tap onto a bus, regardless of the zones you're coming from or going to, which will make your trip at least £1.35 cheaper than it would have been if you had chosen the Tube.  It might make your journey slightly longer, but you'll get to see more of London overground than underground.  Spend the time.

Londoners and frequent visitors, what would you suggest to save money when taking public transportation around town?


  1. As an equally unimpressed Londoner, eyeing an ever-increasing commuting bill, I think my best advice would be to walk where possible. You see even more of the city than you do from a bus (certainly a lot more than on the Tube!) and you'd be surprised how quickly you can get round the city on foot. A pedestrian can take cheeky shortcuts a bus never could. And it's free!

  2. I was in London for work during the first two weeks of December and got an Oyster card - what a convenience!!! I live in NYC which I always think is wildly expensive (because it is) but I was FLOORED at how expensive London is!

  3. When possible walk. You would be suprised how close some stations are together. I used to catch the overland to Waterloo and then walk less than 30 minutes to work near Oxford Circus. I got some exercise, saved money and only spent about 10 minutes extra "travelling" than if I took the tube.

  4. No suggestions because I haven't lived there for twenty years, but I can't believe how expensive it is to ride the tube even for a few stops. For those of us staying with relatives a bit further out, it is bloody extortionate to take the family in for the day.
    When I was living and working in London, back in the dark ages, you bought a season travel card but it was unlimited usage. Ah, memories...

  5. Walk! And Boris Bike. Boris Bikes are easy to ride, and with more and more cyclists on the road you are safer than ever. Only time I wouldn't choose it over a bus or train would be during a torrential downpour. ;)

  6. YES walking is key! Though to be honest I'd probably even hop the tube to go from Charing Cross to Embankment just because it has been so freaking wet and cold and windy this week :)

  7. Its been a while since my London time, but I opted for the bus whenever possible. My inner tourist loved being able to see everything outside, unlike on the tube, and my frugality loved the cheaper price.


I love reading your thoughts and suggestions! Please do leave a comment so we can get to know each other better.