diamond geezer

 Monday, December 02, 2013

Fares on transport in London are due to rise on 2nd January 2014. That's one month from today and yet, unusually, nobody's yet announced how large that rise will be.

Quick check: Over the last 10 years, when was the fare rise announcement made?
21 Sep 2004, 4 Oct 2005, 12 Sep 2006, 30 Sep 2007, 4 Sep 2008, 15 Oct 2009, 20 Oct 2010, 14 Sep 2011, 7 Nov 2012

That's five Septembers, three Octobers and an early November. Admittedly two years ago Boris announced rejigged figures on 2nd December after obtaining an extra government grant, so maybe something similar is holding things back, but the 2014 announcement is getting rather late. As a benchmark, I thought I'd throw together a table to show how 2013's fares stack up. I've picked a four-mile journey from London Bridge to Greenwich, because that's possible via several different transport modes, and tried to calculate how much each costs.

Cost of travelling from London Bridge to Greenwich
Mode of
Oyster fare
peak   off-peak
Tube & DLR£4.50£2.80£2.10£0.00
* Travelcard including zones 1 and 2

The table's arranged in increasing order of cost, with travelling by bus not surprisingly the cheapest. But there isn't a direct bus from London Bridge to Greenwich, so I've assumed you don't mind a short walk at each end, because otherwise all the fares on this row double and suddenly going by bus isn't good value at all. The next cheapest option is to travel by rail - much quicker than the bus and not much more expensive. Taking the tube and DLR via Canary Wharf costs a little more than the train with Oyster, but 50% extra for cash. It's not distance that adds the extra, it's that rail sometimes (but not always) costs less (or sometimes more) than the tube, which just goes to show how inconsistent, complex and counter-intuitive fares in London are. The real shocker is travelling by river, which costs an astonishing £6.50, with only 10% deducted for using Oyster. Only Travelcard users get a decent discount, that's one third off the usual fare, although their card would have allowed them to travel for free by bus or train. And bringing up the rear are taxis, by far the most expensive mode of all, but then you knew that.

I wonder how different these fares will look in 2014. Perhaps Boris will tell us soon.

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