diamond geezer

 Monday, September 12, 2016

Using pay as you go, one London bus journey costs you £1.50


Up until yesterday, two London bus journeys cost you £3


But from today, so long as the second journey starts within an hour of the first, the fare is £1.50


This is the Hopper, Sadiq Khan's implementation of Caroline Pidgeon's proposal for a one hour bus ticket.

Touch in your Oyster or contactless payment card on one bus and the second bus comes free.

But be careful not to leave it too long.

Leave it 61 minutes, or more, and two £1.50s are once again £3

bus bus

As yet there's no money off for a third bus, even within the one hour limit.

Three buses in one hour will cost you £3, with only the second being free.


But play your cards right and you could ride four buses over two hours for £3, paying only for the first and third.


And it's not just buses... the rules also apply to trams.

It's always been £1.50 for this.


Now each of the following journeys, if kept within the hour, will also cost £1.50.




In fact it's long been £1.50 for these combinations, so long as the buses in question are from a short select list.

One transfer between tram and bus routes 64, 130, 314, 353, 359, 433 or 464 is allowed for free, and you're allowed 70 minutes rather than 60, under long-standing rules designed to ease travel to and from New Addington.



The same is true of any two consecutive tram rides made within the 70 minute window - just £1.50 for the two.


And it's this bus/tram quirk we have to thank for the prompt implementation of the Hopper fare.

Every Oyster card is pre-programmed to accept tram transfers, and has been for years, so the code already existed to devise a similar offer between two buses.

Hence the Hopper launches today, a nigh instant policy success for Sadiq after only four months at City Hall.

It's good news for Londoners who make a lot of bus journeys, who tend to be the less well-off.

But the current offer's not quite what Sadiq really wants, which is this.


His ultimate plan for the Hopper is a single fare which allows unlimited bus and tram travel within one hour.

Including this.


And even this (not that anybody would).


Contactless technology could easily cope with this sequence of events, because all the sums are calculated at TfL HQ and they deduct one single payment at the end of the day.

But Oyster isn't set up right, and won't be until newly-chipped replacement cards are released in 2018, so we'll all have to wait.

2018 is also when the system will change to sort out anomalies like this.


Make two bus journeys today with a tube journey inbetween, all within an hour, and everything still costs full price.

But re-programming in 2018 will allow non-consecutive bus journeys to be free, which means you'll save money on all of the following.









And even presumably this, if you can do it quickly enough.


What a brave new world of retrospective fare calculation that'll be.

In the meantime, rejoice that today's Hopper allows two bus rides for the price of one, because that's pretty damned good in itself.


And we can leave the problem of how TfL is going to recoup 30 million lost bus fares a year until some other time, eh?

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