Prepare yourself to spend a lot of money on London travel costs when you’re living in London – the city is among the most expensive public transport in the world, but it’s second to none. You won’t know how you ever waited more than three minutes for a train at home after you have been here a while!
London Travel Costs – Oyster Cards
Whether you’re going to be using the tube, buses, trains or all three, by far the cheapest way to travel in London is with an Oyster card. This great invention is basically a card to which you can add travel ‘credit’ to be used for trips as and when you take them, or for adding daily, weekly, monthly or yearly travel cards. Either way, an Oyster card will save you a lot of money as their fares are much cheaper than paying for paper tickets each time you need to travel, and they are much more convenient too – all you need to do is swipe in and swipe out for each journey you take.
If you travel only 2-3 times a week on public transport then ‘pay as you go’ credit is probably more cost effective for you, but if you’re doing the daily commute and also travelling at weekends to see the sights then you should definitely go for the longest period of travel card that you can afford. A yearly will probably save you a couple of hundred pounds (depending on the number of zones you need) but if you cant come up with this amount of money up front then ask your employer if they can pay in advance and deduct this from your salary for the next year. A lot of companies have this scheme so it’s worth finding out if its available to you.
London Travel Costs – London Transport Costs
Oyster prices also differ at different times of the day, so you will pay more during peak times between 6:30am and 9:30am or between 4pm-7pm on weekdays.
The oyster pricing system is quite complex, but to give you an overall idea of prices, here is an overview of London travel costs:
- Single Journey Zone 1-2 – £2.50 (compared to £4 non-Oyster)
- Daily Zone 1-2 Travelcard/Oyster Cap – £8.00
- Weekly Zone 1-2 Travelcard – £27.60
- Monthly Zone 1-2 Travelcard – £106.00
- Monthly Zone 1-2 Travelcard – £1104.00
If you plan on travelling primarily on buses, you can also purchase weekly, monthly or yearly bus passes for £18, £68 and £712 respectively which may end up cheaper than your Oyster pay as you go fares.
Be sure to weigh all your London transportation options up when you are looking at purchasing a long term ticket – I’ve found it helpful to trial different tickets for a week to see which ends up cheaper – you can save yourself a lot of money this way.
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