Friday, December 4, 2009

London Underground Oyster card - why would you pay for a £4 single trip card?

An acquaintance of mine flew over to London from Shanghai for work purposes for a couple days made a remark about how expensive London's public transport is. I found out that he has been paying £4 for each tube ride. Granted, London's Underground is relatively more expensive than any comparable subway system in the world but paying £4 for a tube ride within zone 1 (even for a single stop) is ridiculous.

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The great Oyster card paradox

That made me wonder why one trip tickets are still being sold.

Technically, you can go up to the ticket booths and get a stored value Oyster card, which requires a refundable deposit of just £3 and load it up with £1.60 (total cost = £4.60). That will allow you to take one trip within Zone 1 and then refund the Oyster card (and get back your £3) at the destination stop. Total cost of the trip? Just £1.60.

Tough luck if you happen to have only £4 with you - you end up paying that for your Tube ride. If you happen to have just 60p more, the same trip will probably cost you just £1.60. That doesn't sound right, does it? Or am I missing something?

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5 comments:

Aidyl said...

Yeh...that sounds really illogical....O__o
but I guess lots of tourists dont use/know about oyster and rather pay for single trip tickets...

C K said...

@Aidyl,
Great to know that I'm not the only one thinking so here. When I first arrive, the staff at the ticket counter was kind enough to let me know about the pay as you go oyster.

Just curious, how did you first find out about it?

yanjie said...

Actually if they are just going around in 1 day, a day trip ticket is pretty worth it. For £7 or something? Can't remember the exact price. Should cover most destinations in zone 1 and 2.

What one of my friends who stayed in London for a few years did was to keep one spare oyster card for his visiting friends. How nice right?

ice bar london said...

I guess they price the tickets they don't want people buying very high, or maybe they are just trying to catch out the tourists ;)

C K said...

@yanjie,
Yep, it's cheaper than 7 quid if you're travelling only during off peak hours. That friend of mine flew in for work and didn't get to travel around much during his stay.

Well, I keep one spare one with me too... just in case I forgot to bring mine, which is often the case. lol.


@ice bar london
Probably, I just thought it's a bit weird.