At the border, entering the "country" of Transnistria. Photo taken December 8, 2016.
Where are Kevin and Ruth right now? Tiraspol, Transnistria...the country that doesn't exist.

Where are they going next? Northern Moldova. Arrive December 11th.

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

London Transit

Doing some research on the London, England transit system. We will be in London for eight days, and of course we want to travel the city as economically as possible.

Compared to Chicago or Mexico City, the London transit system is VERY expensive. Mexico City is one of the cheapest in the world, with Metro (subway) rides costing 3 pesos (about 25 cents), and buses are very cheap as well. We were supplied with transit passes to profile our visit to Chicago, but by world standards Chicago is about average with single fares at about $2.25, and a 7 day pass at $23.

But London is expensive and it doesn't look like we're going to be supplied with passes for this visit so we have to plan carefully.

The city is broken into nine zones, starting with zones one and two which make up the central core.

The London tube (subway) system.

We are fortunate to be able to be staying with Ruth's aunt who lives in zone two. This will keep our costs at the lower end of the scale, but even the low end is expensive. A single one way ticket costs £4.30 ($6.90) if you pay cash. But it looks like hardly anybody does this because there are two different types of passes that are better suited.

They have an "Oyster Card" which you have to pay £3 ($4.85) just to activate. Then you put a certain amount of credit on the card, and anytime you use it throughout the day it automatically debits the card at the price of the cheapest single fare, which in zones one and two would be £2 ($3.25). Then at the end of the day the maximum you would be charged is the price of an off peak day pass, which is £7 ($11.30).

Or, we could buy a 7 day pass which costs £29.20 ($47.00) each. This would be the most versatile, but I don't think we will be going out and using the system every single day. Or, we could buy the single day off peak pass. If we go with the Oyster card, we'd need to put on a certain amount and try and be accurate since once the money is on there you can't ask for a refund if you don't use it. 

Complicated stuff! Why can't they make it more simple?? We've got a little time to think about it, but we're leaning towards the 7 day pass. It gives us tube rides in zones one and two, plus overland buses in all zones and then we wouldn't have to think about it or worry about a couple more pounds one way or the other. But we want to decide soon because they can mail us the passes in advance if we get our order in in the next day or two.

Thoughts or comments welcome!




15 comments:

  1. Very complicated. I would go for the 7 day pass if only for the reason of not worrying about spending money on a daily basis, just get the pass and relax and enjoy.

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  2. How about the britrail pass, I had one many years ago, I don't know if it even still exists. But is was good for the entire UK, on all trains, tubes and buses everywhere.

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    1. The Britrail pass is very expensive and doesn't give you access to the tube and buses. I guess it must have change sometime over the years since you used it.

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  3. Yes very complicated, but I am sure you will make the best decision.

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  4. I used the "tube" all the time in London. It is a simple system that worked mostly pretty well. Buses were another matter. Have fun!

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    1. Yep, we have used the tube many times and is a pretty simple system once you know the system. It's too bad that they make the ticketing system so complicated and expensive.

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  5. 7 day pass is the way to go. I stayed in Fleet a few years ago and the trip back and forth to London was at least about 12 pounds. And I think it took 40 minutes.

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    1. There are many different zones in the London area and Fleet would be in the last zone so getting to London from there would still be relatively expensive and time consuming.

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  6. If you think London is expensive...try California. GEESH!

    How in the world did you get that header photo? Awesome.

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    1. I still think London is quite a bit more expensive than California. It's funny how we think. We think Mexico is cheap compared to Canada but to go from Canada to England, I think Canada is going to sound cheap.

      We were out for our evening walk and this fox was a fair bit ahead of us and trotting across a gravel pit road when she just stopped and stared at us before continuing on her way. Kevin was able to zoom in on her when she was posing for us.

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  7. I'd do the 7 day..you guys lead such an exciting life..just wait till you get to Aussi land !!

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  8. WE have been to London several times. We generally use the off peak ticket that is 7pounds. Unlimited usage, for a day, but you have to use it after 9:30am. That fit our touring schedule just fine. Up at 7, have a leisurely breakfast and be at the tube station by 9:30 ready to see the sites. When you are in London be sure and take some walking tours. They are GREAT. See them at http://www.walks.com/

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  9. Zones 1 and 2 will cover virtually all the sites you will want to see. I would not purchase in advance. We just walked up to the ticket machine at 9:30, put our money in, took the ticket and we were off! Have fun, London is a GREAT city.

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    1. Yes, Zones 1 and 2 are pretty much all we will need. I know at least one day we will be outside of that and we have decided to get our Oyster Card once we arrive but we still haven't decided whether it will be one day at a time or the 7 day one.

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  10. Our experience was to use the Prepaid Oyster Card. It required a refundable deposit, plus charging it for fares. As you noted the Oyster card gives you the cheapest rates for your daily travel. At the end of your trip, simply return the card for a refund of the deposit and any unused prepaid fares. This was in the Spring of 2009. I would be disappointed if this deal is no longer available. A good place to research travel is Rick Steve's Website, which has a travelers helpline. A great resource and probably the best place to find the answer to this question and others you might have.

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