As if returning to work wasn’t depressing enough, thousands of overfed, under-holidayed wretches today found out that they’ll have to pay more than ever to travel to and from
the depths of hell the office. Yes, Tube fares went up by an average of 1 per cent last weekend, which means you might have to cut down on a pint or two per month in order to keep some pennies in your bank account.
Even before the price hikes, London’s Tube network was widely considered to be one of the dearer underground transport services in the world. We’ve gathered some figures to see how it compares to prices for the world's other best-known subterranean rail lines, New York City’s Subway and Paris’ Métro. It doesn't make for pleasant reading.
London Underground (250 miles/402km)
With an Oyster card, single on-peak journeys in London’s Zone 1 cost £2.40. For Zones 1-2, that’s £2.90, for Zones 1-3, that’s £3.30, and for Zones 1-4, it’s £3.90. Off-peak, the figures are £2.40 (again), £2.40 (again again), £2.80 and £2.80 (yes, again).
If you know you’re going to be using the Tube several times a day, several times a week, a travelcards can save you plenty in the long run. That minute at the ticket machine will be a costly one though. A monthly for Zones 1-4 now costs £178, with a weekly available for £46.50. For Zones 1-3 that’s £146 and £38, and for Zones 1-2 it’s £124.50 and £32.40.
New York City Subway (233.5 miles/375.8km)
New York City’s Subway system, while really ugly and full of people with American accents, runs 24 hours a day (ahem, Night Tube) and costs a hell of a lot less to use. The standard single fare is $2.75 (£1.87), while a 30-day travelcard is $116.50 (£79.19) and a weekly costs $31.00 (£21.07).
Paris (133 miles/214km)
In comparison with the city of lurrrrve, meanwhile, our situation looks even worse. Get yourself across the channel and you’ll be made to pay just €1.80 (£1.32) for a single journey or €14.10 (£10.37) for a ‘Carnet’ of 10 tickets. For a day pass for Zones 1-2 it’s €7 (£5.15) and for Zones 1-3 it’s €9.30 (£6.84).
A weekly pass for Zones 1-5, meanwhile, costs an envy-inducing €21.25 (15.63) and a monthly for the same areas is up for grabs for only €70 (£51.50).
Things to Consider: The Good
Before you get are enraged and whatnot, it's worth considering that the 1 per cent hike is in line with the July Retail Price Index (RPI), and a number of fares, including single bus fares, have been unaffected. Children under the age of 11 no longer need to pay to use National Rail services in the capital.
"It's the third year in a row that we've been able to offer this great deal, allowing us to keep the cost of travel down while continuing our vital programme to modernise the network," swaid Boris Johnson back in November. "Hundreds of thousands of families will also benefit now that we've struck a deal to extend free travel for under 11s across all rail services in London."
The London Underground network is also far larger than the Métro, which makes the French system cheaper to maintain and operate.
Things to Consider: The Bad
While it's not quite as sprawling, New York City's Subway trains carried a staggering 1.751 billion passengers last year. The Tube, on the other hand, was used by 1.305 billion people. Paris' Métro is also well-known for its décor, with stations made to look both beautiful and unique. Despite campaigns, Eduardo Paolozzi’s famous mosaics at Tottenham Court Road Tube station were dismantled early last year.
We hope that's cheered you all up.