My Biggest Purchase, Part 2


Hello all!  Sorry I have been so remiss in posting, but things are just incredibly busy at work and will only get moreso through the end of June.  The good news is that in that time I have some exciting trips – to Taipei (with a couple of days aftewards in Hong Kong) and to Vancouver (with a couple of days afterwards in Seattle and Portland).  But I also expect to be working one day every weekend though that time too.

But I decided to post something quick here because today was an exciting moment – I bought my new “annual travelcard” for transport!  I blogged about it last year, so I thought it would be fitting to review it again this year.

London's transport smart card

For the same exact thing, the price has gone up £80 to £1,288.  Not impressive enough?  Try $2,070.   Still the largest non-automobile purchase I’ve ever made, I think.

The 6.6% increase is more than inflation – which I think was about 4-5% here, although it is hard to decide which measure to use and when – and only £0.22 per day more.  The total price, though, comes to £3.53 (or $5.67) per day.  Yesterday, though, after my old one expired and before I got my new one, I had to use “pay as you go” to travel to and from work, and it cost me £7.30 total, so I guess it is a good deal.  If you start to try and add up the days I’m traveling and try to figure it all out, the “maths” get complicated, but I do think it is still a good deal. I should point out that for my mega-pounds I also get a “gold card” which gives me a 34% discount on off-peak travel throughout most of the south and east of England (everything from here to the coast including Dover, Brighton, and Portsmouth, plus just-beyond-London destinations like Oxford and Cambridge), but also for trips to Outer London (including the airports).

Apparently this is going to be available, but I didn't see it today - I just kept my old one in the yellow Ikea plastic wallet.

I want to take this opportunity to talk about one other thing regarding the transport fares here – the fact that the only people paying “full” fares are adults between 18 and 60 who can’t find a way to qualify as students.  Under 18s are mostly free (10-18 have to pay half-price on trains but are free on buses), and over 60s are totally free (at least for residents).  Adult students get 30% off.  The situation is particularly noticeable elsewhere in the country, where bus fares are very high, but anytime you pay them you notice that virtually everyone else on the bus is free.  While I don’t want to be subsidizing seniors (especially the rich ones), I don’t particularly want them driving on the roads either.  Interesting policy issue, with pros and cons in both directions of course.

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Posted on 31/03/2011, in Logistics, Transit, Within London and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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