How London compares for the cost of public transport

Taxi Bus Tube-2-1London is the third most expensive for public transport out of 71 cities globally, according to a survey by the financial services company UBS.

As part of its annual prices and earnings survey UBS looked at the cost of getting around a city. In order to get a like-for-like comparison the company took the cost of a single ticket on an underground system, bus or tram for a journey of 10 kilometres or 10 stops.

Urbs Media looked at the data paying particular attention to 20 cities with strong connections to London or those in countries that had significant migrant populations living and working in the UK.  (See the table below).

Copenhagen is the most expensive for public transport, followed by its Swedish neighbour, Stockholm, and then London.  New York and Paris are both cheaper, but people who have moved to the capital from Warsaw, Bucharest, or New Delhi will notice a big price difference.  Kiev has the cheapest public transport of any city surveyed.

The results do not take account of the lower prices for season tickets, which would reduce the cost in London and in other cities too.  Nor does it factor in the quality or reliability of the service.

City Public Transport ($US) Taxi fare ($US)
Berlin 2.89 14.78
Bucharest 0.46 3.31
Copenhagen 4.63 15.43
Dublin 3.31 11.35
Geneva 3.12 20.58
Hong Kong 1.28 3.65
Johannesburg 0.79 6.34
Kiev 0.16 1.59
London 4.04 10.09
Madrid 1.98 11.35
New Delhi 0.37 1.54
New York 2.75 11.67
Oslo 3.80 32.10
Paris 1.95 12.43
Rome 1.62 14.24
Stockholm 4.17 18.56
Sydney 2.58 11.52
Toronto 2.43 15.88
Vilnius 0.90 4.52
Warsaw 0.91 5.64

London comes out a little better for the cost of taking a taxi. Looking at the price of a 5 kilometre cab ride within the city, New Delhi offers the cheapest option. London is more expensive than Hong Kong, Bucharest and Warsaw, but cheaper than Sydney, New York, Paris, Rome, Madrid or Berlin.  But none compare to the astronomical cost of a cab ride in Oslo – three times the price of London.

UBS conducted the survey in March and April 2015.  It has carried out the price and earning survey annually since 1971.

Source data

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Londoners like Uber but think black cabs will stay if payment made easier

Black cabsThe drawing of battle lines between traditional taxi services like London’s black cabs and app-based services such as Uber is a current trend in most big cities.

It is perhaps an even more vexed issue in a place like London where the cab fleet is part of the cityscape and despite their grumbles Londoners tend to value the safe and knowledgeable service they offer. But like most big urban populations, Londoners also like Uber. According to the company the usage rate in London is multiplying by 5 or 6 times a year.

For many of the 22,000 licensed cab drivers this is seen as a battle to save their livelihood. But a survey by the polling organisation You Gov of attitudes to the traditional and the new in London’s car hire trade suggests that there may be room and appetite for both.

A sample of 1,000 Londoners was asked if services like Uber were good for them. 55% agreed and just 16% disagreed. Approval was much higher in those under the age of 40, and even in the over 60s more agreed than disagreed, though the margin was close.

Uber Survey Good

Men were keener on Uber than women, but more than half the women asked agreed that such services were good for Londoners.

But it’s not all bad news for the traditional service. Asked it they thought that black cabs would no longer be around in 20 years time 30 % agreed but 42% disagreed. So more people still want to see black cabs on the city’s streets, but would they continue to use them?

Uber survey black cabs

A clue to that is in the survey’s the third question. People were asked if paying for cabs should be made easier with contactless payments. A resounding 75% said yes and only 5% disagreed.

Uber survey payment

TfL has just completed a public consultation on whether accepting card payment and contactless should be made compulsory for black cabs. Currently about half of them take card payment. The results of the consultation are yet to be published.

The message from the survey, which was commissioned by PR company PLMR, appears to be that Londoners are prepared to use all types of cab hires, but above all they want them to be easy to use.

The lessons for London from other cities in the US where the Uber economy is much more progressed are not clearcut.  A study earlier this year that looked at small business expense accounts showed a steep rise in Uber use in place of traditional taxis by business travellers.

Uber’s own stats for San Francisco show that it may be disruptive not just for the cab trade but change the face of urban transport. In its most mature market it is more than three times bigger than the previous taxi market in terms of revenues. In other words, it has found a new market, most likley people who would otherwise have driven themselves.

The long-term trend in car ownership in London is down, particularly in inner boroughs, where car density is half that of outer areas, as reported by Urbs.  So Uber’s growth may be not just an issue for cab drivers in future but also for car sales people in the capital.

Source data

See also

Car ownership reveals a tale of 2 Londons

Availability of public transport below average in all outer boroughs

Strikes are a commuting disaster, but what delays your daily Tube journey?

Road deaths and serious injuries down but pedestrians remain most at risk

pedestrian childFewer people were killed or seriously injured on the capital’s roads in the past 12 months.

According to data from Transport for London 2,167 people were killed or seriously injured in 2014, a 7% drop on 2013 and the lowest number since the current form of record keeping began in 1986.

Overall casualties figure that include minor injuries were up by 13% year-on-year with 30,785 people hurt in nearly 26,000 accidents. 38% of those injured were travelling in a car.

Pedestrians remain the most at risk of being killed on the road in London. Of the 127 people fatally injured, 64 were on foot and 104 were what TfL refers to as the most vulnerable groups – pedestrians, motor cyclists and cyclists.

Fatalities and Casualties on London’s Roads
Killed Serious Injury
Pedestrian 64 715
Cyclist 13 419
Motorbike/Scooter 27 499
Car 19 297
Van/Lorry 2 19
Taxi/Private Hire 0 13
Bus/Coach 0 71
Other 2 7

TfL’s current target for 2020 is to reduce deaths and serious injury by 50% from the average rate seen between 2005-09. Rates are currently 40% lower, and for children the 50% target has been achieved.

However those under 15 remain the most vulnerable pedestrians. 5,613 people on foot suffered some form of injury in a road accident in 2014. More than 1,000 of them were children.

Injuries to cyclists were up, but so is the popularity of cycling. Deaths and serious injuries rose by 3% on the 2005-09 average and minor injuries were up by 73%. Since 2005 the number of journeys taken by bike has risen by 92%, says TfL.

Men suffered 78% of cycling injuries, but they make three quarters of all cycle journeys, according to TfL. There was an even starker gender imbalance for motorbikes and scooters. Men take 87% of the journeys and suffered 93% of the injuries.

In comparison, injury rates for pedestrians and people in cars were split 54/46 male and female.

Source data

See also

Availability of public transport below average in all outer boroughs