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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All aboard! Big growth in public transport use in past 5 years

tube commutersThe public transport network across the capital is seeing a rise in passengers at twice the rate of population growth.  In the past 5 years the number of journeys taken on the Transport for London system of Tube, train, tram and bus has gone up by 14% while the population has risen by half that rate to break the 8.6 million mark.

The number of people in inner London, who may be more reliant on public transport,  has grown slightly faster than the rate for the capital as a whole, but the data underlines that the greater use of the transport network is linked not just to population but to economic factors.

The greatest growth in passenger numbers is on the Tube with 20% increase in journeys between the financial year 2010/11 and the most recent 12 months. Bus journeys rose by 5% rise over the same period. But the bus is still the most popular form of transport. Latest data from TfL shows that in the last 12 months buses carried 2.4 billion people while 1.3 billion Tube journeys were recorded.

TFL growth all

The Docklands Light Railway (DLR), London Overground trains and the trams service make up just 5% of the journeys over the 5 years. But the growth in the DLR over that period has been strong as an improving economy has brought more jobs and homes along its routes.

TFL growth DLR

The biggest growth is in London Overground, the orbital train network around the capital. Passenger journeys have increased by 81% over 5 years but this is not a like for like comparison as the network has expanded during the period. The link between Clapham Junction and Surrey Quays was opened at the end of 2012 and the network recently added more lines including Liverpool Street to Enfield, Cheshunt and Chingford.

The only mode of transport that has seen a decline is the tram. Passenger journeys are down in recent months, but this may be related to station development work at Wimbledon which means the service is currently not running to this main connection point with the train and Tube network.

Source data

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