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Cut the tube out? London Underground revealed as the most expensive metro in the world

There are also cost savings to be made to add to the physical and mental health benefits.

People travelling on the Elizabeth Line in London. Image: Tim Sandle
People travelling on the Elizabeth Line in London. Image: Tim Sandle

Londoners can save over £1,500 by cycling the city’s most popular commuter routes, according to a new survey. There is also a sizable proportion of the working population who dislike the conventional means of commuting.

The survey, provided to Digital Journal, shows that 34 percent of Londoners now avoid jobs where majority office working is a requirement because they actively dislike commuting into the city. This information comes from the e-bike engineering company Swytch Technology, who have an interest in promoting an alternative to conventional transportation modes.

The London Underground (or ‘tube’ as it is affectionately known by many Londoners) has the most expensive fares of any metropolitan railway system in the world. This is according to Transport for London (TfL)’s own research. TfL’s international benchmarking report used data from the Community of Metros (Comet) study carried out by Imperial College London.

The study, which benchmarked TfL against 39 other global cities found the price paid by passengers per kilometre travelled was highest in the capital. This was documented prior the London Mayor Sadiq Khan agreed to increase tube and bus fares by an average of 5.9 per cent last month.

In addition to the underground network, the most recent report from the Office for National Statistics (ONS) reveals that rail prices rose by 5.3 percent in the year to February 2023.

The Swytch Technology assessment is that for those that make the transition to active commuting, the physical and mental health benefits are enormous. Citing Statistics Canada, Swytch Technology state that 66 percent of people who cycle or walk to work are ‘very satisfied’ with their commutes, compared to 32 percent who commute by car and the 25 percent who commute by public transit.

There are also cost savings to be made to add to the physical and mental health benefits. Three examples from Swytch Technology are:

Brixton to King’s Cross

For young professionals travelling from the hustle and bustle of Brixton to one of London’s major rail hubs, this route takes them over the Thames and though the scenic Southbank area. Costing only £0.24 per journey, taking this 33 minute route by e-bike will make a saving of £3.16.

Shoreditch to Oxford Circus

This route takes a person from the trendy Shoreditch area past national landmarks like the British Museum. The entire journey takes a brief 16 minutes and will cost as little as 14 pence via e-bike.

Clapham to Victoria

Standing out as the cheapest journey on the list, the 17 minute journey from Clapham to Victoria takes just 17 minutes and costs as little as 11 pence.

Oliver Montague, CEO of Swytch Technology, comments on the benefits of having an active commute in London: “The impact commuting is having on our mental health is worrying. Over the past year we’ve had stressors on our journeys such as rail strikes, and most recently – a hike in TfL prices amidst a historic cost-of-living crisis, which have fuelled our apprehension towards public transport.”

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Written By

Dr. Tim Sandle is Digital Journal's Editor-at-Large for science news. Tim specializes in science, technology, environmental, and health journalism. He is additionally a practising microbiologist; and an author. He is also interested in history, politics and current affairs.

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