For people living and working in London, travel is one of the biggest – and most costly – pains in the arse. I actually think that Transport for London do a pretty good job at keeping trains running, and it’s fantastic that by this time next year the tube will be going all night in a lot of places. (Granted, by then I’ll be too old and decrepit to really enjoy the benefits of a 4am tube service, but still.) I also love that we can now use contactless cards instead of Oysters, and that most stations now have Wifi, and that if you do lose your Oyster card, they’re super-swift at replacing them. I’ve lost about eight, and I’ve had a new one within 24 hours every time. Bravo, Oyster replacement team.
But it’s all just so bloody expensive.
A 7-day Metrocard in New York, one of the most expensive cities on earth, costs just $30, or about £19. For that, you can take unlimited subway and bus rides on the entire network, which is considerably larger and more sprawling than our own. Paris’ Navigo weekly Metro pass costs around £16, which covers pretty much the whole city (except the airports out in the sticks). In London, a 7-day Travelcard costs £31.40 for just Zones 1-2, rising up to £49.40 if you need to travel further afield.
However! I have found a way to make the cost of London traveling a little less soul-destroying. Annual Travelcards are the best value, but not many people have thousands – literally thousands! – lying around to spend on a whole year’s worth of advance travel. There’s a company called Commuter Club, though, that’s sprung up to help people take advantage of the bulk savings without dropping a fortune in one go. They pay the yearly fee for you and you pay them back every month. They put a small fee on top, but it still works out significantly cheaper than buying monthly Travelcards from TfL. If you buy Zone 1-4 Travelcards, for example, you’ll spend £2076 over the year, but with Commuter Club you’ll pay a total of £1901. (That’s the annual Travelcard from TfL, plus a 5.6% fee from Commuter Club.)*
The best thing about Commuter Club is the cancellation policy – you can cancel at any time without penalty or lock-ins, which is great if you move away or switch jobs. AND as it’s technically a loan, you’ll start to build up a positive credit rating. AND you’ll get all the bonuses that come with being an annual ticket holder, including a Network Rail card for £1 (instead of £30) and other discounts (the full list is here).
Finally, you can save a few extra pennies using the discount code ‘CURIOUS’ when you sign up. Does it sound like something you’d use? You stand to save at least £125, so it’s worth looking into. To find out more, visit Commuter Club.
*In legal-speak: Representative Example: Zone 1-4 Annual (amount borrowed): £1,800. Interest: £101 Total payable: £1901 in 11 monthly instalments of £173. Representative 14.1% APR. Interest rate: 5.6% pa (fixed).
Author: Emily Gibson
Emily is an urban adventurer, blogger and
glutton foodie on an epic quest to uncover the best things to eat, drink and do in London. She lives in East London and loves ceviche, cycling and magic shows. Lifelong nemeses include beetroot, beards and wine served in tumblers.