Simon-Kucher: Public transport of London expensive

18 December 2014

The public transport system in London is one of the most expensive in the world, concludes a new comparative research from Simon-Kucher & Partners across major international capitals. On average, a typical UK household consisting of 4 people spends roughly 8.2% of its income on public transport, trailing only their peers in Sao Paolo. Londoners also have to pay the most for monthly tickets.

Over the past months management consultancy firm Simon-Kucher & Partners assessed the public transport networks of 15 international cities*, including London. Three factors were considered in the research: the kinds of public transport on offer (trams, busses, metro, light rail), the cost of the service and the experience of its customers.

Costs of transportation
London is the most expensive city in terms of average monthly ticket prices, beating Amsterdam, with the average cost at €96 versus Amsterdam’s €89. This is still considerably above the average cost of €61, and €75 more than the cheapest average-priced monthly ticket offered in Dubai.

Average monthly ticket prices

In terms of loose tickets, Amsterdam is the most expensive with a price of €2,80 per ticket, significantly more than the average for cities such as Madrid, Milan and Paris, where the price ranges between €1,50 and €1,70. Yet for short distances the Dutch capital turns out relatively cheap, as the price of its public transport system is partly based on the distance covered, while other cities typically maintain a standard minimum fee even for brief trips. According to Jonathan van Spijker Baan, Senior Consultant at Simon-Kucher & Partners, the Amsterdam approach could prove a valuable benchmark for other cities. “In many cities there is relatively little price differentiation on short distances. Doing so could boost the consumer surplus” 

% of income
The consultants also looked at the cost of transport relative to income levels within cities, again Londoners fared poorly in terms of costs. Taking as a benchmark a family of four, the monthly average cost spent on public transport were calculated. In London this equated to a household cost of €307, behind New York’s €347. However, relative to income Londoners fared worse than New Yorkers, forking out 8.2% of their total household income on transport costs, and well above the average 4.7%. In terms of relative to income, Zurich is the cheapest, spending 1.8% of their income on transport costs. Sao Paulo is the most expensive with 10% of income going to getting from A to B.

Total monthly expense and income

* Amsterdam, Berlin, Dubai, London, Madrid, Milan, New York, Paris, Santiago de Chile, Sao Paulo, Singapore, Sydney, Tokio, Warsaw and Zurich.


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