Saturday, June 22, 2024

London Tube ticket from the 80s drives home just how much fares have risen

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A Tube day travel card in the 1980s cost just a fraction of what it is today (Picture: Rasid Necati Aslim/Anatolu/Getty)

An old London travel card reveals how much the cost of Tube travel has increased over the years.

London would not be the same without the underground.

Whether you love it or hate it, the Tube has been a fundamental part of life in the capital since it opened more than 160 years ago.

Ticket price increases on the Transport of London network are also a regular occurrence – although fares were frozen again this year.

The Oyster card launched in 2003, while contactless payment was introduced in the Tube in 2014 (Picture: Dan Kitwood/Getty)

A Londoner discovered a 1988 London Underground travel card when going through their parents’ old books, sharing the rare find online on Reddit.

It shows how much prices have ballooned since.

Back then, an off-peak travel card across zones 1 to 3 for one day cost £2, MyLondon reports.

The nostalgic Tube travel card from 1988 (Picture: _reXic_/reddit)

Because of inflation, that equals £5.36 today.

Today, hopping on the Tube for one day of travel between zones 1-6 will set you back by £15.90.

The discovery sparked nostalgic memories on Reddit, with one user saying ‘that’s a blast from the past. People selling cards at stations! I remember doing it too.’

Another said: ‘Wow, talk about nostalgia! Back then I was riding the tube in to University every day.’

Travel cards were introduced on the London Underground and buses in 1983, while day tickets were launched the following year, according to MyLondon.

The graphic below reveals how much Tube prices have increased for one-day travel cards in zones 1 to 4.

How much Tube travel card ticket prices have changed since 2002 (Picture: Getty/

Londoners let out a sigh of relief in 2016, when TfL announced a ticket price freeze.

Passenger fares were frozen between 2017 and 2020, preventing a rise of 12%, the BBC reported.

The Mayor of London Sadiq Khan announced another fare freeze in January until March 2025 ahead of the mayoral race.

It comes after the transport authority announced an average rise of 5.9% last year.

The Mayor of London Sadiq Khan announced another Tube price freeze until March 2025 (Picture: Stefan Rousseau/PA)

The average pay-as-you-go Tube fare went up by 30p, while the fare for a single bus journey increased by 10p, according to the broadcaster.

A spokesperson for the Mayor said Khan pledged to freeze TfL fares until at least 2025 to ‘support Londoners with the cost of living crisis.’

‘This is the fifth time Sadiq has frozen fares as he continues to build a greener and fairer London for everyone,’ they added.

Overall consumer prices in Britain have increased by around 236% since the ticket was issued.

The Tube has been modernised since it opened, including the addition of the Elizabeth Line, a better phone signal and an off-peak Friday price trial announced by City Hall.

Passengers are set to get mobile signal within most of London underground by the end of this year – to the delight of those who rack up hours of travel on the Tube each month.

The Elizabeth Line connecting Heathrow Airport with central London launched in May 2022 (Picture: Mike Kemp/Getty)

Stretching 249 miles, the underground network has hundreds of secret passages, historical Grade II-listed stations and even ghost platforms.

If you ever feel you are being watched when catching the Tube, it could be because some of the passages have metal grates with views of unassuming passengers.

Travel influencer Dan Thomas revealed a tour of the historic passages.

It could also be because there are more than 15,500 CCTV cameras in the London Underground.

A TfL spokesperson told if it plans to extend the off-peak Fridays trial: ‘We continue to analyse the impact of our trial of off-peak pay as you go fares on Tube and rail services on a Friday, which remains ongoing until May 31.

‘This analysis will take into account a number of aspects including assessing changes to both morning peak ridership and overall daily ridership, as well as the impact to businesses across London.’

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