We're leaving London on the weekend and there's still so much I want to post about! I might be posting again from Sydney before I officially close this blog.
Public transport is a massive part of daily life in London. And London has an integrated public transport ticketing system - the Oyster card. You buy a card for three pounds (about $7) and keep it forever. You put money on your card, either at the local newsagent or through an online topping up system. With the Oyster card, every trip on a bus or tube costs 90p, no matter how far you go. (Okay, not strictly true - if you catch a 45 minute overground train to the very outskirts of the city, it costs more. But for getting around in the centre - which is a big centre - it's 90p.) You swipe your card when you get onto a bus. You swipe your card on your way into and out of the tube. The swiping machine tells you how much money is left on your card.
Just about everyone in London has an Oyster card (or a Freedom pass - free travel for everyone over 60). You virtually never see anyone get onto a bus and have to pay. It makes everything so much easier, faster and more convenient. Why Sydney can't get it together to have something like this, I don't understand.
Of course, the temptation is there not to swipe your card, thus saving yourselves the money. But as the voice recordings tell you, "ticket inspectors operate on this bus". I've never been asked to show my Oyster.