The new improved bus ‘hopper’ fare lets you get as many buses and trams as you like within an hour, for just £1.50.
While others have experimented to see precisely how many buses you can catch in sixty minutes, we thought we’d try and work out just how far you can get for your 150 pence.
The rules are simple. The last touch-in must be no more than an hour after your first touch-in, but remember, you can stay on that final bus for as long as you like. (This will be crucial later on.)
Your journey starts, by necessity, bright and early in Blackheath, south-east London. The sun is just coming up; everything looks proper gothic. The quiet traffic at this time of day ought to shave crucial minutes off our travel time – around three, according to TfL.
Waiting outside, hopefully, a 54 bus will arrive at 5.51am precisely. Our destination, the glittering jewel of the south-east…
That’s right kids: we’re going proper multi-modal and jumping on the ‘thinking man’s bus’, which is to say, the Tramlink. The bus should drop us off to with roughly one minute to spare, and then at 6:23 am exactly, we’re all aboard the long green bendy-boy, speeding west for 22 nail-biting minutes.
…to glamorous East Croydon!
The weather’s brightened up a bit, hasn’t it? Arriving at 6.45, we’ve got a whole five minutes to saunter around the corner to our penultimate destination, stop E8, possibly grabbing a coffee from Boxpark on the way. Soon, we’ll be boarding the X26 at 6.50am, exactly 59 minutes after we first tapped our Oyster Card at Blackheath…
…and guys, this is the real game-changer. For the X26 is by far the longest bus route in London, and is going to take us not just to Cheam, or Sutton, or Worcester Park, but a whopping 23.75 miles, all the way to Heathrow Airport.
After a 99 minute journey, you’ll arrive at Heathrow at 8.29 am, two hours and thirty-nine minutes after you first started. Your total journey will have taken you 33.51 miles across the city. A ludicrously indirect journey, to be sure (a whole 74 minutes slower than taking a train, tube and then the Heathrow Express) but oh, the scenery you’ll see. All for £1.50.
Of course, you’ll now find yourself at the airport, just to have proven some kind of point. But perhaps you could try and continue the thrifty fun with a £99 flight to New York? It too takes a ridiculously long time, but hey, you’re already halfway there. Sort of.