LONDON — On a crisp, sunny autumn morning I hail a taxi in Sloane Square and ask the cabbie to take me to Mayfair on the opposite side of Hyde Park.
“Sorry mate,” says the cockney cabbie. “They’re having a Brexit demo and all the roads around Hyde Park leading to Mayfair have been closed off. I can’t get through.
“Best you take the tube (London Underground). It’s only one stop. There’s a station right over there,” says the cabbie, pointing to the opposite side of the stylish square.
“Go in the direction of Green Park,” he says before speeding off.
Above: London's Underground is the most expensive in the world to ride but Toronto's subway is not far behind.
With no time to get a discount tourist travel card, I punch in my destination on the station’s automated ticket dispenser and take a step back in horror when the fare appears: £4.90!
That’s more than eight loonies!
To go one stop!
“Welcome to our world,” says the disgruntled young woman standing at the next ticket kiosk, who was reluctantly loading up her monthly Oyster (transit) card.
“Seems most of our earnings here go to lodging and transit,” she grumbles.
All of a sudden, memories of a recent subway ride in Hong Kong, which cost the equivalent of 33 cents Cdn., come flooding back.
I’m left to wonder: Is London transit the most expensive in the world?
Turns out, it is, according to websites like Globehunters and Worldatlas, which have conducted recent surveys on the very subject.
Both sites agree London Transit, at around $190 for a monthly pass, is the most expensive in the world, followed by Sydney, Australia ($152). Not far behind them, though, is Toronto, where a TTC monthly pass costs $151.
According to those same surveys, Asian cities offer the cheapest monthly passes — in Hi Chi Minh City, for example, you pay just $6.40 a month, Jaipur, India, $7.24, Hanoi $8.54 and Jakarta, Indonesia $11.59.
Oh, by the way, the cab ride from Sloane Square to Mayfair would have cost around the same as the tube ride.
So, make sure you check into tourist transit cards before you visit any major city, because transit costs can add up quickly.
Above: According to a recent survey, pet owners want their for legged friends to be treated much better when they stay at hotels.
Travellers voice ‘pet’ peeves
A recent booking.com survey crossed my desk, in which 42 per cent of pet owners said they would enjoy their vacation more if they could bring their family pet along. In fact, 34 per cent of Canadian pet owners revealed they will choose their holiday destination in 2020 based on whether the can take their pets along.
While hotel chains globally are offering more pet amenities to make the family fido feel more welcome, pet owners told the booking.com survey they want more done. Like:
• 40 per cent of respondents said they want hotels and resorts to offer more space for their pets to run and play;
• 25 per cent want onsite veterinary support;
• 15 per cent want a warmer environment for pets;
• 19 per cent want more pet-friendly activities;
• 22 per cent want properties to offer pet sitting and walking services.
To find out more about the Booking.com survey, go to http://TravelPredictions2020.com.
Above: Beautiful Vancouver placed fifth on the Top 50 cities list. Toronto and Quebec City also made the list.
3 Canadian cities make Top 50 list
Canadians have a high regard for the diverse cities that make up our country, but what does the rest of the world think?
Well, according to over 1,000 international travel experts — travel writers, travel bloggers and travel agencies — three Canadian cities rank among the Top 50 on the planet.
In fact, the travel experts surveyed by Flight Network picked Vancouver as the fifth best city on the Top 50 list, finishing ahead of such exotic locations as Barcelona (6), Cape Town (7), San Francisco (8), Sydney (9), Rome (10) and Singapore (11).
Meanwhile, Toronto placed 21st on the Flight Network survey and enchanting Quebec City was 23rd, ahead of troubled Hong Kong.
Topping the list was Paris, followed by New York (2), London (3), Venice (4) and then Vancouver.
Lisbon, a popular destination at the moment, finished 12th, followed by Amsterdam (13), Prague (14), Rio de Janeiro (15), Budapest (16), Istanbul (17), Tokyo (18), Vienna (19) and Buenos Aires rounded out the top 20.
Air travellers leave carbon footprint
Air travellers apparently are willing to pay a little more for flights if they know the extra money will be used to address carbon emissions, a new study from the University of British Columbia (UBC) Sauder School of Business has found.
The study, conducted in partnership with the Environmental Defence Fund, consisted of two separate online surveys of more than 1,800 U.S. participants.
However, how those fees are presented at the time of ticket purchase is the key to consumer acceptance, according to the study. Apparently, people respond better when the fee is labeled as a carbon offset rather than a tax. And they respond better if they know the producers and importers of airplane fuel have been billed for it — not just themselves.
“People have the perception that the oil companies are the ones responsible for climate change, or at least more responsible than they are,” says study co-author David Hardisty, an assistant professor of marketing and behavioural science at the UBC Sauder School of Business.
“Consumers are more supportive of carbon pricing if it’s directed at the fossil fuel producers and importers than if it’s directed at consumers.”
The findings were published in the Journal of Environmental Psychology.