*1-6 km **1.8€ with Oyster card **From 6:30-6:56h, 9-18h and 20-20:44h
The price of a single metro ticket and the exchange rate
If you don’t have an Oyster card you will have a problem in London. Your single tube ticket will cost you up to 4.7 €! but once you get the card the price is as low as 1.8 €.
Looking at this graph one might think that a single ticket in Barcelona costs as much as one in Tokyo. It really does today for somebody from a euro currency country, like, for example, a guy from Barcelona. But this might change tomorrow. Why? Here the exchange rate (ER) comes in! Ticket prices have been converted from local currency to euros. So if the ER of the yen over euro varies, so it does the price of the metro ticket in Tokyo for a guy from Barcelona.
So the value of the tickets depends on two things: the price of the ticket itself and the exchange rate of the local currency over the euro (that is to say how much local currency can buy 1 single €).
How much local currency can one € buy?
Today (November 20th) one € can buy up to 2565.88 pesos colombianos or just 0.86 british pounds.
Exchange Rate: So, in January a single metro ticket in Barcelona costed 1.4€ but a single metro ticket in Tokyo costed 1.23€ (instead of 1.4€ today, a difference of 13.8%). Does that mean that Tokyo Metro Co.,Ltd changed the price of the ticket? No, it doesn’t. The price in Tokyo was still 160 yen in January. What changed was the ER over the euro. In January 1€ could buy up to 130.339 yen but in August the same euro could buy just 110.112 yen. So the price of the ticket, in euros, was cheaper in January than in August.
But, which factors intervene when settling the price of a single metro ticket?
At least two. The operating costs of the metro network system and political factors. Some metro transportations systems are being operated by private companies, like the ones in Tokyo or Buenos Aires. Others are being operated by public companies like the ones in Barcelona, Madrid, London, Paris, Berlin, Beijing or El Cairo.
The case of Buenos Aires
The price of a single metro ticket in Buenos Aires is really cheap compared to other cities, even to Latin American cities like Rio de Janeiro, Bogotá or Santiago de Chile. This is because the Argentinian peso (the local currency) has experienced undervaluation over euro, more than what experienced Chilean peso and Brazilian real. Since June 2010 the Argentinian peso has lost 14.2% of its value over euro, for 2.6% for the Chilean peso and 5.9% for the Brazilian real. So this means that for an European now it is cheaper to buy a metro ticket in Buenos Aires than a few months ago.
But there is also another explanation. The metro ticket in Buenos Aires is partly subsidized by the National Government. From January to September 2009 public subsidies invested to keep the metro ticket low ascended up to 354.5 million pesos (today that would be 64.1 million euros). That’s is something usual in many cities around the world, but in Buenos Aires the magnitude of the subsidy is higher than in other places. Over 71% of the January-September 2009 total service costs, carried out by Metrovías Sociedad Anónima (which is also in charge of the Premetro and Línea Ferroviaria Urquiza services), were covered by the National Government. By contrast, the Barcelona Metropolitan Transports, the public transportation company in Barcelona, covered just 47% of its total costs from the government.