The London underground, or “tube”, carried a reported 1.1 billion riders last year. London buses (where everyone, including hardened Londoners loves to sit in the front row on the top floor of a double-decker) carried 2.2 billion people.
The best, and cheapest, way to use both services is a smart card called an Oyster. Basically, you buy (actually, rent) the card for £5, then buy credit on top of that and every time you swipe the card, getting on/off the tube or bus, your credit is reduced. Everyone loves their Oyster.
Well, Oyster lovers and royal lovers unite! It was just announced that a commemorative, royal wedding Oyster card is set to go on sale next week. Rivaling the royal barf bag for royal wedding souvenir usefulness, the special edition card (which, usually, just has a swooshy design in the Toronto Argonauts colours), will feature a photo of William and Kate and the text: “To commemorate the marriage of Prince William of Wales and Miss Katherine Middleton, 29 April, 2011.” The card comes in a snazzy black plastic case and is sponsored by Trojan Condoms. Just kidding, it’s sponsored by MasterCard.
You’ll have slap down the £5 deposit plus a minimum of £5 credit to snap up one of the 750,000 cards. Very craftily, Transport for London figures that most folks aren’t ever going to return their treasured keepsakes so, it’s reported, they could profit up to £7.5 million.
Mayor of London, Boris Johnson (who seems to get the last word on pretty much everything) says: “ I would…recommend the card to the happy couple as the cheapest, easiest way of getting around this city, especially as it bears their resemblance.”