Author Pilot, RN (raggedass_road) wrote in little_details,
Author Pilot, RN
raggedass_road
little_details

London Underground: Ticketing

I'm working on a novel set in the late 1970s/early 1980s, and have a character briefly in London using the tube. My little detail is that I don't know how ticketing was handled on the underground at that time.

Specifically -- what kind of tickets/passes/travelcards would my character be using from about 1978 to 1983? Did the Zones apply back then? How would he have purchased them and how would he get through the barrier with his ticket?

All I've been able to suss out from Google and the website of the London Transport Museum is that self-service ticket machines weren't introduced on the tube until 1987, so I'm assuming my character would have had to buy his ticket from an actual person in the ticketing area/booking hall. ...Then what? He goes to the barrier and someone collects the ticket and lets him through? Or was this automated somehow? What did the barrier look like, anyway, was it an actual turnstile or more like the things in use right now?

My first visit to London was in 2006, and obviously just about everything was automated by then. Most everybody was using Oystercards, all the barriers were automated (tap your Oystercard or feed the ticket into the slot), I bought my tickets with cash at the automatic machine... but what I really want to know is how we did this 25 years ago!
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