On Monday July 25th, 25 LVIth formers embarked from Cranleigh School on the annual Economics trip. The key focus of their current module is ‘Transport Economics’ and the day gave them a practical insight into the real-life issues in this complex topic. Whilst some travelled into London in the relative luxury of the coach to Covent Garden, others endured the commute into London consisting of walking, bus, train and another walk. The key here was to understand the relative advantages and disadvantages of the various modes of transport, as well as asking questions such as why do train companies charge so much before 9.30am? Why are bus student tickets cheaper than the adult fares? Why are there so many passenger operators on the train lines but only one rail track provider? However, for some, the more pressing question was whether they would be allowed to go to McDonald’s for lunch!

At the London Transport Museum the groups reconvened and began the task of completing a comprehensive worksheet in less than an hour – quite a challenge. The students were then treated to a wide-ranging lecture, followed by a Q&A session with the Strategic Communications Officer for Crossrail and one of TFL’s Borough Engagement Managers. Here the students learnt about the many modes of transport that make up the integrated transport network, the success that is congestion charging, the plans to build cycle-ways throughout the cities, and the perils that the Olympics brings to London’s transport system.

The next step was a ‘race’ from Covent Garden to the Bank of England. With only 1.6 miles to travel which mode of transport would triumph. After a slow start the ‘tubers’ narrowly beat the ‘walkers’ who in turn took down the ‘busers’.

After refreshments it was on to the Bank of England where pupils battled to control imaginary inflationary pressures; got their hands on a solid gold bar worth £402k; and learnt about how an honest man inadvertently broke into the bullion room! After a final talk from the Bank of England’s representative, learning about the importance of inflation and handling sheets of notes worth thousands of pounds, there came final a role reversal: a lucky few went back to School on the coach, whilst their weary classmates grabbed their travel cards…

Thanks very much to EMB and CHDB for helping the trip run so smoothly.