I was incredibly lucky that I did have the option to do a lot of my work/studying from home during this week, an option not many have. However, there will still several times I needed to leave my flat and relinquish some pearly pounds from my oyster’s grasp. Tuesday was particularly noticeable; from my East London home, I had two separate errands that required me to be in first North London, then central London a few hours later. The tube was out of the question; with one journey being typically around £2.40, this is almost half my daily allowance used for one stretch of my trip. This left me with two options: to walk or take a bus. However, even the bus should be used sparingly; the £1.50 per journey does add up, after all.
For my first port of call, Speak Street HQ, this budget travelling wasn’t horrendous; I just needed to take two buses, the whole journey costing me £1.50. This did, however, add an extra 35 minutes to my journey, meaning that I had even less time to lie in in the morning (this did not please me). Getting to Central London also wasn’t too problematic; I walked 40 minutes, saving myself the bus fare.
Returning home, however, did not live up to this dreamy ideal. Not only did I get caught in the rain waiting for the elusive 55, but severe traffic and several changes meant that it took me an hour longer than it should have done to get home.
Throughout the week, these minor annoyances and inconveniences with transport did remain. However, I am also highly aware of the fact I live in a convenient area for travelling around London, comfortably in zone 2. This means that, often, I had the ability to walk to places I needed to go, if I really needed to, meaning I was able to stick within my budget. Asylum seekers have no say in where they live, and many are placed on the outskirts of the city. Trips to the doctors, to language schools, anywhere that will help them with their asylum application, will thus entail longer bus journeys than mine and incredibly careful planning to ensure they do not go over budget. It is so easy to imagine why they would be late for appointments and why they may not wish to go to far from home. If people are empathetic to this, however, is another question entirely.