TfL Day Travelcards: Which councils outside London oppose Sadiq Khan removing the scheme?

The mayor signed a decision notice in July giving Day Travelcards six months left unless alternative funding can be secured.
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Just last week, Surrey County Council, one of the local authorities surrounding London, unanimously passed a motion demanding Sadiq Khan withdraw his plans to remove the Day Travelcards.

It was the latest in a line of councils to make clear its opposition to the mayor's proposals to get rid of the travelcards from early next year.

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The scheme, which enables people journeying into the capital to use all of Transport for London’s (TfL) services with just one ticket, was being reviewed earlier this year as the authority looks to generate greater revenue.

TfL said at the time that it needs to increase its income by £0.5-£1 billion a year, as required by government funding agreed during Covid.

Despite opposition from groups including Transport for All and London TravelWatch, Mr Khan signed a decision notice in July, giving the scheme six months unless alternative funding is secured.

Tabling the amended motion during the Surrey council meeting, Conservative councillor Matt Furniss said there is an “invisible wall being drawn around London at this time”, which is affecting families both inside and outside the capital.

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“I think we can all agree…that ensuring public transport is affordable and accessible to all has rightly been outlined as a priority,” he added, and that the additional costs associated with the removal of the Day Travelcards will be “too much to bear for many”.

Surrey’s position is quite clear, then. But what do the other councils surrounding London think about the Day Travelcards potential removal?

Sadiq Khan, the mayor of London, signed a decision notice in July, giving the Day Travelcards scheme six months unless alternative funding is secured. Credit: Gustavo Garello/Getty Images.Sadiq Khan, the mayor of London, signed a decision notice in July, giving the Day Travelcards scheme six months unless alternative funding is secured. Credit: Gustavo Garello/Getty Images.
Sadiq Khan, the mayor of London, signed a decision notice in July, giving the Day Travelcards scheme six months unless alternative funding is secured. Credit: Gustavo Garello/Getty Images.

Buckinghamshire Council

Following a motion passed at full council in July, Buckinghamshire Council leader Martin Tett wrote to Mr Khan expressing the local authority’s opposition to his decision.

He wrote: “The proposals to remove Day Travelcards constitute an unfair, unacceptable, and expensive levy on Buckinghamshire residents who wish to travel to London. The proposals have deliberately targeted the removal of the Day Travelcard as a method to generate additional income for TfL.” 

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Cllr Tett continued to write that “no regard” was given to the potential loss of revenue in London due to Buckinghamshire residents being unable to travel into the capital, and that barriers and frictions will be added to the purchasing of tickets.

“The withdrawal of Day Travelcards also risks being discriminatory against Buckinghamshire residents with Special Needs or disabilities who until now have been able to buy Day Travelcards for use by those travelling with them and assisting them.”

Essex County Council

A spokesperson for Essex County Council said comments and questions have been submitted to the mayor since the proposal to remove Day Travelcards was first aired.

“Many Essex residents who travel into London on an irregular basis are likely to make use of Day Travelcards currently. Essex County Council is concerned that this change could make travelling by public transport less affordable for Essex residents,” they said in a comment to LondonWorld.

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“We are aware from conversations with Network Rail that rail travel is now recovering from the impacts of Covid and that, while regular season ticket based commuting has not fully recovered, leisure travel by rail is now running at levels well above those seen prior to the introduction of Covid restrictions. Day Travelcards are particularly well suited to this leisure market.

“In addition to responding via the online engagement tool, we have also contributed to a joint submission on behalf of Transport East, working with Transport for the South East and England’s Economic Heartland.

“While we understand the budgetary pressures TfL is facing, we are concerned that this change would have a significant detrimental impact on those travelling into London on an irregular basis and it is not clear from the information available if this has been fully considered.”

Hertfordshire County Council

Hertfordshire County Council raised its objections to the potential removal of the Day Travelcards back in May.

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The council said to TfL the move would be “significantly disadvantageous” to rail users from the area into London, both in terms of cost and convenience.

“At a minimum this would deter potential rail passengers from taking the train, which would go against our Local Transport Plan policies of encouraging sustainable transport. However, for some groups (e.g. those unable or unwilling to use contactless bankcards) the proposals would create a major barrier to travel.”

While acknowledging some changes, such as introducing contactless bank cards for travel from all Hertfordshire stations, will help, the council said they will take “several years to implement”.

“If the Day Travelcard were to be withdrawn, we would request that TfL implement a comprehensive communications strategy to make travellers from Hertfordshire aware of the change and the best alternative ways for them to purchase train and TfL tickets.”

Kent County Council

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According to Kent Live, Kent County Council wrote to TfL alongside Surrey County Council earlier this year opposing the plans.

The council claimed TfL had failed to directly contact them about the changes, and criticised the consultation process.

The publication also reported David Brazier, Kent County Council's transport lead, said the authority had only become aware after being notified by another council.

Slough Borough Council

Commenting on the proposal to remove the Day Travelcards, Cllr Puja Bedi, lead member for transport, housing, highways, the environment and environmental services at Slough Borough Council, said: “Thousands of Slough residents currently utilise Day Travelcards on TfL services such as London Underground, the Elizabeth Line and National Rail Services in London. The proposed removal of Day Travelcards will add further unnecessary financial burdens on Slough residents.

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“At a time when we should be encouraging more sustainable travel, TfL is removing a scheme which supports these efforts. I would urge for this short-sighted proposal to be reviewed, in particular in the light of the recent ULEZ expansion.”

The mayor of London

A spokesperson for the mayor previously told LondonWorld Mr Khan was “forced to consider the withdrawal of the Day Travelcards" to meet the government funding settlement.

“The mayor’s team is actively discussing all options with train operating companies, and is working with them to try to find a financially acceptable alternative that would allow Day Travelcards to remain available,” they added.

The DfT said the responsibility of transport in London is devolved to the mayor and TfL, and that it has committed more than £6bn to support services since March 2020.

Thurrock Council was also approached for comment.