TfL fares: Free early travel for over 60s during ‘off peak Fridays’ trial

Mayor of London Sadiq Khan will scrap peak fares on Fridays from March.
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Older Londoners will be able to travel for free early in the morning as part of Transport for London (TfL)’s “off-peak Fridays” trial.

The mayor of London, Sadiq Khan will scrap peak fares on Fridays from March in a bid to boost ridership and support the capital's economy.

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The trial, which is expected to last three months, will include free travel for 1.2 million Londoners with a 60-plus Oyster card or a Freedom Pass.

The London mayor has allocated £24m from his budget for the 2024-2025 financial year to support the trial - which will require the backing of the wider rail industry.

In his budget for the coming year, the mayor has decided to freeze pay-as-you-go fares until March 2025, at a cost of £123m.

The mayor of London, Sadiq Khan will scrap peak fares on Fridays from March as part of a three month trialThe mayor of London, Sadiq Khan will scrap peak fares on Fridays from March as part of a three month trial
The mayor of London, Sadiq Khan will scrap peak fares on Fridays from March as part of a three month trial

Mayor Khan said: “I’m determined to ensure that everyone is able to make the most of our great city whether they are living or working in the capital.

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“That is why, from March, I’ve asked TfL to run this groundbreaking three-month trial for off-peak fares on Fridays so that we can help Londoners of all ages with the cost-of-living crisis and further support London’s economic recovery. This is on top of my decision to freeze TfL fares for another year.

“It will transform travel in London on Fridays – with particular benefits for our capital’s young people and those over 60. For the 1.2 million Londoners with a 60 plus Oyster card or a Freedom Pass, they’ll be able to travel for free before 9am.”

At present, the 60-plus London Oyster and the Freedom Pass, which is given to Londoners when they reach the state pension age, cannot be used between 4.30am and 9am on weekdays. Both allow free travel on public transport in the capital.

An Age UK London protest at City Hall. Photo: Age UK LondonAn Age UK London protest at City Hall. Photo: Age UK London
An Age UK London protest at City Hall. Photo: Age UK London

The benefit wass temporarily halted soon after the start of the pandemic in June 2020 and the suspension was made permanent last year to boost TfL’s fares income, despite widespread protests from older Londoners.

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Abigail Wood, chief executive of Age UK London, which had campaigned to reinstate pre-9am use of the Freedom Pass, said: “Free travel is a lifeline to older Londoners and during this cost-of-living crisis it has never been more important.

“As well as calling for a longer term commitment from TfL, we continue to call on the Government to properly fund TfL to help enable a permanent return to free travel before 9am for older Londoners.”

City Hall says the off-peak Fridays scheme will benefit younger Londoners as their railcards will be valid throughout the day not just at off-peak times.

“I’m particularly proud that younger Londoners eligible for discounts will now be able to travel much more cheaply at peak times,” said the mayor.

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“For younger people travelling to college or university using pay as you go, or having to commute early for their job, it will put money directly back into their pockets at a time when they need it most.”

At present, Tube passengers pay peak fares on weekdays between 6.30am and 9.30am, and between 4pm and 7pm. These higher rates also apply to journeys on the Elizabeth line and the London Overground.

Off-peak Friday fares would see travel at peak times from Zone 6 into Zone 1 fall from £5.60 to £3.60, saving passengers £2. Journeys from Zone 4 to Zone 2 will fall from £2.80 to £1.90 saving commuters 90p.

Critics have described the move as “desperate” with the mayoral election taking place this May.

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City Hall Conservatives transport spokesman Keith Prince said: “With just three months until the mayoral election, Sadiq Khan is becoming increasingly desperate. After asking Londoners to lend him their votes last week, he has now announced a temporary three-day weekend on the Tube.

“In the past few weeks, Sadiq Khan has found £177m down the back of the City Hall sofa for TfL to stave off tube strikes, temporarily freeze fares this year and pause peak fares on Friday for three months. 

“At the same time, he refuses to provide the £70m the Met commissioner says he needs to complete essential reforms to improve policing and stamp out misogyny, racism and homophobia in the force. In case he hasn’t noticed, crime is out of control. 

“Sadiq Khan is putting his own interests ahead of Londoners. His priorities are all wrong. He needs to go.”