Sadiq Khan Urged to Review Fare Freeze

Think tank says poorer areas should be zoned to have lower travel costs

The Mayor of London’s fare freeze is not working for everyone, according to a London think tank.

Sadiq Khan promised pay as you go fares on Transport for London (TfL) would not rise in his first term as Mayor – and recently confirmed a fourth year freeze for 2020. But though tourists and inner London residents have benefitted, people in the outer boroughs have lost out, the Centre for London said.

Londoners living in the outskirts are more likely to use a monthly or annual travel card – and the cost of these passes has risen nearly 10 per cent since 2015, a report by the think tank found.

The study calls on the Mayor to “review” his fare freeze, and consider changing the zone of stations in poorer areas to reduce travel costs.

Just 38 per cent of Londoners earning £1,000 or less a month take the Tube of Overground on a weekly basis. This compares to 61 per cent of those earning £2,000 or more each month.

The report said new transport infrastructure projects should target the worst-off areas of London.

And it called on the Mayor to scrap the 60+ Oyster card, which gives free travel to residents over sixty who are below pension age.

It also said the perk of free travel for a nominated person, offered to TfL employees, should be phased out.

Silviya Barrett, research manager at the Centre for London, who wrote the report, said London transport “doesn’t offer the same benefits to everyone”.

She said: “Poorer Londoners struggle with high transport costs.

“Parts of the city – especially on the outskirts – are badly served by public transport and have a higher reliance on cars.

“Large parts of the network remain inaccessible to disabled and older Londoners.

“The Mayor and TfL may have limited powers over Londoners’ incomes or life circumstances, but there is much they can do to make transport truly inclusive.”

A spokesperson for Mr Khan said: “Affordable public transport is vital for those on low incomes, which is why Sadiq has put keeping TfL fares affordable at the heart of his mayoralty.

“The Mayor is freezing TfL fares again next January, for the fourth year in succession.

“Alongside the new £1.50 Hopper fare Sadiq is making public transport more affordable for millions of Londoners after Boris Johnson increased fares by 42 per cent when he was Mayor.”

Jessie Matthewson - Local Democracy Reporter

December 7, 2019