The Day Travelcard, which offers visitors to the Capital unlimited travel on TfL services and National Rail services within London, won’t be scrapped after a deal was secured to keep it.
However, the cost of the Travelcard will rise to help cover some of the cost of providing it.
The Day Travelcard was planned to be scrapped as part of the cost-cutting measures imposed on Transport for London (TfL) by the government, although the government then left the exact mechanism to the Mayor of London and TfL to decide on.
TfL had estimated that the Travelcard cost around £40 million a year but as it primarily benefitted people who don’t live in London, it was considered for abolition. Earlier this year, they announced a consultation that could have seen them stop selling any Day Travelcards – including Group, Weekend London Family and Day Travelcards bought using National Railcards.
That could add a level of friction to a journey for people unused to how London’s contactless ticketing works, and potentially lead to them paying more as they pay for classic paper tickets, which are much more expensive than using contactless PAYG.
However, the suggestion that the Travelcard could be scrapped provoked a lot of anger from people living around London who would see their cost of travel into London increase and also raised concerns in London’s leisure industries about a decline in people travelling into London from the surrounding counties.
But all that won’t happen now, as following negotiations between TfL, the Department for Transport (DfT) and the Rail Delivery Group, which represents the rail companies, a deal has been struck to retain the Day Travelcard.
The agreement finally ends months of speculation about whether the Travelcard would be scrapped or saved.
The Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan said: “I’m delighted that we have managed to save the Day Travelcard. As part of the Covid-19 financial deal TfL made with the Government, there is a requirement to make savings of £600m. I refused to countenance removing weekly, monthly or season travelcards and today I am pleased to confirm the Day Travelcard is also now safe.”
“The offer now on the table saves a much-valued product for visitors to London, while giving TfL a fairer share of ticket revenue.”
The deal saving the Travelcard will however require a one-off price increase on Day Travelcards for travel from stations outside Zones 1-6 as part of a National Rail ticket from March 2024 (on average 3%), which will be in addition to any general regulated fares increase at the time.
The annual regulated fares increase is expected to be announced next month when details of the Travelcard cost hike will be more straightforward.
Responding to the news, Norman Baker from Campaign for Better Transport said: “This is a great decision for sustainable transport and the people who use it, and a happy day for our capital and its businesses. Costly and complicated fares are a barrier for too many people when deciding how to travel, so the Day Travelcard is just the sort of simple, integrated ticket that we need across the country if we want to make public transport the easy choice”
“Since we launched our campaign to save the Travelcard, hundreds of people have got in touch to tell us how much they value it, including families with children, teens travelling with youth groups, people with disabilities, people struggling with the cost of living, and people who don’t use contactless or mobile payments. They will breathe a sigh of relief today.”
In addition to the Travelcard, the RDG is also working with TfL and DfT to expand pay as you go with contactless to 53 stations across the south east of England by the end of the year.