Transport for London (TfL) is likely to scrap the Day Travelcard following a consultation earlier this year. The Mayor of London has now signed an order telling TfL to stop selling the travelcards in January 2024, although an option does exist to keep it, if they can find someone to cover the costs.

The Day Travelcard isn’t that widely used by Londoners, as it’s a paper ticket aimed at visitors, but adding it when buying a train ticket to visit London is a lot more convenient for visitors, which is why it has been retained until now.

Over the past financial year, TfL said that it has sold around 15 million of the Day Travelcards, of which some 70% were sold at National Rail stations outside London. Therefore, the main impact of scrapping them is likely to be on people who buy a Travelcard in addition to their National Rail ticket, as they would have to pay for their journey to a London station and then use PAYG contactless payments, or buy paper tickets to travel on TfL services.

For families, it gets more complicated, as customers travelling from outside London could apply in advance for a Zip card or get the Young Visitor discount set on an Oyster card – both of these options give discounted PAYG fares. Or they can continue to buy the more expensive paper tickets.

At present, the revenue from Day Travelcards sales is shared between TfL and the train companies who operate services within London and is apportioned according to the distance travelled on each party’s services within Zones 1-6. This means that the resulting revenue apportioned to TfL can be lower than the revenue received by TfL from the same journeys made with PAYG tickets.

TfL has estimated that receiving the full fare income from PAYG tickets would earn it around £40 million a year – made up of £35 in direct revenue, and £5 million from lower paper ticket fraud and commissions paid to ticket sellers. As the government requires TfL to increase revenues by at least £500 million from 2023 onwards, the £40 million a year in extra income from scrapping the travelcard would make a decent dent in that target.

The consultation on scrapping the Day Travelcard ran earlier this year, and the Mayor of London has now issued an order to TfL to stop selling them, giving TfL six months notice to stop sales — so it comes into effect in January 2024.

Although the Mayor has issued the order to TfL, there is an option to negotiate an agreement with the railway or government that would settle the financial implications of keeping the Day Travelcard after all. That would likely mean the government or the train companies (which are often one and the same thing thesedays) will need to cover TfL’s costs of providing the Day Travelcard.

A spokesperson for the Mayor said: “The Mayor is only considering the withdrawal of Day Travelcards in order to meet the requirements of TfL’s funding settlement with government – a deal that was required solely because of the impact of the pandemic. He has been clear he does not want to do so, but feels that he has been left with no viable alternative.”

“The Mayor has now reluctantly agreed to the proposal for TfL to initiate the notice period that could allow the withdrawal of Day Travelcards if no alternative proposals are agreed. While the Mayor and TfL remain committed to seeking alternatives in the coming months, the Mayor had to approve this instruction now in order to meet the deadlines in TfL’s funding deal.”

“This will begin a process lasting at least six months before the withdrawal could come into effect, during which time the decision can be reversed. The Mayor and TfL remain open to discussing all options with both the Department for Transport and the train operating companies, and will work with them to try to find a financially acceptable alternative that would allow Day Travelcards to remain available.”

The order doesn’t affect 7-Day and longer-term travelcards, just the one-day travelcards.

There are five different types of Day Travelcard that will no longer be accepted by TfL from next January:

  • Standard Day Travelcard
  • Group Day Travelcard
  • Family Day Travelcard
  • Discounted Day Travelcard (one-third discount with various National Rail railcards)
  • Weekend Travelcard

A TfL spokesperson said: “Due to requirements of the government’s funding settlements for TfL to save money and generate significant amounts of additional revenue, we have had to consider proposals to stop accepting Day Travelcards on the TfL network. After careful consideration of the proposal, taking into account the requirements of TfL’s funding settlement and TfL’s Equality Impact Assessment (EqIA), the Mayor has considered the proposal from TfL, and has reluctantly instructed TfL to give the required minimum six months’ notice to withdraw from the relevant provisions of the Travelcard agreement. This is the first stage in a process and there are no changes to tickets at this time. This is an operational decision that has been taken now to ensure that TfL meets the requirements of its funding agreement, but TfL continues to look for alternative options.”

“While this six-month notice-period is now underway, this decision remains reversable and does not therefore mean that Day Travelcards will be withdrawn. TfL is keen to work collaboratively with the DfT and Rail Delivery Group to discuss options that would allow Day Travelcards to continue to be provided, while ensuring TfL can meet the requirements of the funding settlement with Government. The existing daily pay as you go caps on contactless or Oyster, which are used by the overwhelming majority of those travelling, will not be affected by this.”

Barring an unexpected pot of cash from the train companies/government, it’s likely that the final Day Travelcard sale will take place next January.

Updated 13:45 – added comments from the Mayor and TfL


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  1. Andrew says:

    Visit London, buy an Oyster Card. Doesn’t an Oyster Card give you the best fare? Paper tickets for tourists, absurd.

    • Dominic H says:

      No, depending on how many journeys within Greater London you make, it can often be (even substantially) cheaper to use a One Day Travelcard add-on in association with a National Rail ticket from outside the zones, compared with using a ticket to London Terminals, and then using an Oyster Card (or contactless card) within London, as will be required from next year.

    • John says:

      Also, if you’re forced to use tap in/out outside of the Oyster area then you can’t receive the fare discount for having a Network Railcard (or any other railcard). For anyone that buys a National Rail ticket with the Travelcard add on, and applies a railcard discount, it will be significantly more expensive from January. They really should find a way to allow a railcard to be attached to a contactless card (or contactless account), in the same way that an Oyster can be, it surely cannot be that difficult.

    • Edvid says:

      John, what you suggest is included within Phase 2 of the contactless PAYG expansion (Project Oval). That said it’s probably not happening before May 2025 as things stand, given the 12-month delays to Phase 1 implementation.

    • Fiona says:

      Actually,if anyone goes to the Tramlink Shop in Croydon, they can buy a discounted one day child travel card, for zones 1-6 for £2.80, The only rule being that the child is under 16 and that you travel AFTER 09.30 Monday to Friday. There are no time restrictions at weekends or bank holidays.

    • Mark says:

      If you have a Railcard it can be linked to your oyster card so you will still get discounted journeys on the tube

    • Chris says:

      TFL want to do away with Oyster entirely. Meaning foreign tourists who don’t have a card with a chip, will get royally screwed.

  2. David says:

    I expect we’ll soon read Conservatives blaming Khan/TFL for this even though it’s their funding agreement that makes it necessary, just like with ULEZ.

    • Clive P says:

      As Dominic H said, it can be cheaper for those taking a National Rail train in from outside London to get that with a day-travelcard as an extra then to use a simple day return plus Oyster. It’s also a lot less hassle – Oyster card readers at the barriers fail so often: if that happens to avoid being charged for an incomplete journey you have to spend ages phoning up TfL and ask for a refund. With a paper ticket the barriers still don’t work sometimes, but you can show it at the staffed barrier and you NEVER get overcharged.

    • ChrisC says:

      I’ve never phoned up to sort out an error.

      I’ve always done it within my oyster account and it’s always been actioned.

    • Harry Kobeans says:

      This looks like a means of extracting extra revenue out of anyone living outside London, including tourists. In other words, extracting money from those who don’t have a vote on who should be the next Mayor of London.

  3. Frankie Roberto says:

    Does this also have the effect of uncoupling the remaining TfL fares from fares set by government – ie allowing Sadiq to set fare rises independently of whatever the national rail fares rise is?

    Or would there still have to be some level of negotiation and alignment because the daily capping rates include national rail?

  4. Paul says:

    If the alternatives to Day Travelcards are (a) dearer and (b) more expensive, then I hope TfL’s modelling has been robust enough to estimate the number of people who won’t bother travelling at all, and the consequent effect on TfL revenue.

    • Brian Butterworth says:

      Travelcards are currently £15.20, but the Zone 1 cap is only £8.10 or as low as £5.25 if you just use the buses (all zones) for the day.

      This could save people a considerable amount of money if they’re just in Zones 1 and 2: that gets you both Westfields the QEOP, Camden Town, Canary Wharf, Maritime Greenwich, Finsbury Park, Hampstead Heath, Hammersmith, Clapham, Brixton as well as all the visitor hotspots in Zone 1.

    • Rod says:

      You’ve voiced my thoughts exactly Paul. If they scrap it, I wont go to London as often and if I do go I’ll walk. What a shitty country we’ve become!!!!

  5. Louise says:

    For non Londoners, getting the correct kids fare for a visit to London is a real challenge. Tried to take a group on a short bus trip a few years back, and after calls to various helplines it was concluded that there was no way for us to pay the correct fare for our group. We had to get taxis.

    • Frankie Roberto says:

      Kids are free on public transport in London. Older kids just need to register for a photocard. Well worth doing!

    • Paul says:

      Kids under 16 are free on all London buses. Accompanied kids don’t even need any kind of ticket.
      Accompanied under 11s are free on all TfL transport. Again, no ticket required.

  6. Brendan Smith says:

    A measure such as this could indeed deter families in particular coming into London to shop or visit the sights. At a time when family incomes are stretched and London’s businesses need all the support they can get this is very shortsighted and reeks of a political gesture, typical of Khan, to blame the Tory government for everything. Making people living outside of London pay more is another cynical gesture as it is unlikely to affect London voters as much. What a con!

    • ChrisC says:

      Perhaps you should read up on the onerous conditions the government put on TFL for their Covid support that they didn’t put on any other transport authority or operator before blaming Khan.

  7. Noel Arnold says:

    Brendan Smith is apparently quite content for Londoners to pay more to subsidise those from outside London. Strangely enough this Londoner is not happy to do that. I would happily accept a situation where Travelcards are maintained on a cost neutral basis.

  8. Maggie Bartrop says:

    The next stage is, someone need to put it to the test in courts to see if the mayor’s decision has breached the Equality Act 2010 and Section 141 of the Greater London Authority Act 1999 (mayor’s transport duty), despite the equality impact assessment and the supporting documents showing opposition to the withdrawal.

    Section 141 of the GLA Act 1999 states:

    General transport duty.
    (1) The Mayor shall develop and implement policies for the promotion and encouragement of safe, integrated, efficient and economic transport facilities and services to, from and within Greater London.

    (2) The powers of the Authority under this Part shall be exercised for the purpose of securing the provision of the transport facilities and services mentioned in subsection (1) above.

    (3) The transport facilities and services mentioned in subsection (1) above include facilities and services for pedestrians and are—
    (a) those required to meet the needs of persons living or working in, or visiting, Greater London, and
    (b) those required for the transportation of freight.

    • ChrisC says:

      Well find yourself a Barrister and raise £5k (minimum) and launch a judicial review and see how far you get.

  9. Neil Norman says:

    as correctly pointed out in earlier posts, discounted one-day travelcards with a network card is a valuable entitlement – particularly when travelling with a family who are visiting London (who do not have contactless for every family member). If they arrange £7 Oyster cards each, plus cost of travel, a sightseeing trip (with 8 mainly over 16s) will be £150+. Paper travelcards utilising a network card discount cuts this in half – and much easier. Push up the travel prices and fewer groups will travel and income to London will fall. This is no revenue-generating suggestion.

    • Paul says:

      I’d be very surprised if anyone 16+ doesn’t have a compatible bank card or mobile device. If need be the same card can be linked to multiple mobile devices for different family members.

      11-15 year olds are going to be more of a problem. A sensible mitigation would be to make it easier/quicker to obtain zip cards. The photos on them are rarely checked, so that could be something to consider eliminating, especially as the opportunity for child fare fraud would be no more than it is with a paper ticket.

    • Stuart Bambury says:

      I am well over 16yo and don’t have any form of compatible contactless or mobile device so use one day travel cards when I travel to London, please don’t assume that everyone oner 16yo has or wants contactless cards or has a smart phone and I can only have the contactless facility on a phone if I have a contactless card and until they are made secure I don’t want one.

  10. STEVE MELTON says:

    This whole idea does not take into account the working class. Who like a trip for leisure to get a break from work. Will be hit in the pocket once again. Take a leaf from Germany well thought out cheap travel for ALL!

  11. Pete Brown says:

    Stations where you have multiple services like underground, rail, tram it is very easy to touch the wrong reader particularly Wimbledon, West Brompton and Richmond and then be charged two maximum fares that can’t be resolved online requiring as Clive says lengthy phone calls.

    • Paul says:

      I regularly use both West Brompton and Richmond, and no such problem exists. They have a single gateline for all services. There is no “wrong reader” to tap on.
      There may be purple interchange readers, but they’re inside the gateline and clearly labelled, and even if you decide to touch one of these when you’re not changing trains, you won’t be penalised.

      Wimbledon I’m less familiar with, but from memory, the tram readers are on the tram platform next to the tram and the train/tube is again behind a single gateline. I can see the scope for an issue if you tap into the train/tube gateline and spend a long time looking around before realising the tram is somewhere else, but I believe there’s no penalty for tapping out again within 2 minutes.

      And even if you head down to the tram platform, ignore all the signs, tap in for the tram, and then realise you want something else, the tram is a tap-on only like a bus so you’d pay a single fare rather than a penalty fare.

      Is this a problem you’ve actually experienced, or one you’re imagining?

  12. stuart says:

    Im confused, does that mean that i’ll no longer be able to get a day travel card when i travel from cambridge to london? I usually get a day ticket to london that includes return, underground, buses etc.

    • Paul says:

      Yes that’s exactly what it means. You’ll have to buy a return ticket to London then use contactless or oyster for Tfl services.

  13. Tan says:

    There are 28,000 employees working for TFL, and part of their benefit to nominated their partner/families a free travelcard. Suppose average spent on travel is £224 (zone 1-4), that is extra £6.2M they can generate per month.

    I don’t think it right for them to get free travelcard if they aint working for TFL.

    • Paul says:

      And when you try to take that perk away, and they go on strike over it, it’ll cost more than that in lost revenue.

    • ChrisC says:

      It’s part of their salary package so get rid of it and employees would expect their salaries to increase to cover the lost benefit. Just like you’d expect if a contractual benefit was withdrawn.

      That would then actually further increase the pay bill because any pay rise would apply to the resultant higher salary. Which would then increase TFLs National Insurance Bill and Employers contribution to the pension scheme.

      So by withdrawing the benefit you’ve actually cost TFL more than you think you’ve saved.

    • Alan says:

      Completely agree, I have absolutely no problem with the person who works for TFL getting free travel but giving it to anyone that lives at the same address is just wrong

  14. Ceejay says:

    Presumably this doesn’t affect the ability of people to buy through return tickets from a station outside London to ‘Zone U1’, thereby getting two single journeys on the tube conveniently included on their cardboard tickets?

    Except I guess those will also no longer be available when National Rail moves to only using apps for tickets.

  15. Paul says:

    I’m going to guess that the day travelcards are by far the biggest source of magstripe paper tickets still in use in London, so I imagine a secondary benefit for TfL will be that this starts to pave the way for phasing them out altogether.

    Removing the magstripe ticket reading equipment – lots of moving parts – will reduce maintenance costs at ticket gates and make new installations cheaper. Remaining magstripe users (mainly with through NR fares) could be directed to specific gates, such as the wide gates.

    • Keith says:

      Arguably they probably could/should start fitting QR code readers onto at least some of the ticket barriers at each gateline. This would enable national rail users to use app tickets to go through London, rather than needing a paper ticket for the section. They could even print QR codes on the remaining underground tickets. That way magnetic ticket readers would no longer be required.

    • Stephen says:

      They aren’t getting rid of season ticket Travelcards, so all magstripe ticket readers will need to be kept

    • Keith says:

      @Stephen: There’s no reason in the long term season ticket travelcards couldn’t change to be contactless, thereby using the Oyster/contactless touchpad. (I’m fairly certain the Paris Metro does something similar for the version of the NaviGo passes that requires ID on it.)

      Alternatively they could have a QR code printed on them if the relevant readers were added to the ticket barriers.

  16. Adam says:

    Day travelcards used to be a great cheap way of getting out from zone 1 on a Saturday and having London at your foot steps. It’s a shame it’s original intent was lost.

  17. Pete Brown says:

    At Wimbledon the readers are next to each on the same platform.
    It’s happened to me twice and TFL recommended I get a paper travel card!
    As for West Brompton, I’ve touched on the pink reader and then changed my mind and got back on a tube train and been charged a maximum fare.
    At Richmond, I’ve arrived by train touched , used the rail replacement bus touched in on bus touched in at West Brompton and later found a maximum fare.

    With a paper ticket/smartcard (travelcard) TFL has never sneaked up on me an taken another 20 quid from my wallet.
    A paper ticket is cost final, unless you travel out of zone.

    • Paul says:

      @Pete we have discussed “penalty fares anxiety” on another thread and I agree it’s a real issue, and likely to become more so as Project Oval rolls out.

      A paper ticket is “cost final” as you put it, but it also commits you to a specific journey (or zones) at the time of purchase. You’re still at risk of being fined if you miss your stop or change your journey.

      I didn’t know much about Wimbledon but reading the Oyster Fares Central page on it I can appreciate the issue – there’s a gateline, there are tram readers, there are train readers and there are interchange readers. I can totally agree that Wimbledon is thus a mess; really the trams should be outside the gateline but this isn’t possible because of platform 9.

      I don’t quite understand what went wrong in the other locations you mentioned however; a pink reader won’t end a journey, so touching it at West Brompton shouldn’t have made any difference. At Richmond there’s a gateline to exit the station, rail replacement buses shouldn’t have an active oyster reader and you should never need to touch into one. I’m going to guess that somehow you exited Richmond station without going through the gateline?

      Mike from Oyster fares central may be able to unpick what went wrong for you in both cases. I’m not arguing that your experiences are acceptable, but understanding the causes will help others and help in getting TfL to address the issues.

  18. Chris Wedge says:

    Personally, I worked out years ago that it was cheaper to buy a cheap day return and then use contactless (although I originally had an Oyster before I lost out after it developed a fault just after I had topped it up).

    However, It seems I am not typical, as I’m sure TfL have data on the journeys made by Travelcards and have confirmed that they will get more revenue from passengers using contactless instead.

    • Stephen says:

      They think they will get more money, but some people (such as those only using their Travelcard for the journey to London plus 2 Z1 tube journeys) will probably pay less than currently (and may still be put off by the hassle) and those for whom it is going to cost a lot more (I calculated it as over double in certain cases) they aren’t going to come into London nearly as much, and will probably end up spending less overall on TfL services as they just won’t go to London on a day out, they’ll go elsewhere where it doesn’t cost as much

  19. Michael says:

    Yet another disgusting way to rip people off.
    I’m not a fan of Khan but this is Tory blackmail to force him to make cuts so people pay more.
    The Tory Government don’t want to subsidise TFL unlike most countries in Europe who finance their City’s transport.
    Personally I’m gradually giving up on visits to London dueto high cost of everything.There are lots of other alternatives elsewhere in the Home Counties

  20. john says:

    The justification from TFL strictly on the revenue and subsiding those outside of London for travel, I understand given the budgetary issues.The political motivations either way others have already been voiced.

    However, the indirect impact of making it potentially less easy (single simple ticket for the day) and more expensive for some scenarios (e.g not being able to use network card with some oyster/contact less combos) will I think, lose more revenue over time. This is both directly for Tfl and rail companies but also for wider London economy.

    I use myself as 1 user case scenario; someone outside of TFL zones, use a network card with paper ticket. My travel is nearly all leisure and weekends/evenings. If I know if it more expensive/less easy, how many times the future may the above factors influence my decision to travel or not?

    Also for wider economy if I do travel in to say Waterloo for something nearby. I may walk there and back, done. However travelcard gives the flexibility if I know I am going to do/see A, then I might travel to a different part of London, vaguely in my direction of home travel to do B. Go for a meal nearby to B? Etc.

  21. Tony Skinner says:

    Oh well it looks like when I go next to London as a pensioner with an out of London buspass I will save myself the bother of using the trains and just use buses that TFL will have to pay for, as that will cost me nothing.

  22. Keith says:

    If day travelcards are being axed it would be preferable if they could roll out support for all railcard discounts to contactless cards and Oyster. (Admittedly supporting the Two Together and Family Railcards might be trickier.)

    In the medium-long term rolling out QR code scanners to gatelines would be progressive. That way national rail users going through London wouldn’t need a paper ticket for the underground section. Additionally, remaining TFL tickets could have a QR code printed on the tickets, which could replace the magnetic stripe.

  23. TWBie says:

    Just don’t believe that the additional costs which may be incurred will have a significant impact on numbers travelling in to London. The largest proportion of the travel costs will always be the mainline travel into a London terminus. Couple of quid extra on TFL travel after that isn’t going to be a determining factor ihmo!! Different if you were doing it every day maybe, but for most families if they can afford the train in to London then the marginal increase won’t be significant.

    • ChrisC says:

      I wouldn’t object to my combined fare being increased by a couple of quid or so as long as it all went to TFL and given there are apparently discussions between TFL and the TOCs (and with 6 months before these changes are implemented there is time to do that) on the balance of reimbursement to TFL so it may actually be what happens.

      Current trips with a travel card included are an absolute bargain especially when using a Network or other rail card.

      I don’t have time at the moment to do some worked examples but may pop back later with some.

  24. Richard Anscombe says:

    At present as a pensioner with senior travel card I can go from Southampton with a day return & zones 1 – 6 travel card for £29 on Southern using the 08.09am which gets to Victoria after 10am and go anywhere in zones 1 . 6 just by using the card through the magreaders . Get in and out anywhere no hassle. As a transport enthusiast I’ve revisited the vast majority of the tube network in about 6 trips. How much would that now cost to do. Talking of Richmond if you get off a SWR train and try to get on the District it refuses the ticket but they let you through. So any future trips would be train and bus pass only.

  25. Richard says:

    I feel this unfair as people get referred to hospital in London from other hospital, meaning they will have pay more to get from where they live to London and use other TFL transport to get there and then get get back to station to get home. This will effect mostly people who are on low income or on benefits.

    So please rethink about it there must be other ways you can save money instead of getting rid of one day travel card

    I bet you or London Mayor and the Conservative Party don’t care about the people who are on low income or benefits need to get London for medical check up etc.

    I sure if this goes ahead the number of tourism and hospitality for London will drop and they lose even more money

    • ianVisits says:

      “I bet you or London Mayor and the Conservative Party don’t care about the people who are on low income or benefits need to get London for medical check up etc.” <-- please don't make guesses about what I think on this issue. Thanks

  26. Paul Simmons says:

    Even if this were cost-neutral to the passenger this is a step backwards for transport connectivity and convenience.

    Currently my mother uses a paper day Travelcard, with her senior railcard, to flit from Hertford to the city. It’s convenient and easy for her to purchase from the ticket office, or even the machine if she has to. I can see this being a nightmare juggling a paper ticket and railcard-loaded Oyster, she’s not very confident and I expect will end up getting ripped off somewhere on the way.

    The solution will probably be a paper senior-railcard return to Tottenham Hale/Finsbury Park and then buses for free. She’ll probably like that but it’s a sign of a failed system.

    • Paul says:

      Also she doesn’t have an Oyster any more! Does anyone know if you can load a railcard discount at a NR ticket office? If not, the first journey to London ends up being undiscounted, in order to find somewhere to load it!

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