The Mayor of London has announced that Transport for London (TfL) fares will rise by 5.9% from 5th March 2023 – which is in line with the Government’s increase to national rail fares.

The fares rise was required to at least match the national fares increase as part of the government funding agreement, otherwise, TfL would need to find the gap from its own resources. However, the fares rise is below the rate of inflation, so while beneficial for customers, will put added pressure on TfL to cut costs.

The full breakdown of which fares will change is still to be released by the Mayor’s office, but in a statement, said that pay-as-you-go tube journeys within Zone 1 will rise by 30p — from £2.50 to £2.80 — which equates to a rise of around 12% for those fares. The Mayor said that as journeys solely within Zone 1 are more likely to be made for tourism or leisure, that allows for a lower fares rise outside Zone 1.

Proposed Bus and tram fares

  Current March 2023 Increase
PAYG – single £1.65 £1.75 6.1%
PAYG – daily cap £4.95 £5.25 6.1%
7 Day Bus & Tram Pass £23.30 £24.70 6.0%

Zonal – Proposed Daily and weekly caps

  Current 2023 Increase
Zones Daily Weekly Daily Weekly Daily Weekly
1 & 2 £7.70 £38.50 £8.10 £40.50 5.2% 5.2%
1-3 £9.00 £45.00 £9.60 £48.00 6.7% 6.7%
1-4 £11.00 £55.00 £11.70 £58.50 6.4% 6.4%
1-5 £13.10 £65.50 £13.90 £69.50 6.1% 6.1%
1-6 £14.10 £70.50 £14.90 £74.50 5.7% 5.7%

The temporary restriction on 60+ and Older Person’s Freedom Pass concessions to after 9am on weekdays, in line with the rest of the country, which was imposed at the start of the pandemic — originally to reduce rush hour crowding, and later to save money — is to be made permanent. This is expected to save TfL around £40 million a year.

However, a plan to progressively raise the age at which the 60+ concession comes into effect to lift it to 65 over the next decade has been cancelled, and the costs will be covered by the Mayor’s office from its council tax precept.

Disabled Person’s Freedom Pass holders won’t see any change.

The Deputy Mayor for Transport, Seb Dance, has also written to London NHS Trust and GP bodies to request that medical appointments for those aged 60 and over are, where possible and appropriate, scheduled to occur after 9am to help ensure that free travel can be used to and from their appointments.

In addition, the bus Hopper fare will rise by 10p to £1.75. Since it was introduced in September 2016, almost 800 million Hopper fare journeys have been made.

TfL also continues to consider a separate proposal to generate additional income by withdrawing from the Travelcard Agreement. This would require the support of the Government and the Train Operating Companies due to the impact on Travelcard usage in London, especially for customers travelling from outside London where PAYG is not available.

The fares rise was announced as part of the Mayor’s annual budget statement, which will see the Mayor seeking £1.3 billion. To raise that, the Mayor is proposing to increase his share of council tax bills from £395.59 a year to £434.14 (Band D household) for residents of the 32 boroughs – an overall increase of £38.55.

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7 comments
  1. Andy T says:

    An average increase on Council Tax of £3.21 a month to retain the over 60s card makes a lot of sense, after all those on the lowest incomes will still be able to claim some benefits to mitigate the increase.

    My concern is if Jeremy Corbyn runs for Mayor, whether he would be good or not is irrelevant, what is relevant is it is highly possible that the vote will be split between Corbyn and Khan letting in the Conservatives, which if how they run the country is anything to go by, it will be a car crash in real time for London.

  2. Battersea Resident. says:

    It’s nonsensical to offer non-means tested free transport to those aged 60-65 purely because of age. People of that age are some of the wealthiest in the country both in terms of incomes and also assets (of the generation that could afford to buy houses). Why should I, a younger person with no assets on a far lower salary, have to pay increased council tax to fund free transport for people who have a greater means to pay than I?

    An outrageously regressive and ageist policy that needs to be challenged.

    • Andy T says:

      There are plenty of over 60s that are poor, should they all be denied this in case wealthy pensioners benefit?

      £3 a month isn’t much for what can be a lifeline for many, a pint of beer costs more than that.

    • Brian Butterworth says:

      Battersea Resident: It would be much more effective to give a sliding discount to younger adult London residents, say 100% at 16 down to nothing at 24.

      This would encourage public transport use as a habit and benefit those who’s “minimum wage” rates are held below the adult rate as little as £5.28/hour.

  3. John says:

    How much does the Travelcard arrangement cost? I am a leisure traveller into London from outside the TFL zones. Purely for me, a paper based travel card that accepts railcard discounts is the quickest, easiest and cheapest way to get into and travel around London for the day.
    The removal of single, flexible ticket, seems to be a disincentive to travel to me.

  4. TravelcardUser says:

    Withdrawal of the Travelcard Agreement is a very controversial and a damaging move for TFL and the Mayor of London. A freedom of information requests reveal an increase in Travelcard (One Day and season) sales by millions of people).

    https://tfl.gov.uk/corporate/transparency/freedom-of-information/foi-request-detail?referenceId=FOI-2365-2223
    https://tfl.gov.uk/corporate/transparency/freedom-of-information/foi-request-detail?referenceId=FOI-2089-2223
    https://tfl.gov.uk/corporate/transparency/freedom-of-information/foi-request-detail?referenceId=FOI-2231-2223

    This will cause significant frustration, specifically for people outside of Greater London which are not covered by Oyster/Contactless PAYG (i.e. Esher), infrequent visitors, tourists, disabled (as they use Railcards for discounts) etc. Hence the reason their decision is subject to Equality Impact Assessment and consultation.

    I do mention other areas in England and elsewhere already have their own multi-mode one day, weekly and season tickets. It will be unfair for London if TFL and the Mayor proceeds with withdrawing from the Travelcard Agreement.

    And yet, the government encourages more Local Transport Authorities to create their own multi-mode ticketing as stated on their Bus Service Improvement Plan:

    “There must be seamless, integrated local ticketing between operators and this should be across all types of transport

    85. The Strategy sets out a bold ambition for an integrated ticketing approach to allow passengers to buy a through journey for local bus, rail and metro with a single tap on a smartphone. BSIPs should set out at a high level what is required to deliver nofuss, multi-operator tickets and price caps on contactless credit and debit cards, at little or no premium to single operator fares, and where appropriate how this could be expanded to tickets that cover all travel modes (bus, light rail/metro, rail). All buses should accept contactless payment and all operators running on the same route should accept the same tickets.”

    https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/985379/bus-service-improvement-plans-guidance-to-local-authorities-and-bus-operators.pdf

    Although the Travelcard Agreement with Train Operating Companies has been in place on a commercial basis since 1995. I’d be interested to see if withdrawing from the Travelcard Agreement could conflict with the Mayor’s statutory general transport duty as stated in section 141 of the Greater London Authority Act 1999.

    (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.

    https://www.legislation.gov.uk/ukpga/1999/29/section/141

  5. Colin Newman says:

    The over 60s have paid and/or are paying council tax precept to the GLA, so are contributing to the cost of their 60+ “free” travel. Also, the concession causes people to leave their car at home if they have one.

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