UK

Sadiq Khan launches £24m trial to cut Tube and rail fares on Fridays

The scheme is aimed at encouraging more people back onto public transport and into offices on that day.

Tube and train fares in London and surrounding areas will be reduced on Fridays in a £24 million trial from next week
A Tube sign Tube and train fares in London and surrounding areas will be reduced on Fridays in a £24 million trial from next week (Alamy Stock Photo)

Tube and train fares in London and surrounding areas will be reduced on Fridays in a £24 million trial from next week.

Mayor of London Sadiq Khan announced that passengers using contactless and Oyster cards for travel on Fridays will be charged off-peak fares from March 8 until the end of May.

This is aimed at encouraging more people back onto public transport and into offices on that day.

Sadiq Khan said he is ‘doing all I can to support Londoners through the cost-of-living crisis’
London Underground fares Sadiq Khan said he is ‘doing all I can to support Londoners through the cost-of-living crisis’ (Stefan Rousseau/PA)

Peak pay-as-you-go fares apply on Tube and rail services in London on weekdays between 6.30am and 9.30am, and between 4pm and 7pm.

Someone commuting by Tube from Zone 6 in outer London into Zone 1 in the centre of the capital at peak times currently pays £5.60 per journey.

Under the trial, this fare will be cut to £3.60 on Fridays.

The pilot will also see 60+ and Freedom Pass cards – which cannot be used before 9am on weekdays – being valid all day on Fridays.

Mr Khan has allocated £24 million from his budget for the 2024/25 financial year to compensate TfL and train operators for revenue lost during the trial.

TfL statistics show midweek ridership on the Tube is at 85% of pre-pandemic levels, but the figure for Fridays is just 73%.

It is hoped increasing the number of workers going to offices on Fridays would raise revenue for the hospitality sector through additional spending on lunches, after-work drinks and evening entertainment.

Mr Khan said: “I’m doing all I can to support Londoners through the cost-of-living crisis and to support London’s economic recovery.

“This includes freezing TfL fares for another year to make transport more affordable for millions of Londoners and to encourage more people to use our transport network. But I want to do more.

“Encouraging more people back into the city on Fridays could give a much-needed boost to the hospitality, business and leisure sectors, supporting London’s wider economic growth as we continue to build a fairer, greener and more prosperous London for everyone.

“So, I’m making a call to all Londoners: to help London keep roaring back – let’s do Fridays.”

TfL chief technology officer Shashi Verma said: “While millions of people travel using bus, Tube and rail services across London every day, we are still seeing ridership on Fridays, particularly during peak hours, being lower than other days of the week.

“This trial of making Fridays off-peak will help us better understand how targeted initiatives like this could help potentially support economic growth by encouraging more people back onto public transport and into the office on a day that is currently quieter than other weekdays.”

Jacqueline Starr, chief executive of rail industry body the Rail Delivery Group, said: “We’re pleased that train companies are able to work with Transport for London to offer this trial to customers and we hope it will encourage more people onto trains in the capital.”

“We know that people value rail and as seen from our latest research they plan to use it more in the upcoming months.”

The daily pay-as-you-go price cap on Fridays will be amended to an off-peak rate on Fridays during the trial.

Paper single tickets and Day Travelcards will still have peak-time restrictions.