The Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, has today announced that he has asked TfL to run a groundbreaking three-month trial whereby all London Tube and Rail fares are made off-peak on Fridays.
The Mayor has asked for this trial to help TfL and rail operators to better understand how off-peak fares on a Friday could help drive ridership and boost London’s wider economic recovery.
The trial is expected to begin in March and last for three months. It will be keenly watched by other global cities struggling to bounce back after the pandemic.
The news comes just a week after the Mayor announced that he is freezing TfL fares for another year from March to ease the cost-of-living for millions of Londoners. Off-peak Fridays could benefit all Londoners, especially those concerned about the national rail increases from March. This promotion would enable them to commute more regularly for less.
Peak fares apply between 06:30 and 09:30 and between 16:00 and 19:00 on both TfL and National Rail services in London. Making Fridays off-peak would make it cheaper for people to travel – potentially supporting economic growth by encouraging more people back onto public transport and into the office on a day that is currently quieter than other weekdays. Cities around the UK and Globe are seeing similar patterns.
Off-peak fares could also help encourage more people into the city on a Friday to make the most of London’s fantastic offering of bars, restaurants, live music venues and theatres. Those who choose to come into the city on Fridays will also be able to make the most of London’s world-leading nightlife, with so many fantastic events and venues to experience this year.
As part of his pioneering plan to ‘revitalise Fridays’, the Mayor is working with businesses, the hospitality sector and other key stakeholders to encourage more Londoners back into the city on Fridays. Off-peak Friday fares could play a huge role in catalysing this behavioural shift.
Off-peak Friday fares could give a much-needed boost to London’s businesses at a time when the cost-of-living continues to bite. As an example, someone commuting in from Zone 6 into Zone 1 would currently pay £5.60 for travelling on the Tube. Under this trial, this fare would be reduced to £3.60 – saving them £2. Someone commuting from Richmond (Zone 4) to Hammersmith (Zone 2) currently pay £2.80 for the trip. This fare would be reduced down to £1.90 – saving them 90p.
Midweek ridership on the Tube is now up to 85 per cent of pre-pandemic levels, with weekend ridership around 100 per cent, but Fridays are consistently lower at around 73 per cent. Making transport even more attractive and affordable on Fridays could give ridership the boost it needs and support TfL’s and London’s recovery from the pandemic.
The Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan said: “London is the greatest city in the world. From the bustling office districts to its rich offering of bars, restaurants, galleries and theatres, I want everyone to be able to make the most all week of living or working in London.
“I’m doing all I can to support Londoners with 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 even more. London has really bounced back since the pandemic, but the lack of commuters returning on Fridays is a clear exception – with a major knock-on effect on our shops, cafes and cultural venues. That’s why I’ve asked TfL to trial off-peak fares on Fridays, and I encourage Londoners to get involved.
“A trial will help us to see if it’s an effective way of increasing ridership and giving a welcome boost to businesses as we continue to build a better, fairer, more prosperous London for everyone.”