TfL to trial off-peak fares on Fridays for London Tube and rail services

Posted: 30 January 2024 | | No comments yet

In order to support the city as it continues to feel the impact of the pandemic and cost-of-living crisis, the Mayor has called on Transport for London to reduce Tube and rail fares to off-peak prices all day on Fridays.

TfL to trial off-peak fares on Fridays for London Tube and rail services

The Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, has announced that he has asked Transport for London (TfL) to run a groundbreaking three-month trial whereby all London Underground (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 to drive ridership and boost London’s wider economic recovery. The trial is expected to begin in March 2024 and last for three months. It will be keenly watched by other global cities that are struggling to bounce back after the COVID-19 pandemic.

The news comes just after the Mayor announced that he is freezing TfL fares for another year from March 2024 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 2024. 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 the globe are seeing similar patterns. Off-peak fares could also help to encourage more people into the city on a Friday to make the most of London’s offering of bars, restaurants, live music venues and theatres, as well as its nightlife.

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 crisis continues have an impact. 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. Someone commuting from Richmond (Zone 4) to Hammersmith (Zone 2) currently pays £2.80 for the trip, but this fare would be reduced down to £1.90.

Midweek ridership on the Tube is now up to 85% of pre-pandemic levels, with weekend ridership around 100%, but Fridays are consistently lower at around 73%. Making transport even more attractive and affordable on Fridays could give ridership the boost that it needs and support TfL’s and London’s recovery from the pandemic.   

The Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, said: “I’m doing all that 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,” he concluded.