Londoners to pay slashed travel fares on Friday as Sadiq Khan launches £24m trial scheme to boost economy

28 January 2024, 09:02 | Updated: 28 January 2024, 09:04

TfL fares are set to be slashed on Friday under a new trial by the London mayor.
TfL fares are set to be slashed on Friday under a new trial by the London mayor. Picture: Alamy/Getty

By Jenny Medlicott

Tube and train fares in London could be slashed on Fridays under a new £24m scheme to be trialled by Sadiq Khan.

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The mayor of London has asked Transport for London (TfL), which he chairs, to trial reduce Tube and train fairs on Friday in a bid to boost passenger numbers and the economy.

The three-month trial would make Friday fares off-peak prices for commuters.

It is hoped the trial will increase revenue within the hospitality sector following a fall in spending on Fridays by encouraging workers to travel in and subsequently spend more eating out for lunch or enjoying after-work drinks.

Peak fares in London apply on weekdays between 6:30am and 9:30am and between 4pm and 7pm on TfL and mainline rail services within London.

Currently, a commuter travelling on the Tube at peak times from Zone 6 to Zone 1 in central London would pay £5.60 per journey.

Under the trial, this figure would drop to £3.60 on Fridays - a saving of £2 per journey.

The London Mayor has allocated £24m from his budget for the 2024-2025 financial year to support the trial - which will require the support of the wider rail industry.

Read more: Sadiq Khan freezes London Tube and bus fares until 2025 in boost for commuters

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The trial will last three months.
The trial will last three months. Picture: Alamy

It comes as TfL figures show that the number of people travelling on the Tube post-pandemic has dropped by 15% - and by 27% on Fridays.

Mr Khan said in a statement: “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."

Kate Nicholls, chief executive of industry body UKHospitality, said: "There's no doubt that Fridays have suffered as a result of changes to working patterns since the pandemic, and hospitality businesses have felt that loss of commuter trade.

"Responding to these challenges with innovative trials like off-peak Fridays is exactly the type of flexible approach needed to boost journey numbers and stimulate footfall in our venues."

Mr Khan hopes it will provide a boost to the economy.
Mr Khan hopes it will provide a boost to the economy. Picture: Getty

It comes after the London mayor announced last week announced TfL fares will be frozen until March 2025.

He said he "wasn't prepared to stand by" while passengers pay more for public transport.

The freeze will apply to pay-as-you-go fares for bus, Tube, DLR and tram journeys, and the majority of those fares for London Overground and Elizabeth line trips.

Mr Khan said this will be paid for by allocating £123 million of Greater London Authority funding.

Susan Hall, his Conservative opponent in May's mayoral election, described the fares freeze as a "last roll of the dice".