London Travelwatch, the capital’s transport watchdog, has published its response to Mayor Sadiq Khan’s consultation over the controversial proposal to withdraw the one-day travelcard.
And the organisation is deeply unimpressed, claiming that removing the travelcard from the roster of fare-paying options will increase travelling costs in London and unfairly disadvantage the poor and disabled as well as older and younger Londoners. The organisation’s previous research suggests more than 1.5million people in the capital will be stung if the travelcard is scrapped.
Travelwatch highlights that 1-in-6 people in London say they can’t use or don’t have access to a smartphone or internet connection and so are unable to buy a ticket. And that 1-in-5 Londoners say they have paid more for travel because they are not able to buy tickets online or by using mobile apps.
The scrapping of the Travelcard after almost 40 years is in response to central Government’s financial restrictions on Transport for London, following the catastrophic impact on its finances during the covid lockdown in 2020.
“As required by conditions of the Government’s funding settlements, we are considering proposals to generate additional income,” TfL said when announcing its proposals.
“One of these proposals is withdrawal from elements of the Travelcard Agreement, such as TfL’s acceptance of day travelcards.” it states.
Under the proposals, the daily paper tickets would no longer be sold or accepted on TfL Tube, bus, rail, tram and London Overground services. Passengers travelling from outside Greater London would be forced to use contactless or Oyster cards.
At their peak, in 2018, 27million travelcards were sold. Travelwatch says, post-lockdown, sales had recovered to 15million day travelcards last year, “highlighting that demand for this type of ticket remains very high”.
Travelcards offer unlimited travel on services within London. If child day travelcards were no longer be available, those outside of London would have to apply for a Zipcard, which provides free and discounted travel in London for those aged under 18.
Inside Croydon reported last month on the consultation submission from the East Surrey Transport Committee, which represents public transport passengers in Sutton, Coulsdon and parts of Surrey, which said that scrapping the day travelcard “will make London a more expensive and less attractive to visit and will make people think again about travelling to London”.
London Travelwatch appears to be largely in agreement.
“Scrapping the travelcard right in the middle of a cost-of-living squeeze will make things more challenging and expensive for many passengers and potentially put them off from travelling into and around the capital.
“Young and disabled people especially will lose out and end up having to pay more as the alternative of using contactless payment does not allow for railcard discounts to be applied.
“In our consultation response, we also highlighted that some passengers are unable to use digital and contactless payment methods altogether. The proposed withdrawal of the travelcard in favour of contactless and Oyster would disproportionately impact these 1-in-6 Londoners who say they are unable to buy a ticket as they can’t use or don’t have access to a smartphone or internet connection.”
Travelwatch even provides examples to illustrate the way the travelcard, currently, saves passengers money.
An off-peak day travelcard ticket from Brighton to London costs £40.90. An off-peak return from Brighton to London costs £35.40.
For the extra £5.50, the passenger using a travelcard has unlimited travel within Zones 1-6 on most TfL and National Rail services.
“If the day travelcard is no longer an option,” Travelwatch says, “people may have to pay up to £14.90 (the PAYG cap for Zones 1-6) for equivalent travel once they’re in London, plus their train ticket.
“This would be a total of £50.30, 23per cent more than the current day travelcard.”
And Travelwatch adds: “Railcards and concessions can also be used to purchase day travelcards, giving holders a significant discount, and again providing a more affordable travel option. People who will instead have to use PAYG contactless payments won’t be able to benefit from this as you cannot attach concessions or railcards to contactless payment options, such as age-related discounts.
“Similarly, while some concessions can be linked to Oyster cards, not all can.”
- You can read London Travelwatch’s full submission to the Mayor of London’s consultation by clicking here
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