Weekly Oyster Pay As You Go fare caps are coming to bus and tram services from next week, with rail passengers benefitting from the feature by next Spring.
The cap, which is already available to those paying by contactless card and smart devices, ensures passengers never pay more than the cost of a weekly travelcard but without requiring them to plan or pay ahead for their week’s travel.
It will be available to bus and tram users from December 7th and, subject to trials being carried out by Transport for London and rail operators, on the Tube and trains by Spring 2019.
The start date was announced by Mayor Sadiq Khan on Friday as he also confirmed his TfL fares freeze would continue for a third year.
The freeze, which some say is a contributing factor in TfL’s budget pressures, excludes travelcards and daily and weekly caps for rail services which are set in agreement with the train operators, and which will rise by 3.1 per cent.
Mayor Khan said: “I’m delighted to confirm that TfL fares will be frozen once again from next January.
“For Oyster Card users, the introduction of new weekly capping will help people save even more money from next month.
“Our TfL fares freeze is in contrast to the failing private rail companies, who are once again hitting London’s suburban rail passengers with an unjustified fares hike.
“Given the daily experience of cancellations and overcrowding, the hike in rail fares is another kick in the teeth for fed-up rail passengers.”
Shashi Verma, Chief Technology Officer at TfL said: “We are committed to ensuring that customers pay the lowest correct fare by making our fares system as simple and easy to use as possible.
“The convenience of weekly capping was one of the main customer benefits when we introduced contactless and we are delighted that after several years of hard work we are now able to start offering the same benefits to Oyster customers.”
TfL is running a deficit of £1 billion for the current financial year and has already scaled down or delayed spending in several key areas. In light of this, Assembly members recently called on TfL to say how much continuing the fares freeze for a further mayoral term would cost.
Speaking after the Mayor’s fares freeze announcement Gareth Bacon, Chair of the London Assembly’s Budget and Performance Committee, said: “This serves as a timely reminder of how much the fares freeze policy has affected the finances of London’s transportation supplier, TfL.
“Estimates that the Mayor’s current fares freeze will cost around £640 million over the four-year Mayoral term, combined with delays to the opening of Crossrail, have compounded the problems.
“TfL is in choppy waters and a calm captain is required to steer the organisation through the coming years.
“This is exactly why the Budget and Performance Committee is asking TfL to publish how much a second fares freeze for the next Mayoral term would cost, as soon as possible.
“Londoners and visitors deserve affordable travel but crowd-pleasing policies must be properly costed, due to the serious implications they will have on the future financial viability of TfL.”