Transport for London has confirmed that holders of the Older Person’s Freedom Pass, 60+ Oyster photocard and English National Concessionary Scheme pass will be unable to travel on its services before 9am on weekdays from June 15th unless they pay for their journey.
Under the terms of the funding package agreed by City Hall, the UK Government and TfL, free travel for over 60s is to be restricted to non-peak hours in order to free up space for those unable to work from home and to help maintain social distancing.
Changes will be made to Oyster readers and ticket gates which will mean cards aren’t valid during the Monday to Friday morning peak (04:30 to 09:00).
TfL says the cards will continue to be valid at all other times on weekdays and all day on weekends and Bank Holidays, and stresses that the changes do not affect disabled Freedom Pass holders who will be able to travel at all times.
Shashi Verma, Chief Technology Officer at Transport for London said: “We are working hard to ensure that those who have no option other than to travel using public transport can do so safely.
“Given the national requirement to maintain two-metre social distancing, the capacity of buses and trains is hugely reduced.
“These temporary changes to the Older Person’s Freedom Pass and 60+ Oyster card pass during morning peak travel will help reduce the risk of crowding when it would be more difficult to maintain social distancing.”
The 60+ Oyster card is operated and funded by TfL which says it will contact all pass holders to inform them of the changes.
The agency is also working with London Councils, which funds and runs the Freedom Pass scheme, to ensure scheme members are aware of the changes.
Funding for the Freedom Pass is determined by a long-standing formula which is based on the previous two years’ journey numbers.
Although councils won’t see any reduction in the £318m bill to run the scheme in the current year, a London Councils briefing sent to councillors last month suggested they would collectively save between £30 and £45 million in 2021/22, with further savings expected the following year, due to a decrease in journey numbers resulting from the lockdown.