Thousands of Londoners benefited from a free second bus journey this morning as Sadiq Khan’s ‘Hopper’ bus fare came into operation.
One of the Mayor’s flagship election pledges, the Hopper allows anyone switching buses or trams within an hour of starting their journey to make two journeys for the price of one.
By 9am around 25,000 free second journeys had been made and City Hall and Transport for London estimate that around 30m will become free each year as a result of the policy.
The Hopper will be automatically applied to journeys paid for by Oyster Pay As You Go and Contactless, meaning passengers don’t need to take any action to benefit.
The new fare will end what many see as an injustice for bus and tram users who, unlike those traveling by train and Tube, must pay a separate fare each time they switch bus or tram to complete their journey.
Launching the Hopper in Tooting, Mayor Khan said: “Today is a landmark day for transport in London, and I’m hugely proud that our new ‘Hopper’ fare will make bus travel cheaper for millions of Londoners travelling around our city.
“It wasn’t right that Londoners had to pay twice simply to change buses, and the ‘Hopper’ will make 30m journeys free every year.
“It will make a particular difference to low income families – many of whom still spend a large proportion of their wages on essential travel costs.
Shashi Verma, TfL’s Director of Customer Experience, says a future update to the technology powering Oyster will allow passengers to benefit from unlimited bus and tram transfers within a one hour period.
Mayor Khan has set a target for the updated system to be introduced by 2018.
Similar one hour bus fares have been proposed by other parties at City Hall, including the Liberal Democrats on the London Assembly.
Today the party’s AM, Caroline Pidgeon, said: “I have been campaigning for a One Hour Bus Ticket for the best part of a decade in London so very much welcome its final introduction from today. Imitation sometimes is the greatest form of flattery.”