It’s no surprise that Londoners love a bargain. After all, with today’s rising prices and the eye-watering cost of living, we’re looking for savings when and where we can. Let’s face it, we can’t even contemplate ordering an avo on a paltry slice of sourdough or a decent coffee, without criticism that we are splurging.
So, of course any rumours of changes to ticket prices on London Underground have therefore understandably got us all of a flutter. That those prices may be going down, rather than on an upward trajectory have sent collective pulses soaring.
But wait a moment, what is the story? And is there any actual truth to it?
At the weekend reports emerged in the press, including the i paper that Transport for London in consultation with Mayor Sadiq Khan has plans to consider making Fridays an off-peak day for London Underground in a bid to boost numbers and get people using the tube once more. The rumoured proposal was seen as a response to a growing decline in commuters on Mondays and Fridays, as our post Covid hybrid working culture means that many employees who WFH do, on those days and part-timers will also plump for the middle of the week.
Midweek travel on TfL now sees 25% more passengers commuting than the start and end of the week and overall capacity is still lower than pre-pandemic, averaging around 82% of 2019 levels. All this, plus the revenue lost through fare dodging means that income from travel for TfL is down significantly, This has led to rising fare prices by an average of nearly 6% across TfL services. It’s no wonder that budget-conscious travellers have greeted the idea of cheap Fridays enthusiastically.
Sadly, it appears that, for the time being at least, the idea won’t be taken up by TfL. A spokesperson has denied that there is any truth to the rumour and reported that there were no immediate plans to change Fridays to being off-peak, despite the fact that many of us might do that ‘unofficially’, in terms of our productively.
In the meantime, what can you do to keep costs down? Well, if there’s some flexibility to your journey try to travel off-peak, and make sure you are using pay as you go: this is cheaper than buying single tickets and you get daily and weekly capping. Start your journey before 6.30am, between 9.30am and 3.59pm, or after 7pm on weekdays. Or, travel anytime on weekends and bank holidays (assuming there aren’t engineering works). The Night Tube and London Overground Night Services are also off-peak, which is a banging endorsement for commuting vampires and/or goths.
How do you feel about public transport? Most Londoners love it.
Need to cut travel costs? Check if you can get a free TfL pass via friends and family who work there.