South West London commuters set for savings as part-time travelcards given green light


Part-time workers could benefit from the new system.


By Stuart Clarke and Jonny Green

Part-time workers in South West London are set for significant savings after the Mayor of London announced plans to introduce flexible travelcards from January 2015.

The new system, which could take the form of a three-day ticket, would offer better value than Pay As You Go and current fixed-term travelcards.

Fielding questions from London Assembly members on his proposed budget for 2014-15, Boris Johnson confirmed the proposal to bear down on travel costs for part-time workers.

“Part-time and flexible workers make a terrific contribution to London’s economy and often earn little more than the minimum wage,” the Mayor said.

“I have therefore asked Transport for London (TfL) to introduce ticketing which specifically addresses the needs of part-time workers from January 2015.”

The Mayor added that the introduction of contactless bank card payments on the underground and other rail services later this year would provide a golden opportunity for TfL to develop more flexible ticketing products.

Currently, the only travelcard options for part-time workers in the capital are weekly or monthly, despite many of them only using the system two or three times per week.

Following fare rises on January 19, a weekly adult travelcard for zones 1-6 now costs £57.20 while a single journey through those zones at peak times costs £5.

The Trades Union Congress (TUC) welcomed the plans and urged the Mayor to make the travelcards available as soon as possible.

A TUC spokesperson said: “Unions have long supported part-time travelcards as a way to make commuting into London affordable for people who need to balance work with their caring responsibilities.”

TfL estimate that launching part-time travelcards will cost £40 million per annum.

Greater London Authority Conservative member Roger Evans hopes the introduction will encourage full-time workers to work from home once or twice a week and help reduce overcrowding on London’s public transport.

The announcement marks a change of thought from the Mayor who looked to have dismissed the idea back in October.

“I am not going to fool around and pretend that I am going to go off and ask TfL to look at this again,” he said at the time.

“They have looked at it and have concluded that it is not a sensible way forward.”

Caroline Pidgeon, leader of the Lib Dems’ London Assembly Group, was pleased the Mayor had changed his stance.

“Only months ago he totally rejected the idea, as he has over the last three years when I presented the idea at each budget round,” Ms Pidgeon said.

“It is time that people who work part-time or work regularly from home are not penalised by an old fashioned fare structure.”

Photo courtesy of Liberal Democrats, with thanks.

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