Free peak travel for Freedom Pass and 60+ card holders suspended
From Monday 15 June, changes to the ticketing system will mean Older Person’s Freedom Pass, 60+ Oyster photocard and English National Concessionary Scheme passes will be automatically deactivated between 4:30am and 9am Monday to Friday.
This will affect around 900,000 Older Person’s Freedom Pass holders and 370,000 60+ Oyster card holders in London. Holders of the English National Concessionary Travel Scheme will also be affected but as this is a national scheme the number of directly impacted users will be “minimal”.
However, these passes will be valid after 9am during the week and at all times on the weekend and bank holidays.
If passengers have no option other than to use public transport during the morning peak, such as those aged over 60 who are key workers, TfL recommends using pay as you go with a contactless card or mobile device, or an Oyster card.
It added there are no plans for a reimbursement scheme for NHS/care workers as a result of these changes.
Disabled Freedom Pass holders aren’t affected by this change so they will still be able to travel.
However, given the coronavirus pandemic, the public are reminded to only use public transport where absolutely essential, and maintain 2m social distancing where possible. From today, passengers will also need to wear face coverings.
The temporary suspension of free peak travel comes as a funding deal was struck between the government and TfL. As part of the deal, the Congestion Charge will also rise to £15 a day from 22 June.
It also comes as data from TfL revealed that during the lockdown, Freedom Pass and 60+ users have represented over 10% of the morning travel demand, compared to 5% in February. By suspending free travel for older, more vulnerable passengers, this should also help control the spread of the Covid-19 virus.
The suspension policy will be kept under review and TfL “will continue to work with the government regarding how long the restrictions are needed”.