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‘Off-peak Fridays’ trial set to make commute cheaper

‘Off-peak Fridays’ trial set to make commute cheaper
Paloma Kubiak
Written By:
Paloma Kubiak

A ‘groundbreaking’ trial could see commuters pay less on all London tube and rail fares on Fridays, in a bid to increase passenger footfall and lure punters back to the Capital’s nightlife scene.

The Mayor of London Sadiq Khan has asked Transport for London (TfL) to run a three-month trial offering all London tube and rail fares at off-peak prices on Fridays.

The trial is expected to begin in March and would temporarily do away with peak fares on Fridays which currently apply between 6:30 and 9:30am and 4-7pm on TfL and National Rail services in London.

As an example, someone commuting in from zone six into zone one would currently pay £5.60 for travelling on the tube. Under this trial, this fare would be reduced to £3.60, saving them £2.

Someone commuting from Richmond (zone four) to Hammersmith (zone two) currently pays £2.80 for the trip. This fare would be reduced down to £1.90, saving them 90p.

The Mayor said he’s asked for this trial “to better understand how off-peak fares on a Friday could help drive ridership and boost London’s wider economic recovery”.

It comes as midweek tube use is now at up to 85% compared to pre-pandemic levels and continues to grow. Weekend use is at 100% while Friday tube use remains lower at around 73%.

Khan said the hope is that by making transport more affordable on Fridays – at a time when National Rail fares are set to rise by 4.9% in March 2024 – it would support TfL’s and London’s recovery from the pandemic.

‘Supporting London’s economic recovery’

The Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, said: “London is the greatest city in the world. From the bustling office districts to its rich offering of bars, restaurants, galleries and theatres, I want everyone to be able to make the most all week of living or working in London.

“I’m doing all I can to support Londoners with the cost-of-living crisis and to support London’s economic recovery. This includes freezing TfL fares for another year to make transport more affordable for millions of Londoners and to encourage more people to use our transport network.

“But I want to do even more. London has really bounced back since the pandemic, but the lack of commuters returning on Fridays is a clear exception – with a major knock-on effect on our shops, cafes and cultural venues. That’s why I’ve asked TfL to trial off-peak fares on Fridays, and I encourage Londoners to get involved.

“A trial will help us to see if it’s an effective way of increasing ridership and giving a welcome boost to businesses as we continue to build a better, fairer, more prosperous London for everyone.”

He added that the trial “will be keenly watched by other global cities struggling to bounce back after the pandemic”.