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Sadiq Khan freezes Transport for London fares for a year

Mayor of London Sadiq Khan chairs TfL (Yui Mok/PA)
Mayor of London Sadiq Khan chairs TfL (Yui Mok/PA)

Transport for London (TfL) fares will be frozen until March next year, Sadiq Khan has announced.

The Labour mayor of London, who chairs TfL, said he “wasn’t prepared to stand by” while passengers pay more for public transport.

Susan Hall, his Conservative opponent in May’s mayoral election, described the policy as a “last roll of the dice”.

The freeze will apply to pay-as-you-go fares for bus, Tube, DLR and tram journeys, and the majority of those fares for London Overground and Elizabeth line trips.

Mr Khan said this will be paid for by allocating £123 million of Greater London Authority funding.

Conservative politicians previously criticised Mr Khan for freezing fares for the first four years after he was elected in May 2016, claiming this damaged TfL’s finances and contributed to the transport body being reliant on Government bailouts following the start of the coronavirus pandemic.

Mr Khan has insisted the need for funding was caused by the collapse in revenue from the drop in passenger numbers due to the virus crisis.

City Hall said an example of the benefits of the freeze include someone commuting from Hornchurch to a central London station five days a week avoiding a potential 20p increase to their fare, saving up to £90 a year.

By contrast, the Government set a cap of 4.9% for rises in regulated fares on mainline train services in England from March 3.

City Hall calculated that TfL fares will be 14% lower this year than if they had risen in line with England’s rail fares since 2016.

Mr Khan said: “While people across the country face another hike in their rail fares, I simply wasn’t prepared to stand by and see TfL customers face a similar hike.

“This is the fifth fares freeze I’ve done since becoming mayor, making transport in our city 21% cheaper than it would have been had fares risen by inflation.

“This shows that whenever I can freeze fares, I do so.

“As we continue building a fairer, greener and more prosperous London for everyone, making public transport more affordable and appealing will continue to be a key part of my plan.”

Ms Hall said: “This fares freeze is Sadiq Khan’s last roll of the dice, because he knows that his eight years of failure will catch up with him this May.

“After pleading poverty throughout his mayoralty, Sadiq Khan expects us to believe that he has miraculously conjured up this money, when the truth is we will be paying for it through increased council tax, his unfair Ulez expansion and a new tax that will charge you for every mile you drive.”

A spokesperson for Mr Kahn said: “Pay per mile charging has been ruled out by the mayor and no such scheme is on the table.”

The fares freeze will not include paper Travelcards, which can also be used for mainline rail journeys in the capital.

Some 80% of Tube journeys and 74% of bus journeys are made on a pay-as-you-go basis, City Hall said.

Mr Khan also announced that fines for fare dodgers will rise from £80 to £100 – reduced to £50 if paid within 21 days – from March 3.

In January last year, the Department for Transport increased the penalty fare on rail services to £100.