Mayor pledges £123m to keep prices down as opponents accuse him of trying to buy re-election votes
Londoners will not pay anything more for single tube and bus fares until at least March 2025 after the mayor, Sadiq Khan, announced a fare freeze.
Transport costs will however continue to rise for people making multiple journeys, as travelcards and daily and weekly fare caps for contactless pay-as-you-go journeys will rise in line with national fares, which are due to go up by 4.9% in the spring.
Khan said he would provide £123m of extra funding to Transport for London (TfL) from the Greater London Authority budget to keep fares down, to support passengers struggling with the cost of living and to aid the city’s recovery from the pandemic.
Many single tube fares would have risen by another 20p had TfL matched government-set fare increases, adding about £90 a year to the cost of a typical commute, according to City Hall.
The intervention comes just months before the next mayoral election in May and two weeks after Khan provided £30m to prevent a threatened prolonged strike on the London Underground over pay.
He originally froze fares when elected mayor in 2016 until March 2021, when TfL agreed to increase prices as a condition of central government emergency funding during the pandemic.
Commenting on the fresh single fare freeze, Khan said: “Not only will this put money back in people’s pockets, making transport more affordable for millions of Londoners, but will encourage people back on to our public transport network. This will help to boost London’s culture, retail and hospitality sectors.”
He said the repeated freezes had made Transport for London 21% cheaper in real terms in the face of high inflation, adding: “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.”
The fare freeze will apply to pay-as-you-go fares on London’s buses, tube, Docklands Light Railway and trams, and most within the city on London Overground and the Elizabeth line, although some routes will be affected by the national rail fare increase.
The Conservatives accused Khan of trying to buy the votes of Londoners. City Hall Tory leader Neil Garratt said: “As chairman of TfL, Sadiq Khan has run cap in hand to the government at every opportunity crying poor and demanding money to keep London’s buses, trains and tube moving.
“Facing an election in May, the mayor has miraculously found £123m from his magic money tree to freeze fares for one year.”