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Temporary suspension of free travel for Older Person’s Freedom Pass and 60+ passengers during morning peak hours to be introduced on Monday 15 June

  • Changes are in accordance with the funding and finance agreement between TfL and Government and will help conserve space on public transport for people who have to use it to return to work.

  • The changes affect part of the scheme that TfL funds. London Councils and the boroughs do not fund journeys during the morning peak and have not had a say in making these changes.

  • Disabled Freedom Pass holders are unaffected and will still able to travel at all times using their pass

  • From Monday 15 June, changes to the ticketing system will mean Older Person’s Freedom Pass and 60+ cards are automatically set not to be valid during the morning peak period (0430 to 0900) Monday to Friday.

  • Older Person’s Freedom Pass and 60+ card remain valid after 9.00am on weekdays and at all times at weekends and Bank Holidays

  • All passengers are reminded to only use public transport if absolutely essential and maintain two metres social distancing wherever possible

Transport for London (TfL) has today set out details of the temporary changes affecting users of the Older Person’s Freedom Pass, 60+ Oyster photocard and English National Concessionary Scheme in London as part of the response to the pandemic.

The temporary changes, to take effect from Monday 15 June, are being introduced as part of the recent funding and finance agreement with Government.

They will mean that all passengers with an Older Person’s Freedom Pass, 60+ Oyster photocard or English National Concessionary Scheme pass will not be able to use those passes during morning peak hours in order to help support social distancing on the public transport network and help control the Covid-19 virus.

From Monday 15 June, changes to the ticketing system will mean these cards are automatically set not to be valid during the morning peak period (0430 to 0900) Monday to Friday. They will continue to be valid at all other times on weekdays and all day on weekends and Bank Holidays.

Passengers are being advised, where possible, not to travel immediately after 0900 to help reduce potential crowding on buses and trains where effective capacity has been hugely reduced as a result of the requirement to observe two-metres social distancing wherever possible.

All passengers using these cards are also being asked to avoid peak times now where possible ahead of the systems changes taking place on Monday 15 June. This is consistent with advice from the Government and Mayor that everyone should continue to work from home where possible, walk or cycle if they need to travel and avoid public transport. Anyone who needs to travel should do so outside of peak times if there is no option other than to use public transport.

Passengers with a Disabled Freedom Pass are unaffected and will, as usual, still be able to travel at all times using their Pass if they have to use public transport for their journey.

These temporary arrangements will help reduce the risk of crowding at the busiest times which would mean that social distancing would be more difficult to maintain.

If passengers have no option other than to use public transport during the morning peak period – such as those aged over 60 who are key workers - TfL recommends that they travel using pay as you go with using a contactless card or mobile device, or an Oyster card. If using pay as you go with Oyster, customers can use the free TfL Oyster app to check their balance and top it up on the go to avoid having to visit an Oyster Ticket Stop or ticket machine. 

For more information – please visit www.tfl.gov.uk/fares

Q&A

What is changing with my 60+ and Freedom pass?  

Free travel for Older Person’s Freedom Pass and 60+ customers will be temporarily suspended during morning peak hours, 0430 to 0900, Monday to Friday. The change, to be introduced on Monday 15 June, aims to support the agreement with Government to help conserve space on public transport for people who have to use it to return to work. Older Person’s Freedom Pass and 60+ card will continue to be valid at all other times on weekdays and all day on weekends and Bank Holidays.

Why is TfL doing this?

These changes are being introduced following the agreement with Government, which asked that changes to free travel be introduced as part of the recent finance and funding deal for Transport for London. These temporary arrangements will help reduce the risk of crowding at the busiest times which would mean that social distancing would be more difficult to maintain.

How many people are affected by this change?

There are currently 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.

How long will these restrictions apply?

TfL will keep this policy under review and continue to work with Government regarding how long restrictions are needed.

Do the Freedom pass restrictions also apply to Disabled Person’s Freedom Passes? 

Customers with a Disabled Person’s Freedom Pass are unaffected and will, as usual, still be able to travel at all times using their Pass.

How many Freedom Pass users traveling in the morning peak?

Since movement restrictions were introduced, Freedom Pass and 60+ users have constituted around 10.7% of demand in the morning peak compared to 5.4% in February.

What are you advising affected customers who must travel during morning peak?

If customers have no option other than to use public transport during the morning peak, TfL recommends that they travel using pay as you go with using a contactless card or mobile device, or an Oyster card. If using pay as you go with Oyster, customers can use the free TfL Oyster app to check their balance and top it up on the go to avoid having to visit an Oyster Ticket Stop or ticket machine.

What other concession changes will you be implementing?

All our other adult concessions will remain in place.   

Some Freedom Pass holders may be travelling in the morning peak to use special shopping hours at supermarkets. Is TfL preventing those customers from traveling?

TfL is working hard to ensure that those who have no option other than to travel using public transport can do so safely. Given the national requirement to maintain two metre social distancing, the capacity of buses and trains is hugely reduced. These temporary changes to the Older Person’s Freedom Pass and 60+ Oyster card pass during morning peak travel will help reduce the risk of crowding when it would be more difficult to maintain social distancing.

Affected customers who are using special shopping hours at supermarkets may choose between: 

  1. Continuing to use public transport to access dedicated opening hours, paying the adult fare to do so
  2. Using alternative means of transport to access dedicated opening hours 
  3. Using public transport and travelling for free at a time when public transport is less busy

Will these restrictions apply to English National Concessionary Travel Scheme?

The English National Concessionary Travel Scheme is a national scheme developed by the Department for Transport in conjunction with local authorities across England, which allows cardholders to travel free on buses across the UK after 09.30. Currently they can travel free on the London bus network at any time, but from Monday 15 June this will be amended to keep it in line with the Older Person’s Freedom Pass.

Will there be any reimbursement scheme for all NHS/care workers with a Freedom Pass/60+ card who have to travel in the peak for work, as with the congestion charge?

There are no plans for a reimbursement scheme for NHS/care workers as a result of these changes. They are in place to help reduce the risk of crowding at the busiest times. Reimbursement for the congestion charge is being provided as TfL acknowledges that travelling to work by car to help reduce the risk of NHS/care workers coming into contact with others as they travel to and from workplace.

How have the needs of older people, which include disabled older people, those on lower income, those from BAME backgrounds, been considered in the decision-making process?

TfL has carried out an Equality Impact Assessment as part of these changes. Londoners on low incomes tend to be women, older and disabled people, and those not in work. These temporary changes to free travel with a 60+ Oyster or Older Person’s Freedom Pass will increase the barrier for older Londoners on low incomes to travel at these times. However, Londoners over 60 and on low income are amongst those most vulnerable to infection and most at risk of inadvertently passing on the virus. These temporary arrangements will help reduce the risk of crowding at the busiest times which would mean that social distancing would be more difficult to maintain.

If disabled older people need to undertake essential travel using public transport before 09:00, they can apply to their London Borough for a Disabled Person’s Freedom Pass.

How can TfL even do this when there’s an agreement with London Councils that sets out how FP and 60+ operates?

The agreement that TfL has with London Councils is that the Older Persons Freedom Pass is valid 9am to 4.30am Monday to Friday  and all day on weekends and Bank Holidays. A Disabled Freedom Pass is valid all day every day. London Councils fund all the journeys that are made at those times.

In 2009, the Mayor directed TfL to allow Older Persons Freedom Pass travel pre 9am Monday to Friday. This meant that London Councils do not fund this travel and it is simply revenue forgone for TfL.

As part of the TfL funding agreement, the Government asked that temporary changes to free travel be introduced.  This will not have any impact on the settlement that TfL agrees with London Councils as the validity times of travel are the same for what they fund.

How will the restrictions on travel for people with concession travel be enforced, specifically on buses?

There will a major programme of communication with TfL staff, including briefings for all frontline staff and customer services teams.  On buses, rigorous enforcement of the new rules will not be possible while middle door boarding is in place.  Bus staff will also be expected to use their discretion to ensure that no older people, including holders of the English National Concessionary Travel Scheme concession from outside London, who may be genuinely unaware of the new morning peak restrictions, are left behind at stops

How are we working with supermarkets and the NHS on these changes?

TfL is engaging with the NHS and businesses across London we are working to encourage staggered openings and shift patterns. The Deputy Mayor for Transport has also written to major supermarket chains and NHS Health Trusts and GP representative groups within London to ask that they look to ensure priority access for older people is moved to outside the peak hours.

Do I have to do anything in relation to these changes or are they automatic? 

The changes are automatic.