What are the new rules for the 60+ Oyster Card and Freedom Pass and why are you making these changes?
In mid- May, the Government announced a £1.6 billion funding and financing package for Transport for London (TfL). This was necessary because COVID-19 has had a dramatic impact on TfL’s finances, as it has on every transport provider in the UK. Fares income has fallen by 90 per cent in recent months because Londoners have done the right thing and stayed at home – so there simply isn’t enough money coming in to pay for transport services.
As part of this financial package, the Government has insisted that free travel is temporarily suspended for Older Person’s Freedom Pass and 60-plus card holders at peak times. They are, in effect, making ordinary Londoners pay the cost for doing the right thing on COVID-19 and staying at home.
The Mayor has been completely honest and upfront with Londoners that this is not the deal he wanted for London. But it was the only deal the Government put on the table. These restrictions were a condition that the Government made to receive the funding. If the funding deal had not been agreed TfL would have been forced to reduce the bus and tube services at a time when it was vital we increase services as much as possible to enable social distancing on our transport network and protect the health of Londoners.
From Monday 15 June 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 (0430 to 0900, Monday to Friday) in order to help support social distancing on the public transport network and help control the COVID-19 virus.
These temporary 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.
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 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.
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.