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 coronavirus.
From Monday 15 June, changes to the ticketing system will mean these cards are automatically set to be not valid during the morning peak period (04:30 to 09:00) 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 09:00 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. By taking steps to minimise non-essential travel by others, TfL is making it easier for those key workers, including for those over 60, to access public transport for essential journeys.
All passengers using these cards are also being asked to avoid peak times where possible ahead of the system 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.
TfL will be directly contacting all 60+ Oyster card holders to inform them of these temporary changes. TfL is also working with London Councils, which administers the Freedom Pass scheme, to inform Freedom Pass holders about the change. TfL and London Councils will also be updating customers through websites, advertising and a public awareness campaign.
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. Staff will be on hand to assist older Londoners making essential journeys who do not have access to contactless payment card or a smartphone.
Shashi Verma, Chief Technology Officer at Transport for London said: "We are 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."
For more information – please visit www.tfl.gov.uk/fares