Transport for London (TFL) said it was having charge for journeys due to the ‘catastrophic impact of the pandemic’ on its finances. Normally the the entire transport network is free on December 31 from 11.45pm until 4.30am, including Tubes, buses, the overground and DLR. The treat dates back to 2000, with the cost often covered by a sponsor.
However this year, a sponsor could not be found, according to the Evening Standard. The Tube and London Overground will still run through the night on New Year’s Eve, but passengers will have to pay to travel. It is the second year in a row Tube journey’s won’t be free – though last year’s NYE celebrations were restricted due to the second wave of the pandemic.
TFL said: ‘Following the catastrophic impact of the pandemic on TfL’s finances, TfL unfortunately will not be able to offer free travel on New Year’s Eve. ‘Services on the transport network will run through the night, ensuring that people can enjoy everything London has to offer and get home safely.’ London’s much-loved fireworks display on the Thames was cancelled again this New year’s Eve due to ‘uncertainties caused by Covid.’ Instead, a ticketed event will go ahead in Trafalgar Square. TFL has urged everyone to check travel advice before making journeys over the festive period, as while most lines are running, there will be some service changes and planned works. Plans to ditch the free Tube come after Mayor of London Sadiq Khan said some lines might have to close altogether amid a £1.9bn blackhole in TFL’s finances. The funding gap was mainly caused by the huge drop in passengers due to the pandemic.