British Queen celebrates

As part of TfL’s funding deal with Government in October 2020, the Mayor was required to increase fares under his control in order to deliver an overall fares rise of

2.6 per cent (RPI+1). 

However, the details of new fares released today show that within this overall rise he has managed to keep some fares frozen – including some single pay as you go Tube, DLR, London Overground and TfL rail fares – which will help to encourage people back into central London, when the time is right, and aid the capital’s recovery.

TfL has also today published its Financial Sustainability Plan, which focuses on a green recovery and sets out how it can achieve financial sustainability after fare income was decimated by the pandemic - covering costs of day-to-day operations, maintenance and financing by 2023/24.

All transport systems around the world rely on Government capital investment and TfL is requesting Government investment and continued, longer-term support, to provide certainty to its supply chain and enable TfL to support jobs across the UK, to continue to run safe and reliable services and to support the Government’s aims on decarbonisation.

The increase in TfL fares, which will be introduced on 1 March 2021 - the same day as the national rail fares rise by the same amount - is the first increase in fares that the current Mayor has implemented. It follows five years of frozen TfL fares set by the Mayor. In the eight years prior to 2016, under the previous Mayor, TfL fares increased by more than 42 per cent. 

The overall level of fares set by TfL will increase by an equivalent of RPI+1 in accordance with the funding agreement, but some individual fares will remain unchanged.  By keeping some fares - including Tube, DLR and rail fares set by TfL within a single fare zone – at the same level it will support the wider economic recovery of London, including tourism, as those visiting the capital and travelling exclusively within Zone 1 will not see any fare rises. This will also support Londoners who need to travel to high streets and town centres locally, particularly those travelling on London Overground or in outer London, and help ensure that the post-pandemic recovery is not car-led. 

Passengers who travel greater distances on TfL services will see a slight increase. However, these increases are still significantly below what any cumulative increase would have been had fares risen in line with inflation over the last five years.

While bus and tram fares will rise as part of this package, the Mayor has worked with TfL to ensure that the increases are kept to the smallest amount possible. A single bus and tram fare will increase by 5p to £1.55, and the daily cap will increase by 15p to £4.65, the same price as three single journeys. This will be the first time that the single bus fare has increased since 2015. However, thanks to the ‘Hopper’ fare, which was introduced by Sadiq in September 2016, passengers will continue to benefit from unlimited bus and tram travel within an hour for the price of a single fare. Since the fare was introduced, more than half a billion journeys have been made using the Hopper fare.  

Hire fees for the hugely popular Santander Cycle scheme are set to remain the same - with 24 hours access for unlimited journeys of up to 30 minutes available for just £2.


All current concessions, including free travel for young people under the age of 18, will remain in place after the Mayor successfully fought off the Government’s proposal in May to scrap these concessions, extend the Congestion Charging Zone to the north and south circular, and a higher fares rise than RPI+1.


The Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan said: “Londoners know that I have done everything possible to make public transport more affordable since I became Mayor - including introducing the unlimited Hopper bus fare and freezing all TfL fares since taking office - saving the average London household over £200.

“Unfortunately this year Ministers insisted on a RPI+1 per cent fares increase in order for TfL to get the emergency Government support needed as a consequence of the global pandemic.  

“Public transport should be affordable to all, so I am pleased that I was able to fight off even worse Government proposals to scrap free travel for under 18’s and concessions for over 60’s as well as bigger fares increase.”   


Shashi Verma, Director of Strategy at TfL said: “This fares package aims to help support the wider economic recovery of the city throughout 2021. Through daily and weekly capping, as well as the Hopper fare, passengers can continue to get the best value fare by using pay as you go with contactless and Oyster.

Photo by Oxyman, Wikimedia commons.