One-day Travelcard axing will make family rail trips to London more expensive

The axing of one-day Travelcards will make it about 16 per cent more expensive for family rail trips to London, campaigners warned on Thursday.

The Travelcards, which offer unlimited journeys on the Tube and buses, are being withdrawn by Mayor Sadiq Khan from January in a bid to raise an extra £40m a year for Transport for London.

Passengers heading into London typically add a Travelcard onto their rail ticket – with the total cost normally cheaper than if they were to pay separately for all journeys.

The Campaign for Better Transport published figures showing the impact of removing the day Travelcard as it launched a ‘Don’t Cut The Card’ campaign.

It estimated a family of four from Chelmsford would pay £81.60 rather than £71, while a family travelling from Bishop’s Stortford would pay £81.05 rather than £68.

Norman Baker, from the Campaign for Better Transport, said: “At a time when we should be doing all we can to encourage people to use green public transport to access London’s shops and attractions, this move is going in entirely the wrong direction.

“Public transport works best when you can use one ticket for your whole journey, so we need more, not less, integrated ticketing.

“Transport for London must rethink its plans as a matter of urgency and work together with the Department for Transport and the train operating companies to find a way to save the Day Travelcard from extinction.”

About 65,000 day Travelcards are bought on an average day. Weekly and monthly Travelcards are being retained.

From January, travellers will have to buy a national rail ticket and then use Contactless or Oyster cards to travel on public transport within the capital. This will make it more difficult to access child fares and other discounted fares.

City Hall’s own calculations admit the cost of travel into London will become “slightly more or materially more expensive” for adults.

Off-peak travel will typically increase by £1 to £3 if all journeys on TfL services are within zones 1-2, but between £3 and £10 for journeys out to zone 6.

Rail firms have warned the loss of the Travelcard will discourage people to visit London – and lose them £40m a year in fares.

Steve White, managing director of Southeastern, which expects to lose £6m, said: “It will depress the recovery of one of our slowest recovering areas. We are disappointed that this particular product will not be available.”

Claire Mann, managing director of South Western Railway, said: “We are disappointed with the withdrawal of the Travelcard. We want to work with the other train operating companies and the Rail Delivery Group to see if we can keep this going.”

Seb Dance, the deputy mayor for London, said the share of income received by TfL from Travelcards was “well below the price paid for the same tickets sold within London”. This effectively meant that London travellers were subsidising those from outside the capital.

A spokesperson for Mr Khan said: “The mayor is being forced to consider the withdrawal of Day Travelcards in order to meet the requirements of the Government’s funding settlement with TfL. He has been clear he does not want to do so, but he has been left with no viable alternative.

“The mayor’s team is actively discussing all options with train operating companies, and is working with them to try to find a financially acceptable alternative that would allow Day Travelcards to remain available.”

The changes will also result in the withdrawal of child day Travelcards – requiring young travellers to apply for a Zip card, which provides free and discounted travel for those aged under 18, in advance of coming to the capital.

The Group Day Travelcard, the Discounted Day Travelcard (which provides a one-third discount with a National Rail railcards) and the Weekend Travelcard are also being withdrawn.