Mayor confirms landmark off-peak Fridays trial to start on 8 March and makes call to Londoners: #LetsDoFridays

  • Pay as you go with contactless and Oyster fares on Tube and rail across London and the Southeast will be off-peak all day on Fridays from 8 March until 31 May 2024, in an initiative that will be closely watched around the world
  • Trial will also benefit 60+ and Freedom Pass holders who will be able to use their passes all day on Fridays
  • Off-peak fares on Fridays seek to help keep London roaring back, support a further return to the office and provide a further boost to the city’s economy
  • Host of offers to be made available during the trial to further allow Londoners and visitors to make the most of all London has to offer

The Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, has today confirmed that a trial where Tube and rail fares on pay as you go with contactless and Oyster will be off-peak all day on Fridays, will begin next Friday on 8 March.

The Mayor has introduced this trial from next Friday to help TfL and rail operators to better understand if off-peak fares on a Friday could help drive ridership and boost London’s wider economic recovery. The three-month trial will run until 31 May and will be keenly watched by major cities looking to bounce back after the pandemic. The trial follows the previous announcement that the Mayor has frozen TfL fares until March 2025, further helping to support Londoners struggling with the cost of living and London’s recovery from the pandemic.

Peak pay as you go fares apply between 06:30 and 09:30 and between 16:00 and 19:00 on both TfL and National Rail services. Making pay as you go journeys on Fridays off-peak all day will make it cheaper for people to travel – potentially supporting economic growth by encouraging more people back onto public transport and into the office on a day that is currently quieter than other weekdays.

TfL and the Train companies have now agreed a trial whereby all pay as you go journeys made using contactless and Oyster (with the exception of journeys to/from Heathrow airport via Zone 1) will be off-peak on Fridays. The daily cap will also be amended during the trial to cap at an off-peak rate on Friday, helping those who make multiple journeys through the day save even more. Bus and Tram fares across London will not change during the trial as they are set at a flat rate of £1.75 regardless of the time of travel.

The trial will also see 60+ London Oyster photocard and Older Persons’ Freedom Passes allowed to be used on TfL and National Rail services before 9am, helping Londoners with these passes to travel for free all day on Fridays.

To fund the trial, £24m has been allocated from the Mayor of London’s recently approved budget, which will be used to compensate TfL and rail operators for lower fares revenue during the trial and cover the costs for running it.

Off-peak Friday fares could give a much-needed boost to London’s businesses and commuters at a time when the cost-of-living continues to bite. As an example, someone commuting in from Uxbridge (Zone 6) into Holborn (Zone 1) would currently pay £5.60 for travelling on the Tube. Under this trial, this fare would be reduced to £3.60 – saving them £2.  Someone commuting from Newbury Park (Zone 4) to Canary Wharf (Zone 2) currently pays £2.80 for the trip. This fare would be reduced down to £1.90 – saving them 90p. On National Rail, someone commuting using pay as you go from Epsom to Waterloo would pay £8.80 midweek but will pay £6.10 on a Friday during the trial – saving them £2.70. These savings would be doubled if the return journey was also made during evening peak hours.

The Mayor hopes that having off-peak fares on Fridays could help encourage more people into the city to make the most of London’s fantastic offering of bars, restaurants, live music venues and theatres. Those who choose to come into the city on Fridays will also be able to make the most of London’s world-leading nightlife, with so many fantastic events and venues to experience this year, as well as the Night Tube and Night Overground running across the weekend.

To further support the trial, TfL and London & Partners, London’s business growth and destination agency, has created a new webpage – www.visitlondon.com/fridays – where Londoners can see a range of offers available on Fridays during the trial. They have also been working with Business Improvement Districts across London, and key stakeholders, to identify a range of deals to further encourage people to make the most of their Fridays.

The Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan said: “I’m doing all I can to support Londoners through the cost-of-living crisis and to support London’s economic recovery. This includes freezing TfL fares for another year to make transport more affordable for millions of Londoners and to encourage more people to use our transport network. But I want to do more.

“Encouraging more people back into the city on Fridays could give a much-needed boost to the hospitality, business and leisure sectors, supporting London’s wider economic growth as we continue to build a fairer, greener and more prosperous London for everyone. So, I’m making a call to all Londoners: to help London keep roaring back – Let’s Do Fridays!”

Shashi Verma, Chief Technology Officer at TfL said: “While millions of people travel using bus, Tube and rail services across London every day, we are still seeing ridership on Fridays, particularly during peak hours, being lower than other days of the week. This trial of making Fridays off-peak will help us better understand how targeted initiatives like this could help potentially support economic growth by encouraging more people back onto public transport and into the office on a day that is currently quieter than other weekdays.”

Jacqueline Starr, Chief Executive Officer at Rail Delivery Group, said: “We want more people to use rail. We’re pleased that train companies are able to work with Transport for London to offer this trial to customers and we hope it will encourage more people onto trains in the capital. We know that people value rail and as seen from our latest research they plan to use it more in the upcoming months.

“It is a greener, more convenient way to travel into and around London. This trial means customers in London can travel at off-peak prices on Fridays by using pay as you go on Oyster or Contactless.”

Rose Wangen-Jones, Destination Managing Director at London & Partners, which runs VisitLondon.com, said: “Friday is the perfect day of the week to explore London, from attractions, galleries and museum lates to unmissable food and drink, nightlife, and theatre. We’re delighted to be working with leading tourism partners across the city to offer up exclusive Friday discounts.

“Broadening the visitor experience for Londoners and visitors alike is a crucial part of our London 2030 Tourism Vision, so we’re very excited to be working with TfL on this initiative.”

Ros Morgan, Chief Executive of Heart of London Business Alliance, said: “TfL data shows that footfall on Fridays, particularly in the daytime, is yet to return to pre-pandemic levels. This is why we have been calling for innovative trials, such as this welcome announcement, to attract more people to the West End. It has the potential to provide a huge boost to our businesses, particularly in the hospitality, retail and cultural sectors.”

Ruth Duston, CEO and Founder of Primera, which operates 12 central London Business Improvement Districts, said: “London has always been a trailblazing city, and it is fantastic to see that our calls for bold action have been heard. Across the BIDs Primera operates, which span the whole of Zone 1, there is no doubt that Fridays are still noticeably quieter than the rest of the week. We are looking forward to working with our partners and stakeholders across the capital to support this trial and put on exciting activations to entice Londoners and visitors to make the most of the off-peak fares.”

City of London Corporation Policy Chairman, Chris Hayward, said: “This is a welcome move for our flagship Destination City programme, which sets out a vision for the Square Mile to become a world-leading leisure destination for UK and global visitors, workers, and residents. The capital has a first-class visitor offer, with unparalleled history, cutting edge arts, and outstanding attractions.

“This agreement could deliver a significant boost for London’s pubs, cafes, restaurants, and cultural sector. Slashing travel costs will encourage even more people to enjoy our great capital – and support our businesses – as footfall continues to reach its steady rise back to pre-pandemic levels.”

Nic Durston, Chief Executive, South Bank Employers’ Group said: “It’s great to see this initiative being trialled to help encourage Friday footfall into central London. This welcome initiative could provide a huge boost to the wider London economy, especially the hospitality and leisure sectors who’ve been impacted by reduced commuter numbers – not just during the day, but the post-work evening economy too. We hope we will see positive results from the trial.”

For more information about the trial – please visit www.tfl.gov.uk/fares

To see the latest offers for Fridays please visit www.tfl.gov.uk/deals and http://www.visitlondon.com/Fridays