Axing of free children fares in London delayed to 2021

Plans to make children pay for bus trips in London have been delayed until spring 2021.

Various dates have been mooted then pushed back, with plans for fares to be paid from October 2020 now dropped.

However, bigger problems are on the near horizon as TfL face another cash squeeze in coming weeks as bailout money runs out. Ridership has been slightly higher and £30 million more income has been received – but in the context of a fall of billions more is needed to keep buses moving and trains running.

Operating costs improving – until this year

London’s transport network is far more reliant on fare income than most other major world cities. The pandemic saw a 95 per cent reduction in fares, and thus decimated income.

London’s transport network sees 72 per cent of income from fares, compared to 38 per cent in New York and 38 per cent in Paris – to give just two examples. More can be seen below:

London is heavily reliant on fares.

One major factor in this is a cut to £700 million annual funding from central Government made by George Osborne in 2015.

Earlier this year TfL were hours away from having to enact an emergency measure that would have reduced public transport to very few services across the capital. They were hours away from having to enact Section 114 by law – which would see the majority of services immediately stop.

Central Government bailed out private rail operators and bus companies across the UK long before the crunch point London was forced into. That now looks like it could be repeated by Whitehall in coming weeks.

When central Government did agree to fund services very late in the day back in May, Westminster stipulated that the congestion charge must increase in price and hours, and measures such as Low Neighbourhood Transport schemes be adopted.

Regardless of views about these policies – and indeed the Mayor’s view – TfL is taking the flack from many despite it being a Westminster-derived measure – as shown in documents subsequently released after bailout negotiations concluded.

It is now feared that London’s transport will see continual short term bailouts resulting in little long term planning and numerous political games for the next year – at least.



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I've lived in south east London most of my life growing up in Greenwich borough and working in the area for many years. The site has contributors on occasion and we cover many different topics. Living and working in the area offers an insight into what is happening locally.

12 thoughts on “Axing of free children fares in London delayed to 2021

  • When you have stupidity over a minor virus there will be repercussions for the next few years.
    Seems to that I am of the opinion that children should be paying half fare…as we used to do…why should it be free…?…..they might learn that nothing in life is free….I used to walk rather than spend the money at times….
    I agree with you re tfl…Mayor…Govt…all Politics but looking at the hash up with Crossrail…looks like none of the 3 could run a public toilet after all the lies….

  • I omitted to mention the stupidity of the Mayor 4 years ago…a guy with no brain…tfl need money to improve infrastructure and Service…only an imbecile would damage tfl…Ah…we have one

  • Minor virus? Tell that to the bus drivers who died.

    I was tempted to add ‘you arsehole’ but Murky would probably censor me.

    • I wouldn’t. It was an idiotic comment.

  • @Roy A “minor virus” are you serious?!

    Tell that to the 1,000’s of people in the UK who have lost loved ones over the past six months.

    I suppose the Earth is flat, the Moon is made of cheese and life for everyone will be just peachy when those in charge of this country (or what’s left of it) ‘get Brexit done’ by the end of the year.

    If you really think this is nothing more than a ‘minor virus’, then I suggest that you visit the ICU department of an overwhelmed NHS Hospital and tell all the COVID-19 patients, it’ll all be fine because it’s only ‘a minor virus’ and they should simply go home and stop taking-up beds for those that are really unwell.

  • To the clowns trying to post including every cliche under the sun and full of incorrect “facts” about covid this morning – do clear off.

    Most messages get put through automatically and I don’t monitor messages as a matter of routine. Some get held up automatically too. Normally those with links included or new posters. That’s how I found the drivel this morning from some.

    And if I see them, posts with utter BS about other issues will go into spam too. Anyone can post any view but base it on facts not made up nonsense.

  • The Mayor was supposed to introduce a scheme to maintain free travel to/from school. It should have started after half term.

    Surprise surprise he didn’t even try to set it up.

  • It is anything but a minor virus Roy and I would not wish it on anyone not even my worst emenies.

    It now makes me wonder if your one of those who refuse to obey social distancing rules and refuse to wear a face mask/covering in shops etc. You must admit it is stupid statement to make Roy?

    Some people may not get ill effects from the virus but can be carrier of the virus and pass it on to others includinf vulnerable people.

    If your that ill you cannot wear a face covering then you should a face shield for protection.

    The amount of people who really cannot use a face mask/covering is minimal.

    If your in a sheilding group and receive notification from your GP you can get on line food and shopping deliveries or volunteers will get your shopping for you. So there really is not excuse.

    We really need to do everything we can get to stop coronavirus from spreading. As no one is above the law and the rules apply to each and everyone one of us.

    Keep safe everyone.

  • I totally agree we with Graham and all the other comments that Coronavirus is very real indeed.Such a silly comment for Roy to make sadly however he is not alone far from it.

    I was in Asda Charlton and a young lady was abusing two velderly ladies who asked her to keep her distance at the check out. She was not wearing a face covering and refused to step back.

    She started shouting out the virus is fake and telling people to ignore Government advice.

    I hace seen people spit on the ground as other people walk past them This is not funny far from it,

    People must take this virus with the upmost seriousness and adhere to the Government advice and rules at all times.

    Myself and my family lost a friend and neighbour to Coronavirus it is really not nice.

  • I do agree Government cuts to TFL funding have not helped TFL financial crisis.

    I also agree that the current Mayor of London’s fare freeze for so long as not helped TFL finances either, I do believe fares should now be reviewed.

    I think a childrens yearly bus pass scheme may be needed as this will also count children on the bus and give TFL a better idea of bus usage.

    Personally I wish both Public Transport and the NHS would not be used to gain political points and should both be properly funded as are both essential.

    • Children have their own version of Oyster called a Zip Card. Their usage can be monitored and could be time restricted.


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