Transport bosses urged to keep Day Travelcard as proposal to axe it could cost passengers more

Day Travelcard use has fallen, but it remains a ‘lifeline’ for many commuters and day visitors  (TfL )
Day Travelcard use has fallen, but it remains a ‘lifeline’ for many commuters and day visitors (TfL )

London transport chiefs were today urged to scrap plans to axe the Day Travelcard – the “all in one” ticket that allows unlimited journeys across the capital.

Transport for London was accused of a “money-raising exercise” that would result in many passengers paying more to travel.

Day Travelcards, which are only available as paper tickets, are of particular benefit to people living outside London who buy a train ticket to the capital “topped up” with a Travelcard, meaning they do not pay separately to use the Tube and bus network.

Passenger groups say the Day Travelcard offers a “lifeline” for travellers without Contactless or Oyster cards. Axing the Travelcard would also force young people and disabled passengers to pay more as discounts cannot be applied to Contactless journeys.

Transport blogger Roger French said Travelcards, which were introduced in 1983, were “extremely useful and popular” with rail travellers from the Home Counties. “It’s the ultimate ‘integrated ticket’ beloved of politicians, academics and passengers too,” he said.

Removing the Travelcard would mean that passengers from outside London would have to buy a rail ticket to a London station and then use Contactless or Oyster to pay for TfL services.

Contactless and Oyster are capped but the total – including the train ticket – could exceed the cost of a Day Travelcard.

Mr French said that rather than paying £10.80 for an off-peak Travelcard from his home station in Hassocks, he would have to buy a £9.10 day return to London Bridge and then pay separately for each bus or Tube trip – with the total sure to be higher than the combined Travelcard.

He said: “This is a ridiculous plan which smacks of political shenanigans between the Mayor and Government rather than anything that is in the interests of passengers.”

A TfL consultation that was due to close today has been extended for a fortnight, until June 6.

The Campaign for Better Transport has formally objected to the proposal, describing it as a “retrograde step that would discourage public transport use”.

Norman Baker, from the Campaign for Better Transport, said: “For visitors and tourists, allowing unlimited travel on London’s wide variety of transport modes can only be a good thing and for Londoners without the technology to use contactless payment or oyster, the Day Travelcard is a lifeline.”

The TfL proposal would also mean the withdrawal of the zones 1-6 Day Travelcard.

Michael Roberts, chief executive of London TravelWatch, said: “We should be making it easier for passengers to use public transport into and around the capital. Scrapping one-day Travelcards make things more difficult and will likely hit the least well off, right in the middle of a cost-of-living squeeze.”

TfL commissioner Andy Lord said it had been forced to review Travelcards as a condition of its Government bailouts during the pandemic. These require TfL to generate £500m to £1bn of additional revenue a year.

Child Day Travelcards, family Travelcards and Weekend Travelcards also face being axed. However, Mayor Sadiq Khan has decided to retain weekly and longer-term Travelcards.

Mr Lord told the Standard: “There are plenty of valuable options for customers with Contactless and day capping that, in our view, make the Travelcard less useful than it used to be. We don’t believe the Travelcard really offers the value for money for customers that it once did.”