Breaking Down the 2015 TfL Fares Increase


After a slightly longer wait than is typical, this morning the Mayor of London, Boris Johnson, announced the fares levels that will apply to TfL services and National Rail services within the TfL zonal area from 2 January 2015. Full details of TfL fare and season ticket prices are in the Mayoral Decision document.

For the first time the TfL briefing to the Mayor has also been published. This sets out in some detail the reasoning for the new structure of daily PAYG caps to meet the Mayor’s objective of providing more affordable fares for part time workers.

TfL fares will increase, on average, by 2.5% which is equivalent to the RPI value for July 2014. The backdrop to the increase being pegged to inflation is announcements by the Chancellor and the Mayor in early September 2014. These set out that funding had been found to limit the scale of increase. Interestingly the Mayor has managed to secure funding from the Treasury. This was not the case with the 2014 increase which led to a somewhat public dispute over how London’s fare cap would be funded.

Travelcard prices are jointly set with National Rail meaning those prices typically increase by 2.3% – slightly less than the expected RP1% level of 2.5%. This is the result of the DfT changes to the ticket pricing rules.

The fares yield for TfL is expected to be £98m of which the Tube contributes £60m, Buses £31m and TfL Rail £7m.

The headline aspects of the 2015 TfL increases are :-

Buses and Trams

The PAYG / Contactless Oyster Bus and Tram Fare will increase by 5p to £1.50 (a 3.4% increase). There is no longer a cash fare for buses. The cash Tram fare increases by 10p to £2.50. The Daily Bus and Tram Cap is unchanged at £4.40. The 7 day Bus and Tram Pass rises by 80p to £21.00 (a 4.0% increase). To fund the freeze on the Daily Cap the single fare and 7 day tickets have increased by more than the average increase.

One significant change is the reappearance of the One Day Bus and Tram Pass. This has been brought back to fill a perceived gap in the ticket range since buses went cashless. The new ticket will be available in paper and disposable contactless Oyster formats and be priced at £5. This ticket can be sold from ticket machines and at Oyster ticket stops. Heathrow will have a 24 hours outlet thus tackling the problem of people potentially having no means to travel from the airport in the early hours. The price is still at quite a premium to the daily Oyster / Contactless bus and tram cap.

There is no change to the concessions for child travel on buses and trams.

Rail – London Underground, DLR, Overground and National Rail

PAYG fares for the TfL tariff, which applies to Tube, DLR, Overground and certain National Rail routes, increase by 10p for peak and off peak journeys that include Zone 1. Peak PAYG fares outside of Zone 1 also increase by 10p. Off peak non Z1 PAYG fares are unchanged.

The National Rail PAYG tariff sees increases for both peak and off peak travel. Fares increase by 10p for all zone combinations. Through Tube and Train PAYG fares into or through Zone 1 only increase by 10p peak and off peak as the operators have frozen the “add on” fare element for Zone 1. The Zones 1 to 6 Tube / Train peak fare rises to £7.60 which will also become the new peak “entry / exit charge” for PAYG for missed touch in or touch outs or exceeding maximum journey times. The off peak equivalent will increase by 10p to £5.20.

Tube cash fares that include Zone 1 increase by 10-30p making the Zone 1 cash fare £4.80 – more than twice the PAYG fare.

Child PAYG flat fares for rail travel in Zones 1 to 6 increase to 85p peak but are unchanged at 75p off peak.

One Day Tickets and PAYG Caps

This is the main element of the Fares Revision package that sees substantial change this year. To deliver the Mayor’s pledge on “part time” tickets TfL have removed the distinction between peak and off peak caps and changed the daily cap to be 1/5th (20%) of the 7 day Travelcard price.

This results in cuts in peak time daily travel costs for those travelling in zones 1-6. There are also new caps introduced for the Z13 and Z15 zone combinations. However there are quite severe consequences for those people who travel after 0930 Monday to Friday or at weekends. For those resident in zones 1-3 then their daily caps will be lower than at present. However those travelling to or from zones 4, 5 or 6 will see substantial increases. At present someone travelling from Zone 6 into the centre has a daily cap of £8.50 if using PAYG. From January 2015 this increases to £11.70.

The paper One Day Travelcard range is rationalised and some tickets are increased in price. The All Day Z12 One Day Travelcard is abolished meaning people wishing to use a paper ticket will have to purchase the Z14 version. This means a 33% increase (from £9 to £12). The Z14 All Day ticket increases by 5.4%. The off peak One Day Travelcard (only available in the Z16 and Z19) zone combinations increases by £3.10 to £12 for the Z16 ticket and by 30p to £12.80 for the Z19 version. The Child rate One Day off peak Travelcard increases in price from £3.60 to £6.00 (a mere 66% increase).

The justification for these changes are to make the overall package of changes to daily caps and off peak Travelcard costs “neutral” overall. There is an interesting passing remark in the Fares Briefing Paper to the Mayor that says that if the impact is not neutral then TfL will have to compensate the Train Operating Companies via a new, yet-to-be-created mechanism.

Overall you could be forgiven for thinking that TfL and the Train Operating Companies are very much minded to see the end of the One Day Travelcard product in paper form.

2015 Prices Anytime Off Peak
Paper Oyster Cap Paper Oyster Cap
Zones 1-2 Withdrawn £6.40 n/a £6.40
Zones 1-3 n/a £7.50 n/a £7.50
Zones 1-4 £12.00 £9.20 n/a £9.20
Zones 1-5 £17.00 £10.90 n/a £10.90
Zones 1-6 £17.00 £11.70 £12.00 £11.70
Zones 1-9 £21.50 £20.00 £12.80 £11.80

Season Tickets

Weekly Travelcard prices increase by around £0.70-£1.40 (approximately 2.3%) depending on the number of zones purchased. The standard multipliers of Monthly tickets being 3.84 times the weekly rate and Annual tickets being 40 times the weekly rate remain unchanged. Looking at the Briefing Paper to the Mayor it is clear that TfL would like to see adjustments to these multipliers and tried to effect such a change in 2009. The DfT turned down the request at the behest of the Train Operating Companies.

Some examples of new prices are set out below.

2015 Prices 7 Day Travelcard
Zones 1-2 £32.10
Zones 1-3 £37.70
Zones 1-4 £46.10
Zones 1-5 £54.70
Zones 1-6 £58.60
Zones 1-9 £83.40
Zones 2-3 £24.10
Zones 2-4 £26.60

Other Details

PAYG fares to National Rail stations outside of the Greater London area have not been announced as they are not set by TfL. There are no announcements this year about extension of Oyster Card coverage to other National Rail stations outside of the Greater London area. Those wishing to use Oyster PAYG to Gatwick Airport must therefore wait a while longer.

There are no changes to the time bands for peak PAYG charges – they remain as 0630 to 0930 and 1600 to 1900 Mondays to Fridays.

There are no changes to the time at which the off peak period starts for One Day Travelcards. It is still 0930 Monday to Friday and all day Saturdays, Sundays and Bank Holidays.

The off peak PAYG charging rule where off peak PAYG fares are charged on the TfL Tariff where people travel from Zones 2-6 into Zone 1 between 1600 and 1900 is now extended to National Rail services for the NR Tariff and also for Tube Train through tickets.

The Oyster Card deposit is unchanged at £5. An early return charge of £3 will be levied on people who buy a new Oyster Card and then return it less than 1 year after purchase. This is try to reduce the “churn” in Oyster Card sales and subsequent returns.

Charges for online applications for discounted Oyster Cards (Zip, 16+, 18+ and 60+) all increase in price although the duration of most cards also increases thus extending the time between renewals making the change “cost neutral”.

There is also a new half price under 16 temporary concession available “on the spot” for Oyster Card holders aged 16 or less. This is to cover a gap in the market for younger visitors who have not been able to arrange a Zip Card prior to arrival in London.

The PAYG discount for holders of Disabled Person Railcards will be extended to all day travel. This aligns with the discount for national rail travel.

Cycle Hire charges

There are no changes to charges for the use of the Barclays Cycle Hire Scheme.

Emirates Air Line fares

The Mayor has announced that adult cash fares for a single cross Thames journey on the Emirates Air Line will increase by 10p to £4.50. All other adult single fares, including the multi user discount, also increase by 10p. Child fares are unchanged.

Written by The Walthamstow Writer