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Mayor of London Makes Call to Londoners as World-Leading Friday Off-Peak Fares Trial Begins: Let’s Do Fridays

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  • The Mayor encourages Londoners back into the city as groundbreaking three-month off-peak Fridays trial launches
  • Starting today, pay as you go with contactless and Oyster fares on Tube and rail across London and parts of the Southeast will be off-peak all day on Fridays
  • Restaurants, museums, landmark attractions and theatres announce exciting offers to encourage Londoners to make the most of the city’s great offering – with more expected over the coming weeks
  • Trial will also benefit 60+ and Freedom Pass holders who will be able to use their passes all day on Fridays

The Mayor of London has today announced that the pioneering three-month trial of Off-peak travel on Fridays is live, as he makes the call to Londoners: “Let’s do Fridays”. From today, Tube and rail fares on pay as you go with contactless and Oyster will be off-peak all day on Fridays until the end of May.

The trial follows the announcement that the Mayor has again frozen TfL fares until March 2025, which is providing more support to Londoners struggling with the cost of living, and aiding London’s recovery from the pandemic.

London & Partners, London’s business growth and destination agency, has created a new webpage – https://www.visitlondon.com/fridays – where Londoners can see a range of exciting offers from restaurants, museums, theatres and landmark attractions available on Fridays during the trial, to encourage Londoners back into the city. More exclusive offers will be announced as the trial progresses, with different offers each Friday of the trial.

Examples of these Friday offers include:

  • 20% off your bill at Gaucho restaurants on Fridays (until 31 March)
  • Off-peak Friday prices to see hit musical Wicked
  • Half-price tickets on Fridays for ‘‘Turn It Up’ exhibition at the Science Museum

TfL and London & Partners have also been working with local businesses across London and key stakeholders to help promote a range of activities to further encourage people to make the most of their Fridays.

Peak pay as you go fares ordinarily 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 throughout the day. This could potentially support economic growth by encouraging more people back onto public transport and into the office, and the city, on a day that is currently quieter than other weekdays.

TfL and the Train companies have agreed to the trial, making all pay as you go journeys made using contactless and Oyster (with the exception of journeys to/from Heathrow airport via Zone 1) 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 as the cost-of-living continues to bite. As an example, someone commuting in from Romford (Zone 6) into Bond Street (Zone 1) would have paid £5.60 for travelling on the Elizabeth line during peak hours. Under the trial, this fare will be reduced to £3.60 – saving £2.  Someone commuting from Morden (Zone 4) to Vauxhall (Zone 2) in peak hours would have paid £2.80 for the trip. This fare will now be reduced down to £1.90 – saving 90p. On National Rail, someone commuting using pay as you go with contactless from St Albans City to London Blackfriars would pay £12.90 midweek, but will pay £9.50 on Fridays during the trial – saving £3.40. These savings will be doubled if the return journey is 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 offering of bars, restaurants, live music venues and theatres.

The Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan said: “Off-peak Fridays are here. I’m delighted that this ground-breaking trial is now up and running and that there will also be special hospitality, business and entertainment deals taking place on Fridays.

“It’s clear that many people are still not coming into the office on Fridays compared to before the pandemic, which is having a major knock-on effect on our shops, restaurants, pubs and cultural venues. So as well as freezing fares for another year, we’re introducing this off-peak trial to get more Londoners back to the office on Fridays and to support the hospitality, culture and retail sectors as we continue building a better more prosperous London for everyone.” 

Alex Williams, Chief Customer and Strategy Officer at TfL said: “This three month trial of making Fridays off-peak will make it easier for people to travel into London for work, socialising or to visit the many attractions and events that take place across the city. It will also help us better understand how targeted initiatives like this could encourage more people back onto public transport and into the office on a day that is currently quieter than other midweek days.”

Jacqueline Starr, Chief Executive Officer at Rail Delivery Group, said: “Nothing beats being there in person for important meetings, catching up with friends and nights out. We’re pleased that train companies and Transport for London worked together so we can offer this trial to customers in London who will be able to travel at off-peak prices on Fridays by using pay as you go on Oyster or Contactless.”

Amy Lamé, London’s Night Czar, said: “Friday night has always been a great night to enjoy our capital’s diverse nightlife, but we know the industry is facing huge challenges due to the ongoing impact of the pandemic, increased development, rising rents and business rates, staffing shortages due to Brexit, and the Government’s cost-of-living and cost-of-doing-business crisis. We’re committed to doing all we can to support our hospitality industry, and I’ve no doubt our Let’s do Fridays initiative will encourage even more people to come into London during the day and then stay on to make the most of everything our capital has to offer at night.”

Louise Halliday, Director of Audiences at Royal Albert Hall, said: ““Following the most difficult years I’ve ever witnessed, London sprung back to life in 2023. Everyone at the Royal Albert Hall was so excited as audiences returned to pre-pandemic levels, and the capital’s rich and vibrant cultural scene breathed a sigh of relief and blossomed again. The Mayor’s Off Peak Fridays will encourage more people to come into London to work and play – what a fantastic way to encourage people to start their weekends on Friday nights by enjoying the best entertainment and hospitality in the world.”

Lohan Presencer, Executive Chairman of Ministry of Sound, said: “It’s great news that the Mayor is introducing this ground-breaking trial to encourage people into central London on Fridays. We know the impact that seeing more people in the office on a Friday can have in encouraging them to go on to bars and clubs at night. We’re delighted that the Mayor and his Night Czar continue to do all they can to support London’s nightlife.”

Jeff Horton, owner of The 100 Club on Oxford Street, said: ““I think the decision that the Mayor has made with the Off Peak Friday initiative is a much needed shot in the arm for the night time industry and for business in general. Every bit of help is needed in encouraging people to visit our fantastic city more frequently in the evening as well as during the day. Hospitality, in particular, needs this positive step as it continues to recover from Covid and the economic challenges we all currently face. We work closely with the Night Czar and encourage any move or decision that has a positive effect on our venue and hospitality in general.”

Dominic Madden, Co-Founder of Electric Brixton, said: ‘I’m delighted to support the Mayor and Night Czar’s relentless optimism for our night-time economy and scene. The Off Peak Friday initiative is a great example of this and will encourage more people into London on Fridays which can only help venues and the hospitality sector as people stay out after work. I will continue to work closely with Amy Lamè and her team to make sure that the experience at Electric Brixton is amazing for music fans and collaborate together to support our fantastic late night scene in London.”

Harrie Notton, Acting Co-CEO WeAreWaterloo BID said: ‘WeAreWaterloo supports and welcomes this trial to reduce fares on Fridays. We know from our own extensive footfall and spend analysis, plus feedback from our local business community, that Fridays continue to lag behind other days in the post-COVID landscape. We hope the trial reminds Londoners that on Friday, Waterloo is most definitely open for business.’ 

Muniya Barua, Deputy Chief Executive of BusinessLDN, said: “Experimenting with Friday fares is an innovative step that could help encourage some hybrid workers back into the capital, in turn supporting businesses that rely on footfall. It’s exciting to see this will be combined with a range of Friday offers to encourage commuters and visitors to make the most of everything London has to offer. We look forward to seeing how the trial changes the behaviour of Londoners when TfL assesses its impact at the end of the three-month period.”

  • For more information about the trial – please visit http://www.tfl.gov.uk/fridays
  • To see the latest offers for Fridays please visit  https://www.visitlondon.com/fridayswww.tfl.gov.uk/deals or https://www.nationalrail.co.uk/tickets-railcards-and-offers/ticket-types/oyster-contactless-and-travelcards/
  • A map showing where pay as you go with contactless and Oyster is currently available can be found here: https://tfl.gov.uk/maps/track/national-railThe off-peak fares on Fridays trial is for pay as you go only. Single paper tickets and paper Day Travelcards will still have peak-hour restrictions during the trial. Season tickets will not change as a result of the trial as there is no off-peak option.
  • Peak fares will continue to apply to fares to/from Heathrow via Zone 1 as there are no off-peak fares. However, fares for journeys that don’t include travel through Zone 1 will be charged an off-peak rate on Fridays during the trial.
  • TfL will use a combination of public transport ridership data, research into customer perceptions, and feedback from the business community to monitor the impact of off-peak Fridays for the duration of the trial andsuthe evaluate the cumulative impact at the end of the trial. An assessment of the revenue impact of the trial will be part of the post-trial analysis, considering the overall net impact on ridership and revenue to TfL.

TfL has recently updated its guidance to businesses to provide the latest advice on how commuters can travel conveniently and avoid the busiest times – https://tfl.gov.uk/info-for/business-and-advertisers/travel-guidance-for-businesses

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