'Free Travel For Flatmates' Should Be Scrapped, Say London Tories

Rachel Holdsworth
By Rachel Holdsworth Last edited 36 months ago
'Free Travel For Flatmates' Should Be Scrapped, Say London Tories

Photo by Richard Parmiter from the Londonist Flickr pool

The London Assembly Conservatives are on the warpath again, this time over the cost of providing free travel to friends and family of Transport for London staff.

TfL employees get to name one member of their household (e.g. a partner or flatmate) for a 'nominee pass' as a perk. As of November 2014, 22,239 of these passes were considered 'active' and the Tories wanted to know how much that was costing. TfL initially said 'nil', so the party used some (fairly sweeping, it has to be said) averages to decide the cost is more like £22m a year. TfL now says the additional revenue it would have collected would be in the region of £7m. So that's clear.

The Conservatives would like the passes scrapped asap and the money saved — however much that would actually turn out to be — diverted elsewhere. Based on the £22m figure, they think TfL could give firefighters free travel in the same way the Met gives police officers free travel (though we assume that's partly because police may need to catch public transport as part of their duties, rather than a reward for being a frontline public servant). Or they suggest more cycle hire docking stations could be rolled out to Putney, Wandsworth and Battersea (all Tory voting areas, there; what about cycle hire deserts like Lewisham, Peckham or Rotherhithe?). Or TfL could do those things by just not, you know, part-funding the Garden Bridge.

TfL also points out — with what one imagines is a world weary sigh — that removing the passes would cause an unholy row with the unions. Nominee passes aren't in employee contracts but are clearly a perk of the kind many people enjoy (like childcare vouchers, or season ticket loans). Removing them would, TfL says, lead to claims for increased pay and probably industrial action. Which is probably right. Is it worth the hassle?

Read the report yourself on the London Assembly Conservatives' website.

Last Updated 26 May 2015


This issue comes up time and time again... Boris is on record as saying a) the number is so small that TfL doesn't need to operate extra services - so the cost is nil, b) you can't reliably estimate lost fare revenue, as you don't know how people's travel patterns would change if the perk is removed, and c) it's not really worth the confrontation with unions

Which seems reasonable, really...



This would fund the well publicised campaign to move Kingston from Zone 6 to zone 5. You'll see why there's been a campaign here: http://cdn.londonist.com/wp-co...

James Guppy

They'll save even more if they pay TFL's workers pensions into the general TFL budget....and their wages....and TFL employees should have to make two packed lunches to give away free to commuters each day.


The Met Police get free transport as they are supposed to intervene if they see a fracas, thus acting as a back up to BTP. So, its not quite the same with LFB crew, though they could take action to put out a fire on train. Though, I have seen much more antisocial behaviour than fires on a train, so go figure...

Greg Tingey

There are some, who want to do this, simply because it will provoke a strike.
It wasn't worth it when the main-line railways were privatised, as the operators had to increasw wages to compensate & was greatly resented, anyway.
Miserable bastards

Beth Williams

There is no reason why anybody other than TfL full time staff should enjoy this perk. Just scrap it.


The police receive free travel on TfL services in return for assisting staff and the BTP at anytime they are requested. If the police officer does not want to provide this, then they should pay for their fare.

If we are looking at extending the free travel offering, rather than offering it to LFB firefighters, I would suggest offering it to LAS or other first aid charities such as St Johns Ambulance. In return for the free travel, the St Johns ambulance volunteer must agree to conduct a certain numbers of hours per month assisting on the tube. Located at busy stations and easily movable they could attend to any event in which we hear those dreaded words "due to a person ill on a train". Thus reducing delays, offering a better service to the ill and I am sure for the return a benefit for the volunteer.