Khan Announces TfL Fare Freeze - But Is Everything As It Seems?

Last Updated 22 January 2024

Khan Announces TfL Fare Freeze - But Is Everything As It Seems?
Tube station barriers
You still might end up paying more for your journeys. Image: Londonist

TfL fares have been frozen until at least March 2025 — sort of, anyway.

The Mayor of London Sadiq Khan has announced that single pay as you go journeys by tube, Overground and bus in London will remain the same price until at least March 2025. Khan has allocated £123m of GLA funding for this, saying: "The cost-of-living crisis continues to hit Londoners hard. That’s why I've decided to step in again to freeze TfL fares."

The news will come as a relief to Londoners, many of whom were expecting to see a price hike in line with the 4.9% that national rail fares will increase by in March. As an example of the saving, the Mayor's office suggests: "Someone commuting from Southall to a Zone One station, like Bond Street on the Elizabeth line, four days a week will avoid a potential 20p increase to their Zones 1 to 4 peak single PAYG fare, saving up to £72 a year on their commute alone."  

Two tube trains on the platforms at a Jubilee line station
Sadiq Khan says he's frozen ALL TfL fares, which isn't quite true. Image: iStock/coldsnowstorm

That all sounds fine and dandy. HOWEVER. As the Guardian points out (and the Mayor's press release doesn't) you may well still end up paying more to travel in London. That's because the cost of travelcards and the pay-as-you-go cap ARE rising in line with those national fare rises. So if you travel regularly (say, for instance, your job is reporting on things around London), you're going to get stung. Plus, as IanVisits points out, the freeze is only applicable on TfL run services; so again, if you use National Rail services, the price of your journey is going to go up regardless. These fare freezes are never quite what they seem.

Some might see the freezes as uncannily timed, with a mayoral election on the horizon, although Sadiq Khan did also freeze fares between 2016 and 2021, and they only rose again because of government-imposed restrictions on TfL post-pandemic.