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Sadiq Khan launches £24m plan to cut Tube and rail fares on Fridays

Tube and train fares in London could be reduced on Fridays under a £24 million plan announced by Sadiq Khan.

The Mayor of London has asked Transport for London (TfL) to run a three-month trial aimed at increasing passenger numbers and boosting the economy by making all fares off-peak on Fridays.

This would require the support of the wider rail industry.

Peak fares apply on weekdays between 6.30am and 9.30am, and between 4pm and 7pm, on TfL and mainline rail services within London.

Someone commuting by Tube from Zone 6 into Zone 1 in central London at peak times currently pays £5.60 per journey.

Under the trial, this fare would be cut by £2 to £3.60 on Fridays.

Mr Khan is proposing to allocate £24 million from his budget for the 2024-25 financial year to support the Friday trial.

TfL statistics show midweek ridership on the Tube is at 85% of pre-pandemic levels, but the figure for Fridays is just 73%.

It is hoped increasing the number of workers going to offices on Fridays would raise revenue for the hospitality sector through additional spending on lunches, after-work drinks and evening entertainment.

Mr Khan said he wants “everyone to be able to make the most all week of living or working in London”.

He went on: “London has really bounced back since the pandemic, but the lack of commuters returning on Fridays is a clear exception – with a major knock-on effect on our shops, cafes and cultural venues.

“That’s why I’ve asked TfL to trial off-peak fares on Fridays, and I encourage Londoners to get involved.

“A trial will help us to see if it’s an effective way of increasing ridership and giving a welcome boost to businesses as we continue to build a better, fairer, more prosperous London for everyone.”

Kate Nicholls, chief executive of industry body UKHospitality, said: “There’s no doubt that Fridays have suffered as a result of changes to working patterns since the pandemic, and hospitality businesses have felt that loss of commuter trade.

“Responding to these challenges with innovative trials like off-peak Fridays is exactly the type of flexible approach needed to boost journey numbers and stimulate footfall in our venues.”

The announcement of the trial comes a week after Mr Khan revealed TfL fares will be frozen until March next year, paid for by allocating £123 million of Greater London Authority funding.

Susan Hall, his Conservative opponent in May’s mayoral election, described the fares freeze as a “last roll of the dice”.