Temporary suspension of free travel for Older Person’s Freedom Pass and 60+ passengers during morning peak hours was introduced in June 2020 and will be in place until further notice.
Changes are in accordance with the funding and finance agreement between TfL and Government and will help support and maintain social distancing where possible and provide additional reassurance as more customers return to public transport and as London recovers from the pandemic.
The changes affect part of the scheme that TfL funds. London Councils and the boroughs do not fund journeys during the morning peak and have not had a say in making these changes.
Disabled Freedom Pass holders are unaffected and will still able to travel at all times using their pass
From Monday 15 June 2020, changes to the ticketing system mean Older Person’s Freedom Pass and 60+ cards are automatically set not to be valid during the morning peak period (0430 to 0900) Monday to Friday.
Older Person’s Freedom Pass and 60+ card remain valid after 9.00am on weekdays and at all times at weekends and Bank Holidays
It remains compulsory for all passengers to wear a face covering on the TfL network from Monday 19th July 2021 when the Governments existing national requirement expires. Face coverings should be worn in stations and for the duration of your journey unless you are exempt.
Transport for London (TfL) set out details of the temporary changes affecting users of the Older Person’s Freedom Pass, 60+ Oyster photocard and English National Concessionary Scheme in London as part of the response to the pandemic.
The temporary changes, which took effect from Monday 15 June 2020, were introduced as part of the funding and finance agreement with Government.
This means that all passengers with an Older Person’s Freedom Pass, 60+ Oyster photocard or English National Concessionary Scheme pass will not be able to use those passes during morning peak hours (0430 to 0900) Monday to Friday in order to help support social distancing on the public transport network and help control the Covid-19 virus. They will continue to be valid at all other times on weekdays and all day on weekends and Bank Holidays.
From Monday 19th July 2021 capacity on buses will return to normal pre-pandemic levels, and customers are advised to make use of all available seats, with standing allowed. Customers are reminded to give up their seat for those less able to stand.
Passengers with a Disabled Freedom Pass are unaffected and will, as usual, still be able to travel at all times using their Pass if they have to use public transport for their journey.
These temporary arrangements will help reduce the risk of crowding at the busiest times which would mean that social distancing would be more difficult to maintain.
If passengers have no option other than to use public transport during the morning peak period – such as those aged over 60 who are key workers - TfL recommends that they travel using pay as you go with a contactless card or mobile device, or an Oyster card. If using pay as you go with Oyster, customers can use the free TfL Oyster app to check their balance and top it up on the go to avoid having to visit an Oyster Ticket Stop or ticket machine.
For more information – please visit www.tfl.gov.uk/fares
For TfL guidance on travelling on public transport with a face covering - please visit https://tfl.gov.uk/campaign/face-coverings#on-this-page-2
For government guidance on face coverings: when to wear one, exemptions, and how to make your own - please visit https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/face-coverings-when-to-wear-one-and-how-to-make-your-own
What is changing with my 60+ and Freedom pass?
Free travel for Older Person’s Freedom Pass and 60+ customers will be temporarily suspended during morning peak hours, 0430 to 0900, Monday to Friday. The change, introduced on Monday 15 June 2020, supports the agreement with Government to help support and maintain social distancing where possible and provide additional reassurance as more customers return to public transport and as London recovers from the pandemic. Older Person’s Freedom Pass and 60+ card will continue to be valid at all other times on weekdays and all day on weekends and Bank Holidays.
Why is TfL doing this?
These changes were introduced following the agreement with Government, which asked that changes to free travel be introduced as part of the recent finance and funding deal for Transport for London. These temporary arrangements will help reduce the risk of crowding at the busiest times which would mean that social distancing would be more difficult to maintain.
How many people are affected by this change?
There are currently around 900,000 Older Person’s Freedom Pass holders and 370,000 60+ Oyster card holders in London. Holders of the English National Concessionary Travel Scheme will also be affected but as this is a national scheme the number of directly impacted users will be minimal.
How long will these restrictions apply?
TfL will keep this policy under review and continue to work with Government regarding how long restrictions are needed.
Do the Freedom pass restrictions also apply to Disabled Person’s Freedom Passes?
Customers with a Disabled Person’s Freedom Pass are unaffected and will, as usual, still be able to travel at all times using their Pass.
How many Freedom Pass users traveling in the morning peak?
Since movement restrictions were introduced, Freedom Pass and 60+ users have constituted around 10.7% of demand in the morning peak compared to 5.4% in February.
What are you advising affected customers who must travel during morning peak?
If customers have no option other than to use public transport during the morning peak, TfL recommends that they travel using pay as you go with a contactless card or mobile device, or an Oyster card. If using pay as you go with Oyster, customers can use the free TfL Oyster app to check their balance and top it up on the go to avoid having to visit an Oyster Ticket Stop or ticket machine.
What other concession changes will you be implementing?
All our other adult concessions will remain in place.
Some Freedom Pass holders may be travelling in the morning peak to use special shopping hours at supermarkets. Is TfL preventing those customers from traveling?
Many supermarkets no longer offer special shopping hours, however do prioritise disabled, elderly and vunerable customers whenever there is a queue outside thier shops and will continue to prioritise NHS workers and carers on production of suitable ID.
Some supermarkets have returned to normal opening hours.
We advise you to check your preferred supermarket website for their most up to date information.
Will these restrictions apply to English National Concessionary Travel Scheme?
The English National Concessionary Travel Scheme is a national scheme developed by the Department for Transport in conjunction with local authorities across England, which allows cardholders to travel free on buses across the UK after 09.30.
In line with Freedom Pass travel restrictions, from Monday 15 June 2020 cardholders are not able to travel on buses within London between 0430 to 0900 Monday to Friday. They will be able to travel all day on weekends and Bank Holidays.
Will there be any reimbursement scheme for all NHS/care workers with a Freedom Pass/60+ card who have to travel in the peak for work, as with the congestion charge?
There are no plans for a reimbursement scheme for NHS/care workers as a result of these changes. They are in place to help reduce the risk of crowding at the busiest times. Reimbursement for the congestion charge is being provided as TfL acknowledges that travelling to work by car to help reduce the risk of NHS/care workers coming into contact with others as they travel to and from workplace.
How have the needs of older people, which include disabled older people, those on lower income, those from BAME backgrounds, been considered in the decision-making process?
TfL has carried out an Equality Impact Assessment as part of these changes. Londoners on low incomes tend to be women, older and disabled people, and those not in work. These temporary changes to free travel with a 60+ Oyster or Older Person’s Freedom Pass will increase the barrier for older Londoners on low incomes to travel at these times. However, Londoners over 60 and on low income are amongst those most vulnerable to infection and most at risk of inadvertently passing on the virus. These temporary arrangements will help reduce the risk of crowding at the busiest times which would mean that social distancing would be more difficult to maintain.
If disabled older people need to undertake essential travel using public transport before 09:00, they can apply to their London Borough for a Disabled Person’s Freedom Pass.
How can TfL even do this when there’s an agreement with London Councils that sets out how FP and 60+ operates?
The agreement that TfL has with London Councils is that the Older Persons Freedom Pass is valid 9am to 4.30am Monday to Friday and all day on weekends and Bank Holidays. A Disabled Freedom Pass is valid all day every day. London Councils fund all the journeys that are made at those times.
In 2009, the Mayor directed TfL to allow Older Persons Freedom Pass travel pre 9am Monday to Friday. This meant that London Councils do not fund this travel and it is simply revenue forgone for TfL.
As part of the TfL funding agreement, the Government asked that temporary changes to free travel be introduced. This will not have any impact on the settlement that TfL agrees with London Councils as the validity times of travel are the same for what they fund.
How will the restrictions on travel for people with concession travel be enforced, specifically on buses?
There has been a major programme of communication with TfL staff, including briefings for all frontline staff and customer services teams. As safety improvements made to screens by TfL has made it possible to return to front-door boarding, customers are required to touch in with their Freedom Pass which means drivers are able to enforce the new rules.
Bus staff will be expected to use their discretion to ensure that no older people, including holders of the English National Concessionary Travel Scheme concession from outside London, who may be genuinely unaware of the new morning peak restrictions, are left behind at stops.
How are we working with supermarkets and the NHS on these changes?
TfL is engaging with the NHS and businesses across London and we are working to encourage staggered openings and shift patterns. The Deputy Mayor for Transport has also written to major supermarket chains and NHS Health Trusts and GP representative groups within London to ask that they look to ensure priority access for older people is moved to outside the peak hours. Although, most supermarkets have now returned to normal opening hours. You are recommended to visit your preferred supermarkets website for their most up to date information.
Do I have to do anything in relation to these changes or are they automatic?
The changes are automatic.
How can I protect myself and others when travelling?
On Monday 19 July 2021 the requirement to wear a face covering on the Transport for London network will remain compulsory. This will provide additional reassurance as more customers return to public transport and as London recovers from the pandemic. Masks are effective in protecting us all from the virus.
Customers will need to continue to wear a face covering in stations and for the duration of their journey unless they are exempt.
Please continue to wash or sanitise hands before and after travel.
Local buses elsewhere in England
Your Freedom Pass is valid on most other bus services in England and has the English National Concessionary Travel Scheme (ENCTS) 'Rose' printed on it to show this. This means you can use your pass on most local services around the country. Your pass will be valid Monday-Friday 09:30 - 23:00 and anytime at weekends and on public holidays. The Freedom Pass is not valid on most intercity coach services and is not valid in Wales, Scotland or Northern Ireland, or on tram or National Rail services outside London.
We strongly advise you to contact the bus operating company before you travel to check the validity of your pass if you are at all uncertain.
Useful contacts for the major bus and coach operators
- National Express www.nationalexpress.com 0871 781 8181
- Green Line www.greenline.co.uk 0344 801 7261
- Arriva www.arrivabus.co.uk 0344 800 4411
- Stagecoach www.stagecoachbus.com 0343 222 1234
- Megabus www.megabus.com/uk/ 0141 352 4444
- First www.firstgroup.com/ukbus/ 0122 465 0160
Traveline www.traveline.info can provide information service on timetables, journey planning and operator details and all over the country. Call 0871 200 22 33. Calls cost 12 pence per minute plus your phone company’s access charge.