Category Archives: London

Lowest-paid Londoners ‘spending 10 per cent of their wages on travel costs’

The capital’s lowest paid workers are spending 10p in every £1 they earn on getting to work in central London, a report claimed today.

People with cleaning jobs and other manual work in hotels and offices in Zone 1 are disproportionately affected by rising transport costs and often already struggle with high housing and living costs.

The report, Living on the Edge, by London Councils, London TravelWatch and the Trust for London, found that high travel costs were a problem for all workers in the capital.

Londoners spend an average of seven per cent of their monthly income on travel — around £100 — while one in five said they went to work via the cheapest route rather than the shortest or most convenient.

The report said Londoners need to work for an average of 44 minutes a day to cover daily commuting costs, rising to 54 minutes for those earning £200 to £599 a month and one hour and 56 minutes for those earning less than £200 a month.

The report suggested concessionary fares for low-income workers, reintroducing off-peak travelcards for people on flexible working hours and making it easier to get season ticket loans.

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a choir of London pensioners sing an ode to the Freedom Pass

A choir of senior citizens has just launched a new song, and it’s dedicated to the Freedom Pass. Bolder Voices, who are based in Kensal Green, pride themselves on writing their own material, and ‘Love That Freedom Pass’ is their ode to the scheme that’s guaranteed pensioners free rides around London since 1973. The accompanying video is up on YouTube, the highlight being a midway skit where a twentysomething whinges about the £32 she’s just spent on a Travelcard, while the choir gleefully wave their pensioners’ perks. Christmas Number One, please

Valid Bus Passes being refused in London & elsewhere.

Imagine the scene – a couple leaving the Hampton Court Flower Show attempt to board a London bus. They tender their bus passes issued in Gloucestershire but the bus driver refuses it as being invalid on London buses. Feeling very unhappy about this the elderly couple, anxious to get back to the place they are staying, offer to pay the fare but that too is refused, as no cash is now taken on London buses. Obviously bus pass holders visiting London will not have bought an Oyster Card if they intend to just use bus services for transport.
We are sorry to report that get messages at regular intervals from people with an ENCTS scheme bus pass issued in England but outside London where the bus driver has erroneously refused to accept the bus pass. This places the bus pass holder in an impossible position, since the London buses no longer accept cash.
Sadly these are not the only cases where bus drivers don’t seem to understand the rules – a resident in Somerset recently reported to us that on a trip to Devon using a Somerset Bus Pass they were made to pay the bus fare to the Somerset border. This is clearly not how the ENCTS scheme is intended to work.
May we say we don’t wish to vilify bus drivers who generally do a first class job cheerfully. We do feel very strongly though that those responsible for the provision of local bus services have a responsibility to ensure that their drivers are given clear information on the acceptance of bus passes. The position is more acute in London, since the refusal to accept a valid bus pass puts older people in a very bad situation.

If you encounter any difficulty getting your bus pass accepted we would like to hear about it – please use the ‘reply’ box below.

Comment received from Devon Bus Pass office:

You may not be aware that Devon County Council has excluded service 300 from the concessionary travel scheme as of 1st April 2014 as the service is used primarily for tourism.

This means that anyone boarding in Devon will have to pay a fare to the county border regardless of where the pass was issued.

Attached is a link to our scheme document for 2014.

Using a bus pass in London

Bus Pass holders planning a visit to London ask us very frequently ‘Can I use my bus pass in London?’ to which our reply is always ‘Yes you can if your bus pass was issued in England’ and will have a English National Bus Pass Symbolred rose symbol on it.

It is important to mention though that bus passes issued outside London aren’t accepted on the Tube, rail or ferry services in London. Why should that be ? Well the theory is that when the National Bus Pass scheme was brought out in 2008, local authorities received, and still receive funding to cover the cost [local councils will say ‘Ah but not enough funding to cover the cost’ – but that is another issue.] The English National Concessionary Travel Scheme (ENCTS)provides for use of bus passes between 9.30 am and 11pm Monday to Friday, and anytime at weekends.

April 2016 Update on using a bus pass in London


There are other options for saving on Tube fares in London, e.g.

Holders of bus passes issued in Merseyside or Greater London from age 60 (i.e. earlier than the ENCTS) should note that these passes cannot be used outside their home area – these passes don’t have a ENglish National Bus Pass Symbolred rose symbol on them.

Further information about different conditions for using bus passes

In some districts councils have decided to improve on the ENCTS conditions by:

  • Extending the weekday hours – often by making the bus pass usable before 9.30 am e.g. Staffordshire allow any time during the week.
  • Making the bus pass acceptable on local metro/rail services/tube e.g. Merseyside, Greater Manchester, Greater London

Where this has happened the extra ‘benefits’ are only available for residents of the area concerned, e.g. travelling on the Merseyside Metro system with a bus pass is only available to holders of Merseyside Travel Pass.

Further information on variations in bus pass schemes in different local authority areas can be found on our Local Variations page.

We hope this explanation helps, we didn’t make these rules, we are just trying to make them understandable.

Boris’ scheme for London apprentices bus passes

he Mayor of London, Boris Johnson, has kicked off National Apprenticeship Week by announcing a new concessionary travel scheme that will help put money back in the pockets of hard working apprentices.

From May the scheme, which was one of the Mayor’s manifesto commitments, will allow anyone in the first year of an apprenticeship to get 30 per cent off adult rate Travelcards and Bus & Tram pass season tickets. It is expected to benefit around 40,000 apprentices living and working in the capital and forms part of the Mayor’s on-going campaign to boost employment opportunities for young Londoners.  The concession could save an apprentice up to £660 a year on the cost of an annual travel card.

The Mayor pledged to help create 100,000 apprenticeships in the capital by 2012 and he is imminently expected to be able to confirm that he beat that target with months to spare. The latest official figures recorded up to October of last year show the campaign, run in partnership with the National Apprenticeship Service, stands at 99,700. However the next quarter’s figures are due out later this month and are expected to see a total of well in excess of the 100,000 target.

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London bus and Tube fares to go up 4.2% from January

Fares across London’s transport network will go up by 4.2% from January, mayor Boris Johnson has announced.

The fare rise means a single bus fare on Oyster pay-as-you-go will be £1.40, up by 5p, while a zone 1 Tube journey will cost £2.10, an increase of 10p.

The increase, described by the mayor as “balanced”, is 1% above the Retail Prices Index (RPI) inflation. The government has provided £96m in funds.

Cycle hire cost also doubled with an annual membership rising to £90.

Concessionary fares for young people and veterans have been protected as has free travel for the elderly and disabled.

Mr Johnson said: “This fares package is hugely important to our millions of passengers and I am very pleased to have secured nearly £100m that will help to keep fares as low as possible, and protect the important concessions that we offer the most vulnerable Londoners.”
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November 1st, a day to remember, when Boris began to resemble St George and King Canute

Boris as St George Today is the day that like King Canute, the Mayor of London reversed the tide and allowed those becoming age 60 to receive a 60+ London Oyster Photocard, instead of waiting for a Freedom Pass at an age moving towards age 65. In doing so he put to the sword those dragons who have been baying for the removal of bus passes, because they could see no further than the end of their noses.If you live in London, are aged 60 or over,You can now apply for a 60+ London Oyster photocard, giving travel free on bus, Tube, tram, DLR, London Overground and most National Rail services in London
If you wish to apply the place to go is