Part-time workers in London welcomed some good news from London Underground this week who announced their new flexible fares system, which could mean savings of hundreds of pounds a year on travelling costs for many.
For many years, around 600,000 part-time workers in London have drawn the short straw just because they don’t commute five days a week. Mayor Boris Johnson believed this was unfair and wanted to open up deals to every worker that commuted to London, whether they be full-time or part-time employees. This new measure will also benefit those who have a flexible working pattern where their hours and days change on a weekly basis.
However, it must be pointed out that these savings may not be as much as expected from 2nd January next year when bus and tube fares will rise by 2.5%, bringing fares in line with those of National Rail tickets – effectively ‘freezing’ fares in real terms, we are told…
Johnson is one step ahead of the government on this occasion, who are yet to do anything about their ‘promise’ of a fares trial for part-time workers on National Rail into London. The announcement also comes at a time when TfL (Transport for London) are due to lower the daily Oyster PAYG fare cap which essentially means that anyone who works five days or less will no longer need to get a weekly Travelcard in order to enjoy the cheaper fare. This move comes after research revealed that commuters that use the contactless payment system save as much as £100 per week on the same journeys, in comparison to Oyster users and the difference between daily and weekly fare caps.
But with the inexorable rise in the number of people travelling by rail, tube and buses in to, out of and around London, why does it hit our pockets so hard in comparison to many European countries? And with the continued announcements of cancelled services, would we rather choose consistency and reliability of a service over saving a few pennies a year? The never-ending debate; but at least part-time and flexible workers are finally being considered.