One of the money savers that there when travelling to Heathrow “unplanned” was to take the Elizabeth Line or Piccadilly Line.
Well, with minimal notice, Transport for London is putting up the fares, with Peak-Time fares applying at all times.
When did this go live?
The change went live on Sunday 4 September 2022, with minimal fanfare (and the press release snuck out on Saturday). All Tube and Elizabeth line fares for journeys that go through Zone 1 and start or end at Heathrow Airport will be charged at peak rate.
Here are the new fare details – with a rise of £2 per journey on both the Underground and the Elizabeth Line.
|Peak fare||Off-peak fare||Increase|
From the same date, the charge for a new Oyster card will increase from £5 to £7.
Journeys to the airport that avoid Zone 1 would continue to have an off-peak fare, while journeys ending at stations before Heathrow, like Hatton Cross, Hounslow West and Hayes & Harlington will also not be affected by the changes.
TfL is also working to restart the discounted travel available to airport workers across all Team Heathrow employers. All pay-as-you-go journeys will also continue to benefit from daily and weekly capping and all concessions, including free travel of under 11s, will remain in place.
The move is being made by Transport for London due to the financial challenges caused by the pandemic and the funding requirements to keep the network going. With such money, conditions are attached to the funding.
In December 2021, the Mayor of London outlined a number of fares options that were being explored to comply with the Government’s funding conditions. Since then, TfL has undertaken Equality Impact Assessments and engaged with stakeholders. Following this, it has been agreed that the changes to Heathrow fares and Oyster charges should be implemented from 4 September 2022 to help achieve Government requirements and support TfL’s target to achieve financially sustainable operations by April 2023.
The fare changes have been implemented post-school holidays to enable travellers and tourists to not take the hit and use other modes of transport.
How much will this generate?
The changes to Tube and Elizabeth line fares to Heathrow and the £2 increase for an Oyster card are expected to generate additional income of up to £27m per year calculated up to 2027-28 and support TfL’s target to achieve financially sustainable operations by April 2023.
The Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, said:
‘Raising more money from fares was a condition of our funding deal with Government. This fare increase was chosen as one which would have a lower impact on Londoners currently worried about the cost of living, and to ensure that journeys that avoid zone 1 will not be affected, helping to protect those living near and working at the airport.’
Shashi Verma, Chief Technology Officer at TfL said:
‘Changes to the fares to Heathrow and the increase to the Oyster card fee are necessary to comply with the Government’s funding conditions. These will help to ensure that TfL can reach financial sustainability as soon as possible.
‘Both TfL and the Mayor remain committed to keeping fares as affordable as possible. The Hopper fare for buses and trams as well as daily and weekly fare capping continue to help keep down the cost of travel across London for everyone.’
Fare rises are never welcome – but a little more notice would have been nice
Whilst it seems TfL wanted to surpass this rise over the summer, the sudden announcement of it does raise a few eyebrows, as it targets travellers heading from Zone 1 (think anything inside the Circle Line Loop and a bit beyond) to Heathrow (or vice-versa).
It might just be a £2 rise, but it also might give TfL more ideas along the line (for example, peak time Zone 1 all the time anyone?).
It also makes Heathrow Express cheaper in some cases, with 90-day bookings starting at £5.50 for a single ticket – the same price as the peak underground fare.
If you can plan ahead, there may be savings to be had. If however, you are a last-minute traveller, expect to pay more.
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