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Londoners: do you know about March 2021’s TfL fare rise?

Londoners: do you know about March 2021’s TfL fare rise?
Image source: Getty Images.


Calling all Londoners: have you heard about the TfL fare increases coming your way soon? While you might be travelling less due to the coronavirus pandemic, the price hike could still affect you. Here’s what you should know. 

What is the TfL fare increase?

From 1 March 2021, TfL fares are going up by roughly 2.6% across the entire network. Let’s break down the key changes.

  • There’s a 5p increase on the bus and tram ‘Hopper’ fare, so tickets now cost £1.55. You can still get unlimited travel within the first hour of touching in, though.
  • Most pay as you go fares will go up by 10p or 20p. 
  • You’ll now pay 60p for a paper ticket, which is a 10p increase. 
  • Bus and tram caps will rise to £4.65, which is a 15p hike.
  • River Bus fares have also increased slightly.

So, for example, it now costs £21.90 for a seven-day bus or tram ticket, and £37 for a zone one and two Travelcard. 

Why is the TfL fare going up?

Well, unsurprisingly, we can blame the coronavirus pandemic.

TfL, like other transport networks, relies on fare income to fund passenger services and vital infrastructure. But at the peak of the Covid-19 crisis, passenger numbers fell dramatically, leading to a 90% drop in fare income.   

The result? There’s just not enough money to sustain services unless fares go up slightly.

While it’s unclear how many people will return to the office once lockdown restrictions ease, many Londoners still rely on the transport network, so it’s crucial that it keeps running. 

On the plus side, although any fare increase is a little disappointing, it’s the first time there’s been a rise in five years. If fares had gone up at the rate of inflation each year over the past five years, prices would be higher. So, at least there’s a silver lining, albeit a small one. 

Are any fares staying the same?

Yes. Here’s a breakdown of the key TfL fares that aren’t changing. 

  • Adult pay as you go fares in zone one.
  • Adult off-peak pay as you go fares in a single zone. 
  • Where applicable, under 18s can still get free travel. Otherwise, the cap for 16+ fares remains frozen at £2.25.

Other concession rates also remain unchanged. 

How do the changes affect me?

If you use London’s transport network, chances are you’ll be affected by the fare increases. The good news is that you still have a little time to prepare, so here are some tips to help.

  • Check out how much your TfL fares will cost by heading over to the official website.
  • Think about your route. Can you make any changes to your journey so it’s a little more cost-effective? For example, maybe you can walk some of the route so you’re only paying for a ticket across a single zone.
  • Start saving money where you can, even if it’s just by cutting back on takeaways. A few pounds can make a big difference in the long run. 

Final word

Let’s be honest, price hikes are never great news. However, the mayor has ensured the fare increases are as low as possible, and that some fares will remain the same. And if you’re not back in the office anytime soon, you’ve got plenty of time to start saving. You could start by working out a new budget plan.

If you’re worried about the price changes, though, see if you can change your route to make it a little kinder on your wallet! 

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