Transport for London (TfL) has announced the new 60+ Oyster Photocard programme, which will allow Londoners aged 60 and over to travel for free on all TfL transport services, as well as some national rail services all day, every day. Additionally, it will allow passengers to travel for free outside of morning peak hours on other national rail services – like the Freedom Pass.
Applications for the new Oyster card can be turned in from 17 October, and there’s a £10 fee. The government expects over 100,000 applications to be handed in and another 10,000 Londoners to become eligible every month. The new travel card will be effective as of 1 November.
For the first year, the TfL will use £20 million of its budget to fund the new 60+ Oyster Photocard, and the cost is expected to rise as more people become eligible. This new programme fulfills London Mayor Boris Johnson’s promise to fill the gap for older Londoners since the government raised the age of eligibility for the Freedom Pass.
The Freedom Pass, which is funded by London’s boroughs, allows people in Greater London to travel on the entire TfL network for free. It can also be used across all of England, but only during off-peak periods. A TfL spokesperson said that Londoners will need to send in a new application when they are eligible for the Freedom Pass.
Johnson says that Londoners who expected to receive free travel at the eligible age felt cheated when the government raised the age requirement for the Freedom Pass. He vowed to restore this right to free travel on London’s transport network for every local starting from their 60th birthday. This will be the case from November when hundreds of thousands of people can enjoy the city with their 60+ Oyster card.
TfL customer experiences director Shashi Verma says Londoners aged 60 and over who aren’t eligible to get a Freedom Pass will be able to travel on all their services for free, any time from 1 November. Filling the gap on this concession will allow older locals to continue making the most of the capital’s public transport to get to appointments or simply enjoy what the city has to offer.
Meanwhile, TfL has appointed VisitBritain to manage the promotion and distribution of the Visitor Oyster card outside of the UK. This is the cheapest way to travel across London, as it includes bus, train, tram and Tube services. It can be used on the new Emirates Air Line cable car as well.
TfL head of marketing services Julie Dixon says that Oyster has offered travellers a cheaper, more efficient and faster way to pay for travel on London’s transport network since it was launched. With the worldwide contacts VisitBritain has, they will be able to promote Oyster to the millions of people who visit the capital every year. This will help visitors enjoy everything the city has to offer.
VisitBritain head of retail Jaco Coetzee says that TfL will be able to use their comprehensive overseas network and retail operation to reach the millions of international holidaymakers who visit the UK every year. Oyster is the must-have pass to travel on the capital’s transport network, which was helpful during the Olympics for travel on buses, trains and the Tube. All of the city’s attractions are within easy reach of travellers using an Oyster card to explore.