They have contributed to a change in working methods leading to an 80 per cent reduction in travelcard use on public transport in London.
Transport for London has revealed a dramatic drop in the popularity of tickets, which often offer commuters a discount on the daily rate.
In less than a decade, purchases of weekly, monthly and annual season tickets have dropped from around 1.2 million to around 220,000 per four-week period.
This trend has accelerated since the launch of contactless and pay-as-you-go ticketing in 2014 and continues as a result of the increase in working from home due to the pandemic.
The biggest drop has come in annual tickets, whose use has come down by 90 per cent. There has been a decline of 79 per cent in the sale of monthly and weekly tickets.
Shashi Verma, director of strategy and chief technology officer at TfL, said the introduction of daily fare capping in 2015 had encouraged the switch.
“The use of travelcards has fallen by almost 80 per cent in the years when pay-as-you-go was popular, and there has been a steep decline in the years of the pandemic as well,” he told the London Assembly.
Asked whether TfL could do more to encourage “flexible working”, he said its fare system already provided good value to commuters traveling only two or three days a week.
He said: “We have a pay as you go system, where you pay only for what you use. We have a system of daily capping, where you get capped out at the end of the day.
“The daily caps are one-fifth of the weekly caps, meaning that if you work only two days a week you pay for two-fifths of the week, and if you work five days a week you Pay for the whole week.
“It is not clear what more we can do to support flexible working patterns. The places where that demand comes from is on National Rail.
“Monthlys (travelcards) offer much less discount than weeklys. Monthly values are equivalent to 27 days. Unless you are really traveling intensively for 28 days or more in a month, the monthly travelcard Very little value.
“Annual travelcards provide value. But the reality is that use of travelcards has fallen by almost 80 per cent in the last few years when pay-as-you-go became popular, and they have also declined significantly during the pandemic All travelcards – weekly, monthly, annual – everything has come down.
Earlier this week, Mayor Sadiq Khan announced that tube and bus fares would increase by an average of 5.9 per cent from March 5.
Bus fares will increase by 10p – 6.1 per cent – to £1.75, while single peak tube fares in Zone 1 will increase by 30p – 12 per cent – to £2.80.
Mr Khan has asked TfL to continue to investigate the feasibility of withdrawing from the Travelcard system, which provides a unified ticket for passengers who also travel on mainline railways.
Mr Khan hopes this could generate more fare revenue for TfL. But Mr Verma suggested this would make little difference to the behavior of the capital’s ticketing system, as fares and capping levels would still have to follow the “same rules” as those on the National Rail.
“Getting out of the travelcard alone doesn’t mean you have complete freedom of action,” he said.
“While we want unified fares between Tube and National Rail, there will be some constraints. This comes from wanting unified fares. Weekly caps and daily caps still follow the same rules as the Travelcard agreement.”
(translate to tag) Travelcards (T) Transport for London