Thames Cable Car
Cable car fares will go up for the first time in four years

Bus fares are rising 5p from March and tourists will have to pay £5 to use the Thames Cable Car as mayor Sadiq Khan hikes charges to pay for the coronavirus pandemic.

After four years of a partial fare freeze, costs are going up by an average of 2.6% across the Transport for London network from 1 March – the same day as National Rail companies impose a similar rise.

Many SE London rail users will have gone untouched by the fare freeze, as it only applies to TfL services, but the bus fare rise is the first since 2016. It sees the charge for an hour’s travel on buses go up to £1.55. The daily cap rises to £4.65.

The daily fare caps for all rail, tube and bus services in zones 2, 3 and 4 all go up 20p – to £7.40 for zones 1 and 2, £8.60 for zones 1 to 3, and £10.60 for zones 1 to 4.

A four-year fare freeze was a cornerstone of mayor Sadiq Khan’s election campaign in 2016; last year’s planned election is currently due to be held this May because of the coronavirus pandemic. The crisis has also wrecked the income of TfL, which has been left highly dependent on fare income following a deal struck when Boris Johnson was mayor.

Route 54 bus
Bus fares will also see their first rise since 2016

The highest fare rises will be on the Thames Cable Car. Cash fares, usually paid by visitors to London, will go up 50p to £5. The fare for Oyster card users goes up from £3.50 to £4. TfL predicts this will generate an extra £400,000 in income.

However, the little-publicised carnet tickets – aimed at local users – will remain priced at £17 for ten crossings. In a sample week in October 2019, before the pandemic, just 52 carnets were sold, according to information given to 853 under the Freedom of Information Act.

The future of the cable car, formally known as the Emirates Air Line, will be under scrutiny in the coming 18 months as its 10-year sponsorship deal with Emirates comes to an end next year.

Those seeking the cheaper alternative to the cable car – a tube and DLR ride from North Greenwich to Royal Victoria – will also see a fare increase. The £1.50 off-peak flat fare on tube and DLR services outside zone 1 is coming to an end – this zones 2 and 3 fare will rise to £1.60. Trips from zones 2 to 4, 5 and 6 will rise to £1.70. But all fares within one zone will stay at £1.50 – a decision which will largely benefit London Overground users in north London, although Canary Wharf travellers from Greenwich and Lewisham will also benefit. Zone 1 tube fares are also frozen at £2.40.

Wider change could come in the future – the Evening Standard today reports that Canary Wharf could be brought into Zone 1 as part of a funding package TfL is attempting to negotiate with the government. London’s fare zones have been largely unchanged since they were created in 1983, several years before the financial centre was built.

The Standard also says that TfL is considering a £5.50 charge for polluting vehicles to enter Greater London; effectively a lower-cost extension of the £11.50 Ultra Low Emissions Zone which will operate within the South and North Circular Roads from October. A £3.50 charge for all vehicles has already been suggested.

Khan said:“Londoners know that I have done everything possible to make public transport more affordable since I became Mayor – including introducing the unlimited Hopper bus fare and freezing all TfL fares since taking office – saving the average London household over £200.

“Unfortunately this year ministers insisted on a RPI+1 per cent fares increase in order for TfL to get the emergency government support needed as a consequence of the global pandemic. Public transport should be affordable to all, so I am pleased that I was able to fight off even worse government proposals to scrap free travel for under 18s and concessions for over 60s as well as a bigger fares increase.”

Full details of the fares can be found in this document.

Sample Oyster fare increases

Zone 1-2 TfL (eg, North Greenwich to Bond Street)
Off-peak £2.50, peak £3,00 (both up 10p)
Zone 1-2 rail (Greenwich to Cannon Street)
Off-peak £2.70, peak £3.20 (both up 10p)
Zone 1-3 rail (Charlton to Charing Cross)
Off-peak £3.00, peak £3.90 (both up 10p)
Zone 2-3 TfL (Cutty Sark to Canary Wharf)
Off-peak £1.60, peak £1.80 (both up 10p)
Zone 2-3 rail/TfL (Charlton to Canary Wharf)
Off-peak £2.50, peak £2.90 (both up 10p)
Zone 1-4 rail (Plumstead to Blackfriars)
Off-peak £3.30, peak £4.40 (both up 10p)
Zone 1-4 TfL (Woolwich Arsenal to Bank)
Off-peak £2.90, peak £4.00 (both up 10p)
Zone 2-4 TfL (Woolwich Arsenal to Canary Wharf by DLR)
Off-peak £1.70 (up 20p), peak £2.50 (up 10p)

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