Suspension of TfL Concessions Hindering Essential Journeys for Older Londoners
In June 2020, a suspension on pre-9am travel for Older Persons Freedom Pass and 60+ Oyster Card holders was introduced, but new research conducted by Survation reveals that this restriction is hindering essential journeys. From 21st October – 28th October, we surveyed 849 Londoners over the age of 60 on behalf of Age UK London, a charity dedicated to enhancing the quality of life for older citizens. Our findings show that the suspension is causing problems for those who rely on public transportation for necessary trips.
The older population has been at the forefront of recent political discussions. Last week, Chancellor of the Exchequer Jeremy Hunt announced in the Autumn Statement that the State Pension will rise in line with inflation starting in April 2023, restoring the triple lock after it was suspended during the pandemic. This decision has sparked controversy, as older voters, while a crucial part of the Conservative electoral base, can be comparatively more affluent than other groups. The median total wealth for those in their early 60s is nearly nine times higher than for those in their early 30s. However, poverty rates among pensioners in London have increased in recent years, and the poverty rate for those over 50 in London is 7% higher than England’s national average.².
Of respondents to the survey, 84% possess either an Older Persons Freedom Pass or an Over 60s Oyster Card.
Not only are many of the journeys taken by those over 60 on public transport before 9am essential, but a significant portion are related to their health and work. In fact, 31% of respondents said they travel to attend appointments related to their health, and 28% said they travel for work. These findings highlight the importance of removing the suspension on pre-9am travel for older individuals.
The suspension on pre-9am travel for Older Persons Freedom Pass and Over 60s Oyster Card holders has had a significant impact on many individuals. Over a quarter (28%) of respondents said the change has prevented them from making important journeys, and this figure rises to 46% for those in full-time employment. As a result, 13% of respondents have had to stop working, and 16% have been unable to fulfill their caring responsibilities. These findings demonstrate the need to reevaluate the suspension on pre-9am travel for older individuals.
While national statistics may not accurately reflect the circumstances of older individuals in London, it is clear that the changes to the valid travel hours of Freedom Passes and 60+ Oysters have hindered essential travel for those over 60. Our research shows that these restrictions have had a negative impact on many individuals, forcing them to make difficult adjustments and preventing them from making important journeys.
¹Office for National Statistics. “Distribution of individual total wealth by characteristic in Great Britain.” Office for National Statistics, 7 January 2022, https://www.ons.gov.uk/peoplepopulationandcommunity/personalandhouseholdfinances/incomeandwealth/bulletins/distributionofindividualtotalwealthbycharacteristicingreatbritain/april2018tomarch2020.
²Age UK London. Poverty amongst older Londoners October 2022. October 2022. Age UK, https://www.ageuk.org.uk/bp-assets/globalassets/london/campaigns/poverty/age-uk-london-poverty-report-final.pdf.
Get The Data
The tables for this research can be found here. Survation conducted online polling of 849 60+ year olds living in London on behalf of Age UK London, between 21st – 28th October 2022.
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