New London mayor Sadiq Khan has announced the partial introduction of his proposed one-hour ‘Hopper’ fare, allowing bus passengers a free second journey within one hour of the first.
But, despite being branded with the same name, the new fare does not match the description in Mr Khan’s manifesto, in which he pledged to introduce 'The Hopper' as a 'new one-hour bus ticket allowing unlimited changes within an hour, so that a £1.50 single ticket pays for a full journey’.
Mr Khan campaigning on a London bus
The introduction of unlimited bus travel within an hour will have to wait while Transport for London (TfL) upgrades its technology, City Hall said.
TfL’s technology does not currently allow unlimited bus transfers within one hour but will be upgraded next year. City Hall said this will enable TfL to deliver unlimited journeys within an hour by the end of 2018, ‘but with an aim of doing so sooner’.
According to City Hall: ‘The Hopper fare’ will automatically be given to anyone who uses pay-as-you-go with Oyster cards or contactless payments, and will allow passengers to make an additional bus journey for free within one hour of touching in on the first bus.
‘For the vast majority of passengers this will mean an end to having to pay two bus fares when changing bus routes, and it is expected particularly to benefit Londoners on lower incomes who often rely on the bus network to get around.’
Mr Khan, said: ‘My dad drove the number 44 bus, and transport in London has always been a big part of my life. The cost of a fare in London has risen for eight years in a row and now that I’m mayor I am determined to prevent the cost of travel from becoming a barrier to work.
‘The “Hopper” fare will make life cheaper and easier for millions of Londoners, and will help ensure that everyone will be able to afford to travel around the city. It is just the start of my plan to ensure that travelling around London is affordable for everyone, a commitment that includes a freeze on TfL fares for four years – benefiting millions of people.’
In 2015 there were an estimated two and a half billion bus journeys in London, including 600 million pay-as-you-go journeys. Of these pay-as-you-go journeys, an estimated 86 million were followed by another bus journey within one hour.
Transport Network approached City Hall for comment as to whether the 'Hopper' fare met the description in Mr Khan's manifesto.
Press reports suggest that Mr Khan could bring in former Labour transport minister and current chair of the National Infrastructure Commission, Lord Andrew Adonis, as deputy mayor for transport.