A Farnham councillor has slammed Transport for London (TfL) plans to eliminate day travelcards for London, labelling them a “retrospective step” in the battle against climate change.
Councillor Catherine Powell, county member for Farnham North and leader of Surrey’s independent group, spoke out after TfL gave notice that it will withdraw from the funding agreement for travelcards.
The travelcards mean Surrey residents can travel in to the capital on a single ticket for use on Transport for London (TfL) services including the underground, bus, tram, Docklands Light Railway and London Overground.
If day travelcards are withdrawn, it will mean Surrey residents would need to buy separate tickets for rail travel and TfL journeys.
Explaining the decision, the mayor of London Sadiq Khan’s office says travelcards are “effectively under-funded” at a cost to TfL of around £40 million a year.
But Cllr Powell (Farnham Residents, Farnham North) has joined fellow Surrey councillors in calling for TfL, along with the Department for Transport (DfT) and train operators, to come together to find a solution, and for Zone 6 to be expanded to include some Surrey stations.
She said: “We need to encourage the use of public transport as part of moving towards net zero. To remove day travelcards would be a retrospective step.”
Surrey’s cabinet member for transport, Councillor Matt Furniss (Conservative, Shalford), also called the proposal “discriminatory” and will ask the council’s leader to write to Sadiq Khan outlining the impact on Surrey residents, the negative impact on the economy of London and “the need to abandon plans to remove day travelcards”.
His motion to Tuesday’s meeting of the full council also asked the council’s leader Cllr Tim Oliver (Conservative, Weybridge) to write to the secretary of state for transport “urging him to intervene in this matter”.
A TfL spokesperson said central government demands for the organisation to save money and “generate significant amounts of additional revenue” had led to proposals to stop accepting day travelcards on the TfL network.
They said the mayor had “reluctantly” instructed TfL to give six months’ notice to withdraw from the travelcard agreement, but that the decision was reversible.
The spokesperson said: “This is the first stage in a process and there are no changes to tickets at this time.
“This is an operational decision that has been taken now to ensure that TfL meets the requirements of its funding agreement, but TfL continues to look for alternative options.”
Surrey’s Labour and Green party groups were also expected to support the motion, which was to be debated after the Herald went to press on Tuesday.