Sadiq Khan announces free travel for thousands of lowest paid transport workers

Thousands of the lowest paid transport workers are to travel for free across London to help with cost of living crisis after an intervention by the Labour mayor Sadiq Khan.

The move is designed to aid those who keep Londoners on the move. Around 5,000 transport workers not previously eligible for free travel will benefit, including cleaning, catering and security staff, with the costs shouldered by City Hall.

The cost of living has soared in recent months, with the latest figures showing inflation running at almost 10 per cent.

The government has stepped in to help households cope with skyrocketing energy costs, but say the average home’s bills will still amount to £2,500 a year, a massive hike for many.

The perk is already given to those directly employed directly by Transport for London (TfL), which runs the city’s transport networks, including the Tube. Oyster cards are also issued to bus drivers and operators of other TfL services as part of their benefit package.

The mayor has also asked TfL to consider whether it can improve sick-pay standards for the lowest paid and look at bringing cleaning services in-house.

Mr Khan paid tribute to the work staff did during the pandemic, saying that they “continue to play an essential and much-valued role in keeping our city’s transport network safe and operating”.

He said he was “deeply concerned” about the cost of living crisis. “I will continue to do everything I can to help Londoners with spiralling costs, including providing targeted support directly to those on lower incomes, and to prevent financial inequalities widening further so we can continue to build a better, fairer and more prosperous city for all Londoners.”

The new scheme will operate for eligible staff of TfL’s suppliers by April.