Thu. Jul 18th, 2024

TfL has admitted there would be some challenges in introducing such a system (Picture: PA)

Transport for London is considering introducing fares that change according to demand, similar to the system used to set prices for some concert tickets on Ticketmaster.

Dynamic pricing has gained notoriety among fans of acts such as Taylor Swift, Harry Styles and Bruce Springsteen due to the significant hike in costs that can result on the site.

The system is also often used by airlines and hotels to push up and reduce prices depending on how many people are looking to buy a flight or room.

Seb Dance, Sadiq Khan’s deputy mayor for transport, confirmed TfL was looking into the idea for public transport fares at a London Assembly meeting today.

He was asked about the potential introduction of dynamic pricing by Liberal Democrat Caroline Pidgeon ahead of a fares review next March.

The Evening Standard reported that Mr Dance replied: ‘It’s a decision for the mayor but it’s also on the advice of TfL as well, as well as my own [advice].

‘In terms of dynamic fare pricing, there are many different variations of what that looks like, and TfL has indeed been tasked with looking at various options.’

However, bosses at the transport body admitted there were some challenges that had previously stopped them implementing the plans.

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Mayor of London Sadiq Khan is ‘acutely aware’ of cost pressures facing Londoners, his deputy mayor for transport said (Picture: PA)

Fans of Taylor Swift were unhappy with the dynamic pricing system used for ticket sales on her Eras tour (Picture: Chris Pizzello/Invision/AP)

TfL commissioner Andy Lord said the current ticketing system, which relies heavily on Oyster card and contactless payments, was dated and may not be able to cope with such a complex new system without an upgrade.

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He told the meeting: ‘There are some hard IT challenges.’

The transport authority previously said it would ‘explore the use of more dynamic fare pricing’ in May 2021, but no firm progress has been made since then.

An adult peak pay-as-you-go fare in London’s Zone one currently costs £2.80 (Picture: Shutterstock/I Wei Huang)

Answering a question asked by assembly member Elly Baker last year, Mr Khan said: ‘I asked Transport for London to explore dynamic fare pricing and it has indicated that it is not technically feasible as things stand, to offer demand-led surge pricing.

‘Peak and off-peak pricing has long been used to encourage customers to change their travel plans, where possible, and is easily understood by customers.’

On March 5 this year, fares across the London public transport network increased by an average of 5.9%.

The Mayor’s Budget for TfL, released earlier this month, revealed aims for the body to grow an operating surplus of around £500m by 2026/27.

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