Mates’ rates: TfL slammed again over free passes for friends and family

A perk which gives free travel passes to flatmates and friends of TfL staff should be scrapped, a London Assembly member has said.

Critics claim the pass, which can be given to family members or anyone else living at the same address as a TfL staff member, costs over £33m a year to the taxpayer.

“It seems ludicrous that the taxpayer has to foot a bill of over £33million a year just so TfL staff can hand out free travelcards to their mates,” said Keith Prince, an Assembly member from Havering and Redbridge.

Keith Prince

“It would be hard enough to justify this perk under normal circumstances, but at a time when the Mayor is seeking to save more than £640million from within TfL because of his disastrous fares freeze it really takes the biscuit.”

He suggested free travel for firefighters would be a cheaper and more worthwhile cause.

“The Mayor needs to scrap this ridiculous and unnecessary perk immediately. By doing so he could save TfL and the taxpayer millions in vital revenue and still have money left over to provide our firefighters with a valuable thank you for their work.”

The Staff Nominee scheme, as it is known, has come in for criticism before.

But in 2015, TfL said axing the scheme would bring in no more than £7m in additional income.

And then-Mayor Boris Johnson also defended it, saying: “This is a historic part of the terms and conditions under which TfL employees sign up. This is a marginal extra cost to TfL.”


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