Friends, flatmates and family of TfL staff are currently able to use London's public transport for free, but the Conservatives want to put a stop to this.
They say the rule, which allows each employee of the body to select one person they live with to be able to travel around the capital cost-free using a “nominee pass”, is costing the government £22m each year and could reach £111m by 2020.
According to the party's “Free Ride” report released earlier today, 3.6m tube, DLR and tram rides were taken in 2014 using these passes, along with 4.8m bus journeys. The figures were gathered through Freedom of Information requests.
Andrew Boff, leader of the Greater London Authority Conservatives, said:
At a time when the public sector is having to make money stretch further, there is no justification for individuals who do not provide an essential role in keeping London in operation receiving these types of benefit.
He argued that a better use of the money would be to offer complimentary travel cards to fire-fighters, who unlike police do not currently receive free travel on the TfL network. The report recommends that London mayor Boris Johnson begins earmarking additional revenues for free travel for the capital's fire-fighters.
It also calls for TfL to ensure that all existing nominee passes expire by the end of the year, and that no more new or replacement passes are issued.
The benefit is not part of the employee contract, and could be taken away at any time.
A transport for London spokesperson told City A.M. the nominee passes were a “long-standing part of the terms and conditions of TfL staff”, and that removing them would result in backlash.
“Were it to be withdrawn it would result in immediate claims for increased pay and almost certainly lead to widespread industrial action for a net financial loss.”