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Heathrow scrapping the free travel zone

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Heathrow has decided to scrap a number of free travel options in and around the airport. These trips are subsidised by the airport and it is seeking to reduce its operating costs.

Under HFTZ, the Heathrow Free Travel Zone, buses between terminals and around the perimeter road are free (see the map below).

Heathrow Free Travel zone

This is particularly useful when staying at one of the airport hotels, most of which are located on the fringes of the airport and not in walking distance of the terminals.

It now looks like this will be coming to an end. In an email, Heathrow ‘Surface Access Director’ Tony Caccavone said that free travel would be suspended “temporarily”:

“We are temporarily suspending the Heathrow Free Travel Zone and ending some of the subsidies [for airport staff], starting from 1st January 2021. We are hoping some of these changes will be short-lived and are working with transport operators to see if they can continue to offer discounts without our support.”

Implementation appears to be in phases, with some buses beginning to charge in January. The remainder of the routes will start charging later in 2021. By the end of 2021, it sounds like the Heathrow Free Travel Zone will cease to exist.

The announcement also includes a number of changes for those who work at Heathrow, who will see some of their subsidised travel withdrawn. This will inflame tempers further in advance of the proposed staff strikes in December.

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