Nurses were today revealed to be among the losers from the decision to axe free early-morning travel for older Londoners.

People over 60 lost their right to free bus and Tube travel before 9am a fortnight ago as part of the Government’s £1.6 billion bail-out for Transport for London.

The Royal College of Nursing said many of its older members were now having to pay to get to work, or when returning home from night shifts, as a result of the temporary changes.

The capital has about 9,000 nurse vacancies and the RCN is concerned the loss of free travel in the morning will exacerbate cost of living problems.

It has called on TfL to exempt nurses from the temporary changes and, in the long term, to offer nurses of all ages free Oyster cards.

Lisa Elliott, London regional director of the RCN, told the Standard: “We imagine a fair number of our members are going to be impacted by this. A lot of our members don’t live and work in the same borough and are quite reliant on public transport.

“We are really concerned about retaining and attracting nurses in the capital. We think as a first step from TfL that nurses should be exempt. In the long-term we would like… for there to be free travel for all nurses.”

It came as London bus drivers were reportedly told not to enforce a rule requiring passengers to wear face coverings. Bus drivers told LBC they are being threatened with disciplinary action if they try to confront or refuse boarding to passengers without masks.

TfL said: “Once we are confident customers understand the new rules, we will move to an enforcement phase, which could include being refused entry or being fined.”