London mayor urged not to inflict 'inflation-busting' fares on commuters
Published by Max Salsbury for 24dash.com in Local Government and also in Communities, Finance
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The Mayor of London has been urged not to inflict "inflation-busting" fares on the city's commuters.
Labour Group Transport Spokesperson Val Shawcross has highlighted that mayor Boris Johnson's business plan states that fares are scheduled to increase at RPI plus one 1% in January - meaning that fares will rise by 3.5% across London.
Labour has slammed Johnson for letting travel costs in the capital rise by 42% under his watch, despite repeated pledges to lower fares.
Johnson’s 2012 manifesto stated: “Londoners deserve honesty and openness over fare setting. My approach will ensure that fares will be lower in the long term. Short term fare cuts invariably lead to fare hikes in the aftermath. I reject the economics of the loan shark. By cutting waste at TfL my approach will keep fares low in the long term. I will ensure every penny from fares will be invested into improving the network for all of London.”
Residents of Uxbridge and South Ruislip, where Johnson will reportedly attempt to become an MP in next year's general election, have suffered an increase of £584 on an annual zone 1-6 travel card since the Tory came to power in 2008.
According to Shawcross, today’s inflation figures mean that fare rises for January 2015 are likely to be:
- Bus and Tram Pay as You Go – up to £1.50 - a 60p rise since 2008
- PAYG TfL Rail Services Zone 1 – up to £2.28 - a 78p rise since 2008
- Zone 1-2 monthly Travelcard – up to £124.82 - a £25.72 rise since 2008
- Zone 1-3 monthly Travelcard – up to £146.35 - a £30.35 rise since 2008
- Zone 1-4 annual travelcard – up to £1,863 - a £391 rise since 2008
Shawcross said: “It will feel like groundhog day for commuters who, for the sixth time since Boris Johnson became mayor, will face another round of above-inflation fare rises next January.
"Yet again Johnson just hasn’t been straight with Londoners. He pledged to keep fares low, but is set to oversee a 42% rise in fares since becoming mayor, that’s 17.5% higher than inflation over the six years.
“With Boris now admitting that he intends to become an MP in 2015, he is set to leave behind a rotten legacy of above inflation fare rises throughout his Mayoralty.
“Instead of accepting another year of inflation busting fare rises the Mayor should be standing up for hard pressed Londoners and scrapping his plans for another inflation busting rise.”
Janet Cooke, chief executive of London TravelWatch, has also expressed concerns about the fare rises. She said: "Londoners already pay a higher contribution towards the running of rail services than other areas. Further fare increases in January will only exacerbate this as many people’s wages are still not rising as fast as inflation.
"It is therefore really important that rail operators do more to improve things so that passengers feel they are getting better value for money for their fares."