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Thursday, October 15, 2009

Tube Fares rise by almost 4%

Boris Johnson today announced a raise in London's public transport fares for 2010, which he called "
painful in the short term". Painful pure and simple would have been more accurate, as this will cost the average commuter an extra £100 per year.


All London Underground fares will rise by 3.9 per cent. For Oyster pay-as-you-go users, a zone one Oyster tube fare will rise from £1.60 to £1.80. Most other Oyster pay as you go fares on the Tube will also increase by 20p, with larger increases in some longer distance peak fares. There's currently no way of working out what those larger fares will be. The Mayor's site says "TfL's planning assumption will be that fares will rise RPI+2% each year. However, the actual level of fares will be decided by the Mayor".

Johnson has realised that these increases won't be welcomed and said "Nobody wants to make an announcement like this, especially when Londoners are feeling the effects of the recession.

The crucial thing is that we safeguard the investment in our city's future and that's why I'm asking Londoners to accept this difficult decision. With this package we can protect the elderly, the young, the poorest, and disabled Londoners, and can go forward to deliver the vital improvements that Londoners deserve – including Crossrail, the upgrade of eight Tube lines, new trains, the cycling revolution, and a host of other improvements ahead of the 2012 Games
."

Unless you decide to walk or cycle to work, most Londoners won't have much choice but to "accept" the decision, so I'm unsure why we were asked.

Caroline Pidgeon, The Chair of the Assembly Transport Committee and Liberal Democrat Transport spokesperson said:

"This will be a slap in the face for the millions of Londoners who will be seeing no increase in their pay packets this year. It is all very well Boris trumpeting a zero increase in his share of Council Tax. Fare rises affect far more people, at far greater cost."

Key transport issues from today's announcement include:

* A seven-day bus pass rises 20 per cent from £13.80 to £16.60.

* A zones one and two weekly travelcard is frozen at £25.80.

* Cash fares frozen - on buses they stay at £2 and a zone one Tube journey remains at £4.

* Most Oyster pay-as-you-go Tube fares will rise 20p per trip.

* The daily cap on Oyster bus and Tube travel increases by 50p.

* The £1 Child offpeak Travelcard for children accompanying an adult Travelcard holder will be withdrawn

* Plans to install step-free access at six Tube stations have been scrapped.

Bus travellers will be hit the hardest. Overall, bus fares will rise by 12.7 per cent. So along with the Tube fares by 3.9 per cent, that's a big over inflation increases (CPI inflation is currently at 1.1 per cent). TfL expects the changes to result in a small fall in bus passenger numbers but says the Mayor's aim is to encourage more people to cycle or walk.

Johnson made a large statement in the Evening Standard as to why he "has no choice" but to raise fares. Covering all the stops, in his defence, he's also added a video on YouTube (see above).

"Every time your train is stuck inexplicably in a tunnel, every time a service is cancelled, the experience is not just eroding your quality of life. It is eating away at our city's global competitiveness.....

With a population set to grow by 1.3 million over the next 15 years, we cannot just creak along as we are. We cannot submit to an intensifying rhythm of delay and decay.....

It is a fares package that has been produced after long consultation, and Londoners should know that it is being accompanied by a sustained and determined assault on costs at Transport for London.
"

It'll be interesting to know what this cost cutting at TfL is, but in the meantime get set for paying even more for your journey. We already live in one of the most expensive cities in the world for public transport and let's hope that with these fare hikes, there'll be no more spin about it being value for money.


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