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TfL fares rise

TfL’s fares are rising, on average, by RPI + 2% from today. With RPI at 4.8%, that is an average rise of 6.8 percent.

Despite a reduction in TfL’s Government grant Boris has managed to protect all concessionary fares and minimise their rises. He has kept to his assumption outlined in the last TfL Business Plan published October 2009 of fare rises of RPI + 2%.

The Business Plan found £5bn worth of savings over 9 years.

Boris has ensured that Crossrail will be delivered in full and the completion of the Tube upgrades, which together will increase rail capacity within London by 30 percent.

Boris inherited a £1.3bn black hole in TfL’s finances, caused by Ken Livingstone’s cynical politically driven decision to freeze fares in 2008, along with mismanagement, waste and the PPP contracts forced upon London by Gordon Brown.

In 2008, Ken Livingstone played politics with fares by freezing them and promising they would increase only by inflation over the next four years. Leaked emails revealed that Livingstone was misleading Londoners as TfL had assumed RPI + 1% for the Tubes and RPI + 2% for the buses.

Boris has ended spending on projects that were never going to happen, such as the West London and Cross River trams, and has cut out billions of pounds of waste across TfL. These savings have allowed Boris to minimise the fare rises necessary. And he has been upfront about the need to maintain investment in London’s transport infrastructure. This is in contrast to Ken Livingstone, who cynically manipulated fares leading to the black hole, which Boris has had to plug.

Why are bus passengers being hammered again? Last year PAYG fare went up by 20%, now they’re going up by another 10p (8.3%)

All free and concessionary bus fares have been protected, which means that 40% of bus passengers will continue to travel free or at a substantial concessionary rate. Even with January’s fare increase, on the buses, after including concessionary fares, the average fare per journey will be just 60p compared with a typical fare of around £1 in other UK cities.

Why are some One Day Travelcards being withdrawn?

Due to the success of Oyster pay as you go there has been declining demand for some of the One Day Travelcard range. To simplify One Day Travelcards, some of the lower selling zonal combinations have been withdrawn.

The new range will comprise all day and off-peak Travelcards valid in Zones 1-2, 1-4 and 1-6.

There has been some criticism from LD and Labour AMs on the withdrawal of the Zone 2-6 One Day Travelcard:

TfL is continuing to simplify its fares range and will remove the zones 2-6 Travelcards from 2011 as they are used by fewer than 6,000 passengers a day, including just 300 people during peak times.  This is less than 0.2 per cent of the 3.5 million journeys a day on the Tube.

It is far cheaper to use Oyster pay as you go, with outside zone one fares ranging from £1.30 to £2.50, therefore a passenger would need to make seven peak outside zone one journeys to justify purchasing a Travelcard.  It is advised that passengers travelling outside zone one infrequently to use Oyster pay as you go or if travelling frequently to check out the range of weekly and monthly season tickets.

TfL has estimated that the bus fare rise will raise £60m, only £5m more than the removal of the Western Extension Zone of the CCharge is costing in lost revenue. Why didn’t Boris keep the WEZ and not hammer bus passengers?

The WEZ was brought by Ken Livingstone even after a consultation of west London residents revealed strong local opposition. Boris promised in his 2008 Manifesto to abide by the results of a new consultation of residents and has delivered on that promise.

Ken Livingstone has promised to re-introduce the WEZ. He has also promised to bring in a £25 “gas guzzlers” CCharge, which Labour has said would raise £50m per year. In fact it would raise only £3.6m – £6m. Family cars would fall into this category, punishing many people on ordinary incomes.

What about Ken Livingstone's promise that fares under him will always be lower that under Boris?

Apart from the point that being a counterfactual it cannot be proved, the past shows that it has not been true: Livingstone has put up fares by more in the past than under Boris.

Livingstone and Labour will criticise Boris on bus fare increases specifically, arguing a PAYG bus trip has risen from 90p to £1.30 (44%). However, if other fare types are taken into consideration, during Livingstone’s second term bus fares rose by 32.46% (including the destructive and politically motivated reduction in ’08), whereas Boris has overseen a rise of 26.47%.

The 3 years under Livingstone ’04-’06 and ’05-’07 BOTH saw a greater increase in fares than under Boris ’09-’11.

Livingstone and Labour are misleading the public when they argue that Boris is putting up fares more.

Aren't the fare rises to pay for Boris’ vanity schemes – getting rid of the bendys and commissioning a new bus for London?

The New Bus for London’s development cost is just £7m, not very much for a completely new design that will be an iconic symbol of London and could be sold round the country and the world. It is also delivering on a manifesto commitment

The removal of bendy buses, which are completely unsuited to London’s narrow roads and bendy roads, was a Manifesto commitment. TfL has estimated that their removal will cost £11.8m per year (NOT other
exaggerations), which will be offset by £5m increase in revenue as fare dodging is reduced.

Don't all politicians condemn the recent industrial action on the Tube?

Ken Livingstone has consistently refused to condemn the strike action on the Tube and when questioned closely about the RMT/TSSA action on R4’s World at One, said he supported it. He says that the right to
strike is the second most important civil right after the right to vote.

Ken Livingstone’s campaign office has been located in TSSA’s headquarters. His campaign has received £5,000 in donations from ASLEF, the union which went on strike on Boxing Day.

Ken Livingstone’s “running mate” Val Shawcross AM took part in a RMT/TSSA demonstration in support of the industrial action over the reduction in ticket office opening hours at City Hall on Wednesday 15 December.


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