As widely speculated last night Mayor of London Ken Livingstone has announced a freeze on single Oyster and cash fares on London’s bus, Tube, tram, and Docklands Light Railway network in the new fares package for 2008.
According to the Mayor’s office “once retail price inflation at around four per cent is taken into account, single bus fares on Oyster will be around 14 per cent lower, and single Tube fares around four per cent lower, than in January 2007.”
The cost of One Day Travelcards and Travelcard Season Tickets, which must be agreed between Transport for London and the National Rail Train Operating Companies will rise in line with the retail price index.
Mayor of London, Ken Livingstone said: “Single Tube, bus, DLR and tram fares will be frozen from January 2008, as we look to share the city’s economic success with our passengers.
“Record passenger numbers and careful control of operating costs have boosted transport revenues. Following the recent 10 per cent reduction in single bus fares, by freezing cash fares for 2008 I am now ensuring that the benefits will be felt by millions more Londoners.
“The 2008 fares package also builds on free travel schemes for older and disabled people, for children and young people, and the half price travel scheme for Londoners on Income Support.
“Average real bus fares are now lower than when I took office in 2000, and average real Tube fares have scarcely risen, while a £10 billion five year investment programme is being delivered. The success of London’s economy, and in negotiations with national government, is reflected in this fares package.’
London’s Transport Commissioner, Peter Hendy, said the freeze were possible because TfL had been successful at “keeping operating costs down.”
Last night reports of the freezes, which will come into effect just a few months before next year’s GLA elections, prompted some London Assembly Members to question the Mayor’s motives.
Damian Hockney, Leader of the One London Party, called the freeze “a transparent, cynical electoral ploy that won’t fool Londoners for a second” adding “the real question is how much will he put up prices after the election if he remains in office? I hope he answers that at tomorrow’s press conference, but I am not holding my breath.”
Conservative London Assembly Member Roger Evans said fares “have gone up by more than the rate of inflation in the past three years so we already have a very expensive public transport system here.” In January 2007 a single cash journey on the bus network increased from £1.50 to £2.00.
Speaking last night the Mayor denied that he was playing politics with the fare structure saying he had “a 25-year record of…cutting fares whenever I’ve got the chance.”