Bus passengers in London will an extra 20p per journey from January next year under fare increases set out by Mayor of London Boris Johnson this morning.
Johnson’s second fares package will see the single bus journey Oyster pay as you go fare increase from £1 to £1.20 while on the Tube, the Zone 1 Oyster pay as you go fare increases from £1.60 to £1.80. TfL say “most” Oyster pay as you go Tube fares will also increase by 20p.
Overall bus fares will go up by 12.7% and Tube fares by 3.9% although the “vast majority” of Travelcards will be frozen.
Last year the Mayor unveiled a 6% increase, today’s announcement means he will have presided over an increase of 30p in the single bus journey Oyster pay as you go fare since taking office.
Announcing the increases Johnson told journalists they were caused by the “mistakes” of his predecessor, the recession derived fall in Tube passenger numbers and the cost of bailing out Metronet.
Johnson said the increases were “not a decision that I have taken lightly” and insisted he’d “been persuaded of the need for fare rises only after ensuring that every efficiency possible, at least £5 billion in total, is being made at TfL.”
The Mayor has also announced changes to the Congestion Charge, including automated billing, which he says will make the scheme “fairer and easier”.
Drivers who open a ‘CC Auto Pay’ account will pay £9 day, up from the current £8. Those who do not open an account will pay £10 per day.
The Mayor, who re-committed himself to the scrapping of the e Western Extension subject to formal consultation, said the increase “will ensure that the system remains effective in controlling traffic levels in central London, and the revenue will also help us fund the vital improvements to London’s transport network that all Londoners want to see.”
Disputing Johnson’s claims on the reasons for fare increases, former Mayor Ken Livingstone said he’d left “very large Transport for London reserves” which had been depleted by Johnson’s policies which had “cut investment, reduced protection of the environment and hammered ordinary Londoners with above inflation fare increases.”
There’s been criticism of the increases from passenger watchdog London TravelWatch, Chair Sharon Grant said the increases “will be unacceptable to ordinary Londoners”.
Although Grant welcomed the freeze on Travelcard prices she warned “infrequent, irregular users such as part-time workers will be disproportionately punished” by the increases.
Livingstone has called on his successor to “tell Londoners the truth, not lies. He is making them pay massively higher fares to protect a tiny number of well off polluters at a time when London has some of the worst air quality in Europe.”
Labour’s deputy leader on the London Assembly, John Biggs, said has branded the increased fares “a massive kick in the teeth for hard pressed Londoners” and predicted Londoners would “rightly wonder why Boris can apparently find £5bn of TfL savings but can’t keep down their fares.”
Caroline Pidgeon, the Liberal Democrat London Assembly Transport Spokesperson, accused Johnson of ” punishing Londoners with an inflation busting increase in fares.”
“Boris Johnson boasts about freezing his share of the council tax bill, but his continual hiking up of fares means he is taking significantly more from the wallets and purses of hard up Londoners.”
Green Party AM Jenny Jones said the Mayor was ” favouring motorists by going ahead with plans to cancel the western extension of the congestion charge” while “pricing people off public transport”.
Jones added: “Part of his fares increase will pay for the gap left by losing around £55m of congestion charge income. The Mayor has today highlighted the pollution caused by old buses, but he was the one who dropped the £25 congestion charge on gas guzzling cars, which would have generated around £30m in its first year”.