Johnsons Clash Over Half-Priced Fares

Tomorrow (20th August) is the last chance for Londoners on income support to claim the half-priced travel concession following Mayor Boris Johnson’s decision to scrap the deal signed by his predecessor with the Venezuelan government which saw London receive a rebate on the annual cost of fuel for the capital’s bus fleet.

Green Party Assembly Member Darren Johnson has welcomed the Mayor’s decision to scrap the deal but has used tomorrow’s closure to applications to criticise Mayor Johnson for failing to continue the concession scheme.

Mr Johnson said the Mayor had “rushed to cancel the oil deal with Venezuela without expressing any concern about how he is making things worse for some of the poorest Londoners. He also appears to have landed London with an unnecessary £7m bill from the Venezuela government.”

“I always thought that the previous mayor’s cheap oil deal sent out completely the wrong message environmentally but the new mayor’s rush to cancel the scheme, appears to be motivated by politics, rather than the interests of Londoners.”

A spokesperson for the Mayor told MayorWatch: “The Mayor felt deeply uncomfortable about support for Londoners being funded by the citizens of another country, especially one where many people live in extreme poverty.

“We are committed to honouring the concession for Londoners on income support until the end of the scheme and Transport for London will honour the discount until the six month time periods on cards have run out. The Mayor has discussed with TfL how best to provide support for low income Londoners and will outline his plans on how to do this when the annual fares announcement is made in the autumn.

“As for a £7 million bill, if the Greens had given the contract with Venezuela even a cursory glance they would have seen that it includes the agreement to pay back unspent and unallocated money. Seeing as Venezuela has given London £16m, several million of which has not been spent, Johnson should be ashamed of himself if he is advocating pocketing the cash.”


  1. Valerie Amajoutt says

    I went to get a travel pass at the post office on the 20th and was refused they said the last day was on the 19th. I work 15 hours a week and I am on income support so this discount helped me to get to and from work allow me to go and pick up my children from school I was not aware thay it was ending and they should of told us to renew before the end date. I was very disappointed as everything as the cost of liveing just keeps going up and travel is so expensive.

  2. TawkinSenz says

    “The Mayor felt deeply uncomfortable about support for Londoners being funded by the citizens of another country, especially one where many people live in extreme poverty”

    What Boris and his team are missing here is that the standard of living of some Londoners (who were benefiting from this deal) is often as low (if not lower) than the average citizen of one of these poor countires – such is the disparity of wealth in Britain.

    A cleaner may earn £4.50 an hour here, which is a huge wage compared to somoeone in Caracas – but in Caracas they do not pay over a pound (1/4 of their hourly wage) for a loaf of bread.

    This is a classic case of right wing policies glossing over the true poor in this country. People like Valerie (above) have to make tough decisions regarding their finances, weighing up safely collecting her kids from school with the financial implications of doing so. This is a decision that no-one should have to make in ‘one of the richest countries in the world’

    There is also 2 parts to this deal. Chavez is not stupid, he would not have accepted the deal without something in return. We have sold what we specialise in (advice on transport) and got something in return. It’s very strange to hear a conservative party member actually preventing ‘free trade’. A move which goes to show how far policy now is from principle in the rush to win popularity.

  3. Damian Hockney says

    The odd thing about the Mayor’s decision is that it appears to have been made with no regard to the costs (of continuing or ending the scheme). This would have been very good one for a retrospective cost benefit analysis and then a decision. Failure to do so indicates a political decision. When I was on the London Assembly, although I criticised the costings and the failure to provide clear outlines of what the REAL cost of the deal could be to Londoners, I nevertheless made clear that I would support any move which would benefit London. And that this ‘cash for services’ deal might indeed satisfy that requirement once we had all the facts. It was clear that the way it was constructed COULD cost London five times MORE than the cash transfer from Venezuela, particularly in lost revenue…but I always realised that it might not. And the costs of what we provided VFenezuela were rather muddy. But it’s irrelevant whether one approves Chavez’ policies or (worse) likes/dislikes him (what a cretinous way to decide trade policy – ‘don’t like him, don’t like what I read in the papers’. Hello). Tawkinsenz is right about the comparatives on standard of living. The cost of litre of gas/petrol in Caracas is a few cents a litre, about 2p! A little less than London then.

  4. Chet says

    This has really outraged me. I am a single parent trying to make ends meet on a daily basis. I went to the post office today only to be told that the scheme is no longer running and Boris is the one to have put a stop to it. This has meant more expenses for myself and the cost of living is just spiralling.