Ken Livingstone has set a deadline for introducing his promises fares cut and says he would resign if he failed to deliver.
Labour’s candidate in May’s Mayoral elections has promised to introduce a 7% cut in fares on Transport for London services.
Rivals have questioned his ability to fund the cut which relies on money TfL say has already been allocated for spending.
Boris Johnson says fares increases introduced during his Mayoralty have been necessary to ensure investment which, he says, Livingstone would have to cut in order to deliver his promises.
During his eight years as Mayor, Livingstone also put up fares and introduced the policy of charging passengers paying by cash significantly higher fares than Oyster card holders.
Official City Hall figures, provided to the Green Party by Mayor Boris Johnson, show average bus fares rose by 23% between 2005 and 2008 and 32% between 2009 and 2012.
Livingstone’s fares policy is widely credited for his narrow lead in two recent opinion polls.
Despite questions aver his ability to fund cuts, Livingstone has today said he would implement the policy by October 7th 2012 or “will resign the office of Mayor immediately and cause a by-election.”
Under City Hall rules, if the Mayor steps down more than six months before a scheduled election there must be a new election, with the winning candidate serving to the end of the normal Mayoral term.
Announcing his deadline, Livingston said: ‘Politics should be about making a difference, and just as I cut fares before, I will cut them now because the tough times we’re going through demand a fairer fares policy. If I am elected in a few short months there will be real change for the better.
“There could not be a clearer choice. Boris Johnson raised your fares for the fourth time this January, but on October 7th 2012 I will cut them, saving the average Londoner £1000 over four years.
“By setting the date for the fares cut I’m showing that politics is about change and about doing something real for the majority, not just a privileged few.”
A spokesman for Boris Johnson’s re-election campaign said: “Judge Ken Livingstone by what he does, not what he says. Twice he has promised to keep fares down before an election and twice he has broken those promises. He has even admitted it in his own book.
“Before the 2004 mayoral election he promised he wouldn’t increase fares above inflation. After the election he broke his promise and increased fares above inflation. Before the 2008 election he promised to freeze tube fares in real terms. But at the same time as making that promise, leaked emails show that he had approved higher than real terms tube fare increases.”