Londoners returning to work after the festive break will today be making their first commutes under Boris Johnson’s new fares package which he unveiled in October.
The package sees bus fares increase for the second time since Johnson came to office with a single Oyster pay as you go fare increasing from £1 to £1.20.
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. The adult-rate Oyster pay as you go daily price cap will increase from £3.30 to £3.90.
Full details of the new fares package, which includes the freezing of most Travelcards and the acceptance of Oyster PAYG on National Rail services, can be found on Transport for London’s website.
When he announced his second fares package in October Mayor Johnson blamed the rise on the “mistakes” of predecessor Ken Livingstone, a fall in Tube passenger numbers because of the recession and the cost of bailing out failed PPP contractor Metronet.
Opponents have blamed the increases on Johnson’s decisions to delay implementation of the Low Emission Zone third phase and the scrapping of Livingstone’s plans to levy a £25 per day charge on “the most polluting” vehicles.
Speaking last year the Mayor 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.”
Opposition politicians have made a number of statements in recent days condemning the new fares package.
Highlighting that “even a short bus journey involving just one change will set people back £2.40”, Liberal Democrat London Assembly Transport Spokesperson Caroline Pidgeon has accused the Mayor of “taking significantly more from the wallets and purses of hard up Londoners.”
Labour figures have also attacked the increases. MP Karen Buck said Johnson had “broken” election promises to put commuters first and accused him of “targetting those who rely on buses and tubes for particularly painful and unfair rises.”
Former Mayor Ken Livingstone, who in an article for MayorWatch has promised to “reduce the fares burden on Londoners” if re-elected in 2012, has today called for a future fares cut to be funded by an adoption of the £25 charge and the retention of the western extension of the congestion charge. Livingstone claimed the two measures “would make it possible to hold down fares, not squeeze Londoners hard as Boris Johnson is doing.”
In a statement issued by TfL over the festive period Johnson said: “I know the fares rises will be hard but believe me – without them these huge improvements in our quality of life, and the retention of the standing of our city, would not be possible.”
The Mayor said his fares package, which came into effect on January 2nd, meant “that the vital improvements continue, and that we ensure that free and concessionary fares for London’s elderly, young people and those on low incomes is protected.”