Labour’s Sadiq Khan has repeated his pledges to freeze fares on Transport for London services for four years and allow bus users to switch buses as many times as they wish within an hour if elected in May.
Mr Khan said: “As Mayor, I’ll stand up for Londoners and freeze all TfL fares, and end the unfair situation where two million bus users are penalised every time they have to change bus.”
The mayoral hopeful recommitted himself to the policies as many Londoners returning to work after the Christmas break saw the cost of their journey rise after Mayor Boris Johnson sanction an overall 1% increase in TfL fares.
Khan says his policies will cost TfL around £450 million over the next Mayoral term.
Despite his own colleagues recently warning that Government plans to axe £700m from TfL’s revenue grant endangered future upgrades, Khan insists his fares pledge is affordable and deliverable.
The Tooting MP’s campaign says they’ve identified sufficient savings in back office costs, including the merger of TfL’s engineering team, and have promised to “clamp down on fare evasion” which last year cost around £61 million in lost revenue.
Khan’s savings also include “ending any further public funding for the Emirates Cable Car which costs over £5 million a year to run”.
Boris Johnson’s flagship scheme opened in June 2012 and is fully owned by Transport for London. Any decision to stop paying its running costs could force its closure, placing TfL in breach of its £36m sponsorship contract with Emirates.
That deal commits TfL to operate the scheme for ten years and early closure could put at risk a substantial portion of the sponsorship cash which is paid annually and of which £17.1m remains outstanding.
Although a break clause allows TfL to end the deal in June 2017, the contract requires TfL to pay Emirates an early termination fee of £5m to do so, wiping out some of Mr Khan’s claimed savings.