Sadiq Khan’s claims not to have been briefed by Transport for London on the cost or feasibility of his fares freeze have been branded “unbelievable” by Conservatives on the London Assembly.
Historically all decisions to adjust fares levels are taken by the Mayor after being advised on their feasibility and impact on investment in the transport network.
During the last mayoral term Labour Assembly Members pressured Boris Johnson into routinely publishing the advice he received.
When Mr Khan failed to publish similar advice informing his four year, £640m freeze this site submitted a freedom of information request asking for the document to be released.
When officials belatedly supplied a response, it emerged they had discussed how to interpret the request so that it only applied to an already released media briefing, not to any advice received by the Mayor.
Asked at Wednesday’s Mayor’s Question Time whether he would now publish the advice, Mr Khan claimed he had never received any and did not need any as the freeze was promised in his election manifesto.
Keith Prince, Conservative London Assembly member, says this response is “frankly unbelievable,” adding that enacting his pledge without first being briefed would be a “complete dereliction of duty on the part of the Mayor.”
Mr Prince added: “Even if Sadiq Khan plans to freeze TfL fares alone for four years, he would clearly need to listen to advice on how this might be done and what the consequences would be.
“In claiming he had neither sought nor been given advice on this by TfL he is asking Londoners to accept that he is not doing his job properly.
“If the Mayor is telling the truth then, not only does that reflect badly on him, it also would reflect very badly on Transport for London. TfL has a duty to ensure that the Mayor is appraised of all the information required to make decisions, including the consequences of those decisions.
“If no one from TfL has advised the Mayor of the consequences of freezing fares and what sort of cuts it would necessitate then TfL has serious questions to answer.”
The Mayor’s answer appears to be at odds with an email sent by TfL to his office on May 12th in which officers said: “A paper is coming over to you ASAP on the fares freeze to show how it can be funded.”
Mr Khan’s office have been asked to release a copy of the paper referred to in the email.
In response to AM Prince’s comments, a spokesman for the Mayor said: “Sadiq made it very clear, both before and after the election, that he wants all TfL fares to be frozen for the next four years.”