Boris Johnson has been accused of hiding behind national train operators to avoid responsibility for recent increases in some London fares.
The Mayor’s 2015 fares package for Transport for London services included a reduction in the Oyster daily fares cap, a move intended to make travel more affordable for part-time and home workers.
The revenue lost through the reduction is being recouped by abolishing the off-peak fares cap and increasing the costs of paper travelcards.
As a result, some fares have increased by as much as 38%, although TfL claims only 25,000 people a day are paying more and says some would get a better deal by moving to Oyster and contactless payment.
The Mayor is facing pressure from all parties on the London Assembly to reverse the hikes which critics say disadvantage outer Londoners.
Earlier this month AMs passed a non-binding amendment to the Mayor’s budget for the coming year which would scrap the increase.
Responding to a question from Assembly Member Caroline Pidgeon, the Mayor claimed that “the majority of people paying more – 60 per cent – are people travelling from stations controlled by Train Operating Companies (TOC).”
He added: “The fares they set are out of my control but as National Rail fares are higher, users of these services pay more and hit the daily fares cap earlier than on our services.
“The great fares inequality today is between those Londoners whose fares are set by TOCs – who generally charge far higher fares – and those travelling on TfL services.”
Ms Pidgeon, who leads the Liberal Democrat group on the Assembly, says the Mayor is hiding behind the TOCs’ poor value fares to defend “creating a further inequality for people in outer London”.
She warned that removing the off-peak cap would “drive more people onto peak time services leading to even more crowded commuter trains.”
Commenting on the Assembly’s budget amendment, Ms Pidgeon added: “The ball is now in the Mayor’s court on this issue. I hope he has the good sense to listen to the London Assembly and remove the appalling rise in fares targeted solely at people in outer London.”