The row over the cost and funding of London’s Freedom Pass continues this week with a war of words between London Councils and Mayor Ken Livingstone. London’s local authorities have previously demanded what they call a “fairer method” of deciding the scheme’s costs.
In a press release issued last month their umbrella body argued:
“TfL are the only transport operator in the country with the power to simply impose a price if no agreement can be reached. This means that all our negotiations with them are carried out with the threat that unless we agree a price TfL could pluck any figure they like from the air. This cannot be right.”
Instead of London’s directly elected Mayor having the final say the body wants the unaccountable Secretary of State for Transport to have the final say over a London-specific matter.
It seems bizarre for a body claiming to exist to promote “pan-London working” and work “with others to maintain London as a world class city” to seek to undermine and dilute the powers of London’s citywide Mayor and transport authority.
After all the bluster and complaints are put to one side what’s at stake is the ability of disabled and older Londoners to travel in their own city. Whether the funding comes from fare revenue or the Council Tax is largely irrelevant, Londoners are entitled to expect their representatives to resolve the matter without involving Parliament and Ministers.