Boris Johnson is preparing to hit London with above-inflation fare rises, which will mean that in just eighteen months the price of a single bus fare will have risen by a third.
Many commuters going back to work on Monday 4th January after the Christmas and new year break will find they are paying considerably higher fares. A single bus or tram journey by Oyster will rise by twenty per cent, as will a weekly bus pass. That comes on top of last year’s rise in the price of a single bus journey by another eleven per cent, also under Boris Johnson. Overall bus fares will rise in January by 12.7 per cent and tube fares by 3.9 per cent.
Furthermore some tube fares will rise much more, with many single fares outside Zone 1 rising by 18 per cent. The Financial Times confirmed it is the largest real-terms fare increase since devolved government was returned to London in 2000.
In such tough economic times when Londoners are working hard to hang to their jobs and stretch their incomes Conservative Boris Johnson is dipping into Londoners’ pockets every day with aggressive above-inflation fares hikes.
The latest twenty per cent increase in bus fares will also hit the poorest hardest as they are the biggest users of buses. And Boris Johnson’s increases will bite hard in outer London where buses are often the most easily-accessed form of public transport, and which is the only part of London served by trams, which will also be hit with the largest – twenty per cent – increase.
Yet it is within any mayor’s power to choose different priorities to reduce cost pressure on Londoners and promote public transport.
Instead of making the majority pay whilst protecting polluters, as Boris Johnson has done with his transport policies, if I were to be re-elected as mayor in 2012 I would take immediate steps to reduce the fares burden on Londoners. A fares cut would be financed through the restoration of the western extension of the congestion charge, reducing traffic levels and generating at current figures £70million a year, alongside the introduction of a higher £25 charge for the most polluting gas guzzlers – which if it had not been axed by Boris Johnson would already be generating around £50million a year.
With these two measures alone it would be possible to cut fares, not squeeze Londoners hard as Boris Johnson is doing.