Mayor Boris Johnson is facing calls to reduce a planned increase in the cost of Travelcards after Chancellor George Osborne limited increases in regulated National Rail fares to 3.1%.
Giving his Autumn Statement to MPs, the Chancellor announced he was curbing an expected 4.1%. increase in fares – July’s rate of inflation plus 1% – in order to help keep fares affordable.
The Chancellor’s decision appears to contradict this week’s announcement by Mayor Boris Johnson that Travelcards, jointly priced with rail companies, would increase by 4.1%.
The rise was part of the Mayor’s annual fares announcement which this year included an average increase of 3.1% for Transport for London services and the freezing of some fares at 2013 levels.
Following Mr Osborne’s statement to MPs, London Assembly Members called on the Mayor to cut the planned increase for Travelcards to 3.1%.
Caroline Pidgeon AM, Leader of the Liberal Democrat Group on the Assembly, said: “Following Coalition Government intervention, Boris Johnson must now bring down Travelcard fare rises to no more than inflation”
Labour’s Transport spokesperson Val Shawcross commented: “We now need Boris to reduce his fare increases to inflation on travel cards as well, these are used by 1.2million people in the capital each day. This will offer some people who are struggling with the cost of living crisis limited relief.
“There also seems to be total confusion at the Mayor’s Office as to what this means, it’s a real shame the government and Mayor aren’t as joined up as they should be. Londoners need certainty over what today’s announcement means for them.”
In response, Mayor Johnson said: “This week we announced that fares in London for 2014 will on average be frozen in real terms and I am delighted to see the government following our lead.
“We have found a way to hold fares down in this modest way without in any way damaging our ability to invest in the great projects that will keep London moving and growing. Today’s announcement is further great news for London commuters.
“I congratulate George on holding down next year’s rail fare rises for all passengers, whether commuting in Leeds or London. As in previous years we look forward to receiving the additional funding from Government that will enable us to now hold Travelcard fare rises to RPI, in line with the rest of the country.”
Green Party AM Darren Johnson said the Mayor’s statement showed he had “failed to get a decent deal for Londoners on fares and Travelcards.”
Mr Johnson accused the Mayor of “resorting to public negotiations via the media in a desperate attempt to try and shift blame and demonstrate that the above inflation rise in travelcard fares is not really his fault.”