Boris Johnson has been accused by London Assembly politicians of “trying to bury” increases of up to 74% in the price of One Day Travelcards.
The comments come a day after the Mayor held a rare City Hall press conference to spell out how the government’s spending review would impact on London services.
During the press conference the Mayor confirmed a number of fare increases, these were also detailed on a Transport for London press release which stated that the “One Day Travelcard range will be simplified and slow selling tickets withdrawn.”
However the withdrawal of the Zone 2-6 Travelcard will require passengers to buy the more expensive Zone 1-6 Travelcard instead, increasing the cost of their ticket by 74% from £8.50 to £15.
The level of that increase was not specifically mentioned in TfL’s press release which instead focused on an “average” increase of “RPI plus two per cent”.
Liberal Democrat Assembly Member Caroline Pidgeon accused Mayor Johnson of “insulting Londoners by burying bad news like this on the day the Comprehensive Spending Review was announced.”
Pidgeon said the Mayor was “hitting hardest the people who travel around, rather than into London” and warned that “many will simply start driving to avoid such large increases in ticket prices.”
There was also criticism from Labour’s transport spokesperson Val Shawcross who said the increased had been “slipped out quietly” and represented “a further kick in the teeth” for Londoners already concerned about their homes and jobs.
Shawcross added: “When Boris Johnson became Mayor a single Oyster bus fare cost 90p – it will now cost £1.30 – that a massive 44% increase. We’ve repeatedly stated that our bus network is the cheapest and most accessible way of getting around the capital and we know people on lower incomes and shift workers tend to use the bus more – these are the people who can least afford these increases.”
Meanwhile the London Assembly’s Budget Committee has said it is “pleased” that Mayor Johnson has “taken on board the Committee’s recommendation that bus passengers using Pay-As-You-Go and bus season tickets, who are often on low incomes, should not bear the brunt of next year’s fares rise.”
Committee Chair John Biggs said: “Although there are a range of views on the scale of the fares increases, there is some comfort in the fact that in his decision for 2011, the Mayor has spread the pain more evenly than in 2010.
“However, at a time of difficulty for many Londoners, particularly those on low incomes, and particularly those on low wages for whom travel costs are a significant outgoing, the scale of the overall increase is of course unwelcome and will cause real hardship.”