Mayor of London Ken Livingstone has signed an agreement with Venezuelan oil company Petróleos de Venezuela Europa which will see a 20 per cent reduction in the price of fuel for London’s bus fleet leading to cheaper fares for Londoners receiving income support.
Recipients of the benefit will be able to claim a 50 per cent discount on bus and tram travel. It’s estimated that almost 250,000 Londoners will be eligible for the concession.
In return London will provide specialist technical assistance to Venezuelan cities in areas such transport, protection of the environment, development of tourism, and town planning.
Signing the deal at City Hall today Mr Livingstone hailed the agreement as a good deal for lowest income Londoners.
The Mayor said deals between the company and other countries had helped “reduce the impact of energy prices on the least well off sections of society, such as Joseph P Kennedy II’s Citizens Energy programme in the US.”
However Mr Livingstone said this scheme would not have been suitable for London as “too few people use this form of heating for it to be effective”. The Mayor said the universal nature of London’s transport system including the bus network made this the best way of targeting the help.
The Mayor said the deal was also good for Venezuela commenting: “that country has started on the road of using its oil riches for the benefit of the majority of its population, which lives in cites, prioritising areas such as improving health care and the environment, public transport, better housing and town planning.”
“London has invaluable expertise to contribute in this field and this will save Venezuela millions of dollars. Both London and Venezuela will be exchanging those things in which they are rich to the mutual benefit of both.”
Mr Livingstone was joined by Venezuela’s Minister of the Popular Power for Foreign Affairs Nicolas Maduro who described the agreement as “a win-win strategy that fits within the policy of integration and the character of the Bolivarian Government of President Hugo Chavez.”
Savings under the scheme will result in a 1% reduction in the operation costs of London’s bus network. The 20% discount on the oil will be calculated twice a year against the prevailing world price.
PSDV Europa’s Chairman Alejandro Granado,said the agreement would “promote solidarity and bring forward mutual benefits for both the people of Venezuela and London.”
The discounted fares will be delivered by specially programmed Oyster cards which should be available by July this year.