As I reported last month, penalty fares are going up this weekend.
Expect a flurry of reports repeating Transport for London’s rhetoric of a “war” on fare dodgers who now face penalties of £80 for cheating the system.
TfL later said they were unable to do so because there was insufficient time to put up notices on every Tube, DLR and Overground carriage and bus in order to make the penalties effective from that date.
An answer from Johnson provided to London Assembly Member Caroline Pidgeon implies TfL’s inability to comply with the start date only arose after the Mayor had given them their orders.
“The process involved in the implementation of a revised Penalty Fare is a lengthy one. Consultation on this change began in August 2011, with a closing date of 21 October 2011. At that point it had been TfL’s intention to implement the changes in line with the general fares revision on 2 January 2012.
“Due to the level of interest in the consultation and the detailed responses required to the issues raised, the sign off process for the decision took longer than anticipated. As a result, TfL advised that although the powers should still come into force on 2 January 2012, an implementation on that date would not allow sufficient time to update all network signage. For this reason, the decision was taken to delay implementation until 19 February 2012.”
Yet the Mayor put his name to the official instruction in November, after the consultation responses were received so why were problems only flagged up later?
The MD includes the consultation responses, makes clear the intent to save money by sharing publicity costs for the increase with the general fares increase publicity campaign and reports TfL’s confidence that it could meet the January 2nd deadline.
The document clearly sates: “there are requirements for the display of notices in buses, trains and trams, informing passengers of the level of penalty fares. TfL have advised GLA officers that arrangements are in place to deliver this by the proposed implementation date of 02 January 2012”.
Yet despite this, the Mayor maintains he’s content with the advice given by his officials.