Labour members on the London Assembly scored a mixed victory this morning after transport commissioner Mike Brown confirmed his agency had told journalists that Sadiq Khan’s promised fares freeze would cost £1.9bn.
Mr Khan says his pledge that Londoners would pay the same fares in 2020 as they do this year would cost £450m over the four year mayoral term.
However internal Transport for London figures issued to journalists show this figure would only cover the cost of moving away from the current policy of increasing fares each year by RPI+1% to an RPI only increase. The figures also put the cost of a full monetary freeze at £1.9bn.
The Labour candidate has repeatedly denied that TfL has made any such claim, telling BBC London earlier this week “TfL haven’t said there’s a £19bn blackhole”.
Mr Khan had also denied any such intervention when appearing on the BBC’s Sunday Politics last month and last week told ITV: “They don’t say that. They don’t say that. I’ve spoken to TfL on a regular basis. TfL don’t say that.”
However, questioned by Labour AM Val Shawcross on Wednesday, Brown contradicted Mr Khan and confirmed that TfL had indeed been the source of the figure which he said was based on the cost over TfL’s business plan which covers a five year period.
That means the cost over the four year mayoral term would be lower than the £1.9bn figure but still far higher than Mr Khan’s £450m figure which Brown said was “based on an RPI only fare increase”.
Labour AM Val Shawcross disputed the accuracy of TfL’s assumptions over the rate of inflation, although Brown defended his agency’s calculations which he said was based on data from a number of major forecasters including the Bank of England.
In response Shawcross said the inflation figures “were no longer viable” and should be reworked.
However she later used TfL’s own predictions to echo Mr Khan’s claims that Tory mayoral contender Zac Goldsmith would push up fares.
Her comments led Mayor Boris Johnson to accuse her of seeking “to have it both ways” by disputing the figures when it suited her defence of Mr Khan but accepting them when wanting to attack his opponent.