12 November 2009

Transport: its fare increases AND cuts in services from Boris

Conservative Mayor of London Boris Johnson has announced that fares on buses and the tube from January 2010 will increase by above inflation - in the case of buses by an eye watering 20%, up from £1 to £1.20.

He is also cutting £150 million of subsidy from bus services which will mean that they will run less often and will be more overcrowded.

At the same time the Mayor plans to abolish the Western extension of the Congestion Charge zone and get rid of the extra charge that was introduced for 4x4 vehicles which cause the most pollution.Photo of Brixton Road/Vassall Road bus stop sign, Vassall Ward, SW9

This all comes on top of Boris' decision to cut the Cross River Tram which would have brought benefits to the people of Vassall Ward.

Former Labour Mayor Ken Livingstone has pointed out that Johnson did not have to make the cuts in services which will hit those is poorly paid jobs the most. In particular Livingstone criticised the decision to get rid of the Western Congestion Charge zone.

Ken commented "His plan to abolish the western extension of the congestion charge to Kensington will cost £50m-70m a year. His decision to scrap the £25 charge on the worst polluting gas guzzlers, like Chelsea tractors, has cost another £50m a year."

Lambeth and Southwark Greater London Aseembly Member Valerie Shawcross also condemned the move noting "The proposed cuts to the bus service are deeply worrying and, along with his fare rises, contradict all the Mayor has said about getting people out of their cars and on to public transport."

She added "Buses in London are set to get more expensive, less frequent and overcrowded with salami sliced service cuts. The quality of the service could also decline if TfL drops its incentive contracts with bus operators. All this adds up to an attack on the bus service and its passengers who are clearly way down on the Mayor's list of priorities."

The main changes in fares from January are
  • Oyster pay as you go bus fare up from £1.00 to £1.20
  • A seven day bus pass up from £13.80 to £16.60
  • On the Tube, the Zone 1 Oyster pay as you go fare u[ from £1.60 to £1.80
  • Most other Oyster pay as you go fares on Tube also increase by 20p, with larger increases in some longer distance peak fares
Boris did announce some good news for Vassall commuters - from early 2010 national rail stations such as Loughborough Junction, Denmark Hill and Vauxhall will be accepting pay as you go Oystercards.