22 October 2010

Shawcross condemns Boris' 'backdoor' tube and bus fare increases

Labour Lambeth and Southwark London Authority Member Valerie Shawcross has condemned fare increases proposed by London Mayor Boris Johnson for next year.

With London reeling from the news of extensive public spending cuts following the Chancellor’s Comprehensive Spending Review (CSR) announcement, the London Assembly Labour Group has expressed disappointment that Mayor Boris Johnson has also quietly confirmed that London transport fares will, once again, be subject to an inflation busting rise next January.

Valerie Shawcross, Labour Group transport spokesperson said ‘Almost half the respondents – 46% - who took part in this year’s annual London survey cited the need for cheaper bus and tube fares as a key concern. So no wonder this announcement was stealthily dropped out while news of the coalition government’s cuts to social housing, welfare and policing was riding high in the headlines. Increases include another 10p rise on Oyster Pay As You Go single bus journeys and weekly bus and tram passes will be rising a whopping £1.20 to £17.80 – a rise of 7.23%.

Val 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.’

She continued ‘In addition, not much is being made of issues such as the withdrawal of the zone 2-6 travelcard – meaning passengers will have to buy a zone 1-6 card instead or get an Oyster card, which it is also going to cost more to acquire.  Buying a zone 1-6 card means a jump from what people currently pay - £8.50 to £15 to do the same journeys – an increase of 74%. ‘

‘Low and middle income families are still reeling from the news of job cuts, benefit reductions and increased housing costs and this is a further kick in the teeth. This was slipped out quietly but Londoners won’t fail to notice this huge increases when they are buying their tickets in January.’

Rail commuters are also set to be hit with a fare hike of 3% above inflation.