Lambeth and Southwark Assembly Member and Labour's Transport spokesperson Valerie Shawcross AM has today hit out at Mayor Boris Johnson’s announcement that further inflation busting transport fare rises are to go ahead next year, despite high inflation and continued economic uncertainty for Londoners.
During questioning by Val at today’s Mayor’s Question Time meeting, the Mayor confirmed that he would be continuing with his policy of increasing fares by RPI inflation plus 2% next year.
Val said ‘This is going to hit Londoners hard yet again at a time when coalition cuts are also taking full effect, meaning that many people will be finding things even less affordable. I’m particularly concerned about bus passengers, who tend to be lower paid workers as this means that they could be paying up to yet another ten pence next year. Bus fares will have gone up a whopping 50pence since Mayor Johnson’s election - that’s 56%!’
Commuters from outer London will also be hit as prices from outer zones soar. Calculations suggest that the cost of an annual zone 1-5 travelcard has gone up 13.5% since 2008 costing passengers an extra £224 this year.
National Rail fares passengers will suffer too, the Conservative Transport Secretary has recently announced these will be rising by up to RPI plus an additional 3%.
Val continued ‘The Mayor claims the revenue raised is needed for investment in the transport system, but I think what will be most apparent to Londoners is the fact that their travel is costing them even more. The London Assembly budget committee has previously indicated that large fare rises are not necessary at this time and that TfL need to look at how they work out what ordinary Londoners can afford, but clearly they weren’t listened to. In my view that is not sensible. What’s more, I don’t think Londoners are seeing the benefits of this ‘investment’ that TfL are supposed to be using their fares for. This could almost be regarded as a ‘stealth tax’.