Once every few months you can be fairly sure that a news item will be released on how much fare-dodgers are “costing” the transport system. Today the Liberal Democrats claim that nonpayers are taking 150m free trips a year.
Londonist has never had much faith in the mathematical skills of politicians, but it seems to us that, when it comes to fare-dodging, all rational thought is thrown out of the window.
The Lib-Dems’ proposed solution is to double the penalty from £10 to £20. Londonist has another idea. One easy way to reduce fare-dodging from the current 2.2% of journeys to virtually nothing is simplicity itself: reintroduce bus conductors. But that won’t happen, because stopping fare-dodging is not the real point. What the powers-that-be are really concerned with is maximising revenue.
Londonist never quite understood why bus conductors had to be phased out. They ensured the smooth running of the bus system, they collected fares, and they made buses less dangerous places to be at night. But no-one, not even glorious Ken, ever mentions the possibility of bringing them back. “Uneconomic”, they say.
Just for once, Londonist thinks that there are some areas where you have to look beyond the bottom line.