Bus and tube users in London will see fare increases of up to 7% next year to maintain transport investment, Boris Johnson confirmed today.
Oyster Pay As You Go fares on the tube will rise between 10p and 30p with bus fares going up to £1.40. Don’t have an Oyster card? Cash journeys on the tube will go up between 30p and 40p. Commuters using travelcards will be hit with an 8% increase. If you’re lucky enough to be one of the 40% of Londoners who receives concessionary travel, your fares or free travel won’t be affected. The mayor said in his announcement to the London Assembly:
'I understand that any increase in tough times is difficult. Income from fares is vital to ensure the on-going health of London's transport network, keeping services running for the billions of passengers who rely on them day in, day out.’
The balance between fares and services is a seemingly never-ending source of conflict; Ken Livingstone was quick to criticise the increases:
‘London already has some of the highest fares in the world, but instead of putting squeezed Londoners first, Boris Johnson is sticking to further stealth-taxes on fares even as he argues for tax cuts for the rich.’
Quite. It’s pretty much a damned-if-you-do, damned-if-you-don’t situation; many of the problems which London’s transport users have faced in recent months have made front page news and each year brings an older transport system with the accompanying challenges of keeping it running. But when you throw projects such as the cable car into the mix - which contrary to original promises looks like it will be at least partly funded by public money – it’s not difficult to understand where the backlash against fare rises comes from.