Ooo, our eyes are starting to glaze over. It must be the seemingly monthly news that Tube and bus fares are to go up again. On the definitive list of things inevitable, transport price hikes can now join death, taxes, and daily Diana exclusives in the Express.
Of course, the increases are for non-Oyster journeys. Folks with the little blue cards will enjoy the same rates as this year on single fares (travel card prices will rise, but at a lower rate than previously feared).
All well and good for Londoners, but what about tourists and short-term visitors who are less likely to pick up an Oyster? Faced with such a high Tube toll, might a greater number choose more polluting forms of transport (i.e. cabs)? And if, instead, there’s a push to dole out Oysters to all TfL customers, even one-off visitors, isn’t that going to add to London’s non-recyclable plastic mountain? (Actually, there’s a thought. Perhaps TfL could introduce temporary Oysters, which could be collected after use for resetting and resale.)
At the end of the day, money has to be raised from somewhere to finance the planned improvements to our network, so perhaps this is the lesser of many possible evils. But it’s worth having a debate about the possible economic and environmental implications of the new fares. Unless your eyes are starting to glaze over.