Boris Scraps Free New Year's Rail Travel

Dean Nicholas
By Dean Nicholas Last edited 110 months ago
Boris Scraps Free New Year's Rail Travel

Photo: Waterloo clock by Edgar///
Citing TfL's growing fiscal impasse, Mayor Boris Johnson has announced that free mainline rail travel over New Year's Eve will no longer be subsidised from this year. Though the Tube, buses, DLR, and London Overground will remain gratis, those expecting the customary fare-free passage out of the city from one of London's rail termini will instead have to pay the ful ticket price.

Johnson estimates that the move will allow TfL to claw back £100,000, though his mathematics look a little suspect, given that a sizeable percentage of travellers are likely to already be in possession of travelcards or season tickets and hence won't need to pay additional fares.

Ken Livingstone, who introduced free NYE rail services in 2003, can be expected to use the announcement as a stick to attack the incumbent with. What's more interesting is the effect this decision might have on Boris' key voters. His election in 2008 relied on what was dubbed a 'doughut strategy': he pandered to the more affluent parts of the city's outer boroughs, cultivating polices that would please people in leafy Kingston or Kensington or Bromley, while leaving the inner areas to be swept over by a red tide of Ken voters. It was, as we all know, a winning tactic. That Boris is now willing to risk their ire, even in a marginal way, illustrates the size of the hole that TfL has to fill.

Last Updated 17 December 2009