Jennette Arnold
London assembly member for North East London — fighting your corner at City Hall
Boris using smoke and mirrors to disguise fare rises

Boris using smoke and mirrors to disguise fare rises

Mayor of London Boris Johnson has announced a “real-terms’ freeze” on transport fares across the Transport for London (TfL) network.

Unfortunately, this is not the case for every bus and tube ticket type, and it is disappointing that Boris has not revealed the full picture to Londoners – all in the name of getting positive headlines.

The truth is that Transport for London will increase the cost of some travelcards above inflation next year, which means that, since Boris was elected as Mayor in 2008, he has increased fares above inflation every year, with single bus fares rising as much as 55 per cent.

The picture is that, from January 2014:

  • Residents living in Zone 2 and travelling to Zone 1 will see an increase of 3.95 per cent as their monthly travelcard rises from £116.74 to £121.34;
  • Residents living in Zone 3 and travelling to Zone 1 will see an increase of 3.93 per cent as their monthly travelcard rises from £136.70 to £142.08;
  • Residents living in Zone 4 and travelling to Zone 1 will see an increase of 4.13 per cent as their monthly travelcard rises from £167.42 to £174.34; and
  • Residents living in Zone 5 and travelling to Zone 1 will see an increase of 4.25 per cent as their monthly travelcard rises from £198.91 to £207.36.

All of which are above the latest inflation figure, which came in at 2.2% in October. To announce a real-terms’ freeze fails to give the full picture, which means Boris is just using smoke and mirrors to mask his fare rises.

We have had five years of inflation-busting fare rises under Boris – with bus fares up 55% and Tube fares up 30%. It’s disappointing that he hasn’t rolled out this real-terms’ freeze across all pay-as-you-go and travel card fares.

When you look at the detail, it is clear that most travelcards will go up above inflation, which will impact on over half of Londoners. The Mayor is on shaky ground to claim that he is freezing fares in real terms; the figures don’t lie.

Boris is hitting many Londoners – who have seen their wages fall in real terms – with an additional cost that will make it harder and harder for people to make ends meet. When will he stand up for Londoners and address the real issues facing millions of people across our city? I have previously called on him to stop rising fares above the rate of inflation, but he has – once again – failed to listen to me and to millions of Londoners. He must abandon plans to raise fares above inflation.