Jennette Arnold
London assembly member for North East London — fighting your corner at City Hall

The Mayor of London, Boris Johnson, today acted to ensure that all part-time workers benefit from fares reductions introduced in 2015. This was after me and my colleagues on the London Assembly pushed for the Mayor to act.

As a result, a new automated refund will be provided to any customers who incur a higher fare than TfL’s former pay as you go daily off-peak caps in Zones 4-6 twice or more in one week, or eight or more times in a four-week period.

In his fares package for 2015, Mayor Boris Johnson introduced a new part-time worker fare deal as part of his real terms fares freeze for 2015 (an average increase of 2.5 per cent). This gave flexible and part-time workers, including those with unpredictable hours, access to fairer, dramatically lower fares through a new, lower all-day pay as you go cap (daily caps became one fifth of the cost of a 7 day Travelcard to Zone 1).

It is estimated that this change means over 600,000 customers are now paying lower fares over the course of a typical week and is a key part of the Mayor’s commitment to keep the cost of transport low for Londoners. It also reflects modern-day travel patterns – 22 per cent of Londoners now work part time while many others have flexible working patterns.

The 2015 fares package also included the removal of pay as you go daily off-peak caps. For Zones 1-3, the new all day caps are actually lower than the withdrawn off-peak caps.  In Zones 4-6 the new caps are higher than the off-peak caps, affecting about 25,000 people every day (see Notes to Editors).

After me and my colleagues pushed for this, the Mayor has asked TfL to act, which they have done, and have immediately looked into this issue and the Mayor has now agreed to revisions that mean part-time workers in outer London who travel off-peak will not be disadvantaged.

Refunds, including for the period from 2 January, will commence in April and then be paid monthly. It is expected to cost TfL around £2m per year.

Ends

Notes:

•         Maximum savings as a result of this change range from £200 to over £600 per year – for example, over 45 weeks in zones 1-2 equal to £270 a year – for zones 1-3 equal to £418 – and for zones 1-5 £661;

•         However, TfL’s analysis shows that around 25,000 people were adversely affected by the removal of daily off-peak caps in Zones 4-6. Of these, 85% (c21,000) ended up paying an average of £1.40 more around once a week; 10% (c2000) paid an average of £1.40 more around twice a week; and the remainder (1,000) three times a week or more. While this means only around 3,000 passenger are paying more than about £2 extra a week for their travel as a result of the withdrawal of off-peak caps, outer Londoners are a vital part of the London economy and should not face these increased fares;

•         From April, TfL will refund any customer who incurs a higher fare than the former daily off-peak caps twice or more in one week or eight or more times in a four week period;

•         The off peak daily caps will be £8.00 for zones 1-4 and £8.80 for zones 1-5 and 1-6. Refunds will be made on a monthly basis and will be delivered automatically by TfL, meaning customers are not required to take any action;

•         There are over 10m journeys made each day on the TfL public transport network, including around 3.5m by Tube and around 6.5m by bus.

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.