London’s Tube, bus and tram fares are to be increased by an average of almost 5per cent, the biggest annual jump in Transport for London fares since 2012, when Boris Johnson was London Mayor.
The daily tram and bus cap will increase by 30p, from £4.65 to £4.95, an increase of 6.5per cent, while the one-day bus and tram pass will go up from £5.20 to £5.50, an increase of 5.8per cent.
It means that bus and tram passengers, who are typically on lower incomes, will suffer a bigger proportionate rise than those using the Tube.
Fares on Tubes and TfL rail services, such as the Overground that operates from West Croydon Station, will also rise. The fares rise will take effect from March 1.
Mayor Khan and TfL are under strict supervision by the government, as part of a bail-out needed after covid hit the capital’s transport network’s finances. The Department for Transport has meanwhile allowed private rail operators to have just a 3.8per cent increase on their train fares.
TfL’s current Government bailout has been twice extended and is due to run out this Friday, February 18.
Christian Wolmar, the transport author and journalist who sought selection to be a mayoral candidate in the past, was one of several London political figures to criticise the government’s posturing over TfL’s finance. Wolmar said: “Fare rises forced on the Mayor of London by national government are precisely the wrong policy to get London back to prosperity post-covid.”
Sian Berry, the Green Party’s London Assembly Member, said that the fare rises “feel like a return to the bad old days” under Boris Johnson as Mayor.
Mayor Khan froze all fares during his first four years in office, but following covid was forced to increase fares by an average of 2.6per cent last March.
“Since TfL’s finances were decimated by the pandemic, the government has set strict conditions as part of the emergency funding deals to keep essential transport services running in London,” the Mayor said this morning.
The fares rise should bring in around £151million in revenue for TfL.
The increases are on top of already announced changes, such as premium Heathrow Tube fares throughout the day and the ban on free travel for over 60s before 9am, that will generate a further £60million to £80million a year.
City Hall said the restrictions on use of the Older Person’s Freedom Pass and 60+ Pass “are being reviewed and may be subject to further changes later this year”.
Mayor Khan said, “We have been forced into this position by the government and the way it continues to refuse to properly fund TfL, but I have done everything in my power to keep fares as affordable as possible.”
The fares increase will be another blow for hard-pressed commuters, who are already facing soaring energy bills, cost of living inflation rises, as well as hikes in Council Tax and National Insurance over the next few weeks.
City Hall was at pains today to emphasise the difference in fare rises under Mayor Khan and his predecessor, Boris Johnson: a 13per cent overall increase since 2016 compared to 42per cent in eight years under Johnson.
But the London-hating Tory government’s funding restrictions – the DfT has been far more generous towards the private companies operating the nation’s rail network – are seeing TfL entering what it calls “managed decline” due to the lack of guarantees on long-term funding, with 25 bus contracts yet to be renegotiated.
TfL’s “healthy streets” budget, aimed at encouraging safer cycling and walking, faces a £473million cut, and the Tube is at risk of “multi-day closures” because of a lack of cash for repairs.
Emma Gibson, the chief executive of passenger watchdog London TravelWatch, said: “Many key workers and those on low incomes rely solely on the bus, as they can’t afford the Tube or train, and they will be hit hardest by this rise.”
Caroline Pidgeon, the LibDem who chairs the London Assembly transport committee, said: “This announcement will be of little comfort for passengers who will now be facing even higher fares, especially many low-income bus passengers.
“However, given the terrible financial position facing TfL and the straitjacket being imposed by central Government, it is sadly inevitable.”
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