A word of warning – this is stat-heavy. If you want the latest on the Ken v. Boris slugfest, go to Dave Hill’s place. Boy, am I looking forward to Ken’s LBC show on Saturday.
Anyway, I’ve had a chance to kick back with Excel and the press releases now.
Firstly, there’s a meme going round that the price increases are RPI+1% (see IanD’s comment over at Annie Mole’s place), which isn’t entirely borne out by the figures. Inflation is currently a relatively high 5% (or 5.3% excluding mortgage payments), so if it’s RPI+1% we’re probably looking for average rises in the 5.5%-7% range, given that the rounding errors are significant when all fares are multiples of 10p.
Secondly, it’s worth* getting the peak/off-peak changes clear first, since they’re far from obvious and make comparisons difficult – in fact, the changes mean a number of journeys reduce in price at certain times during the week. I’ve assumed the new peak/off-peak and old standard/discounted fares structures are analogous, even though they’ll now operate over different time periods. More on this at the bottom.
Now the analysis, starting with the good news. There are two fares staying exactly the same, the bus and Z1 tube cash single fare of £2 and £4 respectively. However, virtually no one ever pays these, so it’s essentially meaningless.
Next we have a relative bargain, the Z1-Z5 tube fare on Oyster PAYG during peak times. This only goes up 5.4% to £3.70, due to a new innovation where, if the fares to two adjacent zones were originally the same price, the innermost zonal fare is set fairly arbitrarily to be 10p less than the next one out, . In this case the Z1-Z6 peak fare, which used to be the same price as Z1-Z5 is now set at £3.80, for a 7.9% increase.
Another couple of cheapies – out-of-central-zone seasons rise 5.8% to 6.6% depending on zones, day travelcards in Z1-Z2 are only going up 5.6-5.7%, while Z1-Z4 peak is a miserly 6%.
After that everything’s rising over 6%. Season tickets including central London go up an average 6.5%. Day travelcards (other than those mentioned above) are in the 6.3-7.1% range, most being towards the upper end.
Because the max PAYG cap is 50p less than the equivalent day travelcard the rise is proportionally more, up to 7.7% for the Z1-5/6 off-peak cap. If you stick to the buses the old £3 PAYG cap goes up to £3.30, a 10% rise. There are quite a few 10% rises, actually – off-peak Oyster fares on the tube beyond Zone 2 are all 10% while the peak Z1-Z4 fare is an inflation-busting 10.7% riser, purely to ensure it’s 10p more than the Z1-Z3 fare, which itself goes up 7.4%.
However, the highest rise today is the most basic one – the 90p bus fare goes back up to £1, which is an 11.1% rise. Of course, since Boris only restarts the income support scheme in January, the unfortunate people who were paying 45p a trip until their discount expired have already seen bus fares go up to 90p, an increase of, er, 100%.
In short, Boris has put the commonest fares up by between 5.4% and 11.1%, when inflation is 5.3%. Single Tube fares on Oyster anywhere go up by an eyewatering average 9.1%. However, Season and Day Travelcards go up pretty much RPI+1%, which is the only place where that is an accurate portrayal of the situation.
Speaking personally, as an occasional PAYG user, the fares I use most are among the highest risers – I live in Zone 3 and don’t use the system often enough to justify travelcards. Bus fare to the High Road? 11.1%. A single fare into town goes up 10% off-peak and 7.4% peak. My favourite Saturday pastime of riding the bus into town and back is going up 10%. If I fancy hitting the Oyster cap using the Tube it’s a 7.4% hike, chummy (although to be fair it’s easier to hit since the individual fares have mostly gone up even more than that). Visit my mate in Haringey? 10% up, albeit on a fare that dropped sharply when Overground came in last year. The occasions when I drop the car off at our usual garage and take the tube and bus back? Currently £1.90, soon to be £2.10 – that’s 10.5% up.
This is in a place that voted overwhelmingly for Boris, too. What on earth will he do to places who didn’t vote for him? Plague of rats? Gangs of feral Policy Exchange wonks with flamethrowers? Oh, I know what he’ll do – scrap their transport improvements. That’ll teach them.
* Peak/Off-Peak changes.
Currently the higher Oyster fares are charged from 0700 to 1900 Mon-Fri, the time being taken as when you touch in, even if you touch out after the boundary. The revised plans bring in an off-peak period in the middle of this, from 0930 to 1600, so if I, say, need to go to Central London during the week, if I can put off getting to the tube station until 0930, I’ll be charged £2.20 instead of £2.50 now. There are a number of these, and the reductions are significant – 39% for tube journeys of three zones and more in the suburbs, from £1.80 to £1.10. You see, he *was* being nice to us suburbanites, after all.
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