More on this later, if I’ve got time, or Helen might if she can be persuaded to put down the baseball bat and rethink her plans to march on City Hall.

Notable things – public transport users get the ‘necessary pain’ angle fed to them, car drivers in the related CC announcement get ‘we’re making your journey smoother and easier’.  Bye-bye ‘Red Boris’, hello uber-petrolhead pleasing the base, as we often suspected.  Naturally this isn’t in any way, shape or form a strategic plan for the future any more than pandering to motorists ever has been, you fiddle with some traffic lights (assuming they don’t break all the time like the ones on the A4 near me), make it easier to drive, disincentivise people to use the bus/tube and amazingly you find there are more people driving the place is congested again.  It’s like Groundhog Day.  Welcome to 1978.

Anyway, a quick summary of my own personal basket of fares from last year’s post, with the total Boris Premium I have to pay for having an inadequate in charge of London’s transport planning:

  • Bus fare to the High Road 90 -> 100 -> 120    33%
  • Z1-Z2 peak 200 -> 220 -> 230   15%
  • Z1-Z3 peak 250 -> 270 -> 270   8%
  • Z1-Z2 offpeak 150 -> 160 -> 180  20%
  • Z1-Z3 offpeak 200 -> 220 -> 240  20%
  • Z4-Z3 tube + bus 190 -> 210 -> 250  32%
  • Bus into town and back 180 -> 200 -> 240  33%
  • Oyster cap Z1-Z4 540 -> 580 -> 630  17%

Well I’m obviously delighted to contribute to saving London from socialist excess.  You reckon?


14 Responses to Massive Fare Rises

  1. John Bull says:

    The main issue I have with these increases is that I strongly suspect they hit two groups of people disproportionately hard – worse, those two groups overlap.

    The first of those groups is East London Residents – particularly those in areas such as Hackney. These are areas that are disproportionately reliant on Buses and non-Zone-1 rail services for travel. These are also areas that regularly fall at the bottom of the economic pile anyway.

    Secondly, it affects lower-income workers hardest. Those are workers who generally work within borough borders or immediately neighbouring boroughs, meaning bus is by far the highest used method of travel. Alternatively, when rail services are used, they’re generally orbital journeys rather than radial ones – meaning price hikes to non-zone 1 fares have a far greater impact than for any other group. Similarly, your average low wage earner is far less likely to own a month+ season ticket (let alone a year long one, which normally relies on an employer providing some kind of travelcard scheme), meaning they’re also disproportianately hit by short-term travelcard price hikes and Oyster PAYG increases.

    As I say, these two groups overlap.

    So basically, whilst Boris has hit everyone in the pocket, he has just utterly, totally and disproportiantely shafted Inner London areas, many of which are – ironically – also about to be further shafted by his bendy-bus removals.

    Pretty certain if you map the areas this will hit hardest onto the
    voting statistics of the last election they’ll be a shockingly high
    correlation of “Ken” areas to areas most affected by the above.

    Fucking disgraceful.

  2. John Bull says:

    hmmm – some strange line breaking in there and my paragraphs seem to have disappeared.

    Sorry about that!

  3. Tom West says:

    National rail fares be going down, because they are linekd to inflation… so Boris said “I am afraid that fares on national rail are being depressed artificially for election purposes. These fares will inevitably go up after the General Election.” (Source: BBC News article).
    This is absurd – they are being “depressed” because the rule is RPI+1% – so Boris thinks the gorverment is sticking to the rule it invented long ago for election purposes!
    Further, yes fares will inevitably go up after the General Election… because inflartion will turn positive at some point in the fiev years after the election.

  4. […] can read plenty about Boris Johnson’s rather impressive hikes in TfL’s fares today elsewhere. […]

  5. Dan says:

    Sorry this is off-topic, but I thought you’d like to see the immediate benefit that the £20m de-bendification is having for bus users.

    Shame they’re not in London.

  6. John Brooks says:

    These fare increases demonstrate just how much Boris Johnson is out of touch with The Ordinary Person in the street . This is not a Mayor for the people but a Mayor for The Rich . If The Conservatives win the next election Boris Johnson will then hammer us for extra council Tax , you wait and see because the Conservatives say that ” we are all in this together ” and Boris Johnson has just confirmed this by these massive Transport fare increases . David Cameron and Boris Johnson want us to believe that they dont see eye to eye on some issues but this episode of Transport fare increases show that they are working together on most issues and both have the same goal . The Ordinary Person and low paid are really going to suffer in the long term and we will see an increase in council tax in the not to distant future , just you wait and see . I myself can personally see that Londoner’s have , and are be’ing conned ! . Look at this Mayoralty in it’s entirety and you will realise that it is completely out of touch and something is seriously wrong.

  7. […] – hitting hardest London’s poor who rely on public transport. In some cases, as Tom points out here, fares have risen by a […]

  8. Where_art_thou_ken says:

    Surely this is the tie when the electorate realise what they did.

    Of the popular promises made by Boris in his election we hav so far:
    Cleaned up city hall? – actually i’s now worse judging by the endless scandal led resignations
    Got rid of the bendy bus? – achieved, although no-one seems to be able to clarify what the cost and benefits are.
    Removing the WEZ? – it certainly doesn’t look like it – and he increase in C-charge is one in the eye for those who though Boris was going to be reducing road charging – not increasing it.

    ….and now we have fare increases of a stunning magnitde at a time when all other prices (and more importantly wages) are falling.
    Hitting the Buses is back to Thatcherite politics – generally the bus travelling public are not going to vote Tory – so it doesn’t matter if you annoy them with punitive fare rises – you won’t loose votes.

    The fare rises are a clear signal that Boris has lost control of the budget – granted he’s been unlucky with the recession arriving – which even more reason not to continue with pointless and costly policy like the bendy buses removal.

    I wonder how the people who work in London who are lucky enough to still have a job feel about this increased financial hurdle placed between them and their job. Is this how national Tory policy will work ? – a regressive tax system?

    I knew Boris would come unstuck at some point – but I totally underestimated how quickly and by how much – we can draw similarities to another ‘famous appointee’ in Governer Schwarznegger in LA – he leaves that job this / next year with the budget in crisis and a ‘state of emergency’ status in order to deal with the deficit which has caused huge public outcry.

    … that a vision of London 2012?

  9. […] to 20 per cent rises, Boris Watch points out that over two year’s bus fares will have risen 33 per cent from 90 pence to £1.20. Meanwhile, inflation has risen just 6.4 per cent over the same period. […]

  10. […] Bus passengers, that’s who; not only are they disproportionately poor, eastern, central, and Labour (or rather, Ken Livingstone)-voting, but it’s got to have some influence that they travel in rolling manifestations of “the group rights agenda”. On the other hand, drivers are still being threatened with road pricing – is that, I wonder, code for bringing back the idea of GPS-tracking cars rather than just gating central London? Clearly, this isn’t so much a strategy, as an uncontrolled drift that nevertheless shows a certain trend, demonstrating the underlying prejudices. […]

  11. […] environmental assessments – at what cost to Londoners, who’ve just been stung by the biggest public transport fares rise since the GLA was created in […]

  12. Where_art_thou_ken says:

    This morning I receieved this pathetic mail from the Mayor’s office in an attempt to explain the fare rises.

    Public transport is critical to the health and success of London. And this is a critical moment for the health of public transport.

    We have a pioneering tube system that is about to celebrate its 150th birthday, and which is still the envy of many other capitals. Our buses are carrying two billion passengers a year – the most since the 1960s.

    And yet our system is in desperate need of repair.

    We cannot expect Londoners to put up with ever more crowded and stifling trains, with the misery and frustration of signal failures.

    Every time your train is stuck inexplicably in a tunnel, every time a service is cancelled, the experience is not just eroding your quality of life. It is eating away at our city’s global competitiveness.

    Every time you inhale the fumes of a heavy, noisy, diesel-fuelled bus you are being exposed to the one of the prime culprits in London’s struggle to meet decent air quality standards.

    With a population set to grow by 1.3 million over the next 15 years, we cannot just creak along as we are. We cannot submit to an intensifying rhythm of delay and decay.

    That is why Transport for London is engaged in the biggest programme of investment for the last 50 years. We are upgrading eight tube lines, and introducing air conditioning on 40 per cent of the network.

    We are expanding the Docklands Light Railway by 50 per cent, and we are pushing ahead with Crossrail, which will increase London’s rail capacity by 10 per cent. We are continuing to invest in cycling and low-carbon technology for our buses.

    We are making these investments because they are the bare minimum we need to give London commuters the transport system they deserve and which this city needs to remain economically competitive with other capitals.

    And yet TfL is trying to pay for this, while coping with the deepest recession for 30 years. We have seen the biggest fall in tube ridership since the late 1980s – and though that may not seem to make the Tube less crowded, it has blown a £700m hole in the budget.

    We are coping with the colossal costs of the failure of Metronet and the disastrous PPP, and we are dealing with the costs of years of irresponsible politically-motivated jiggery-pokery in setting fares.

    That is why I am announcing these rises today. They give me no pleasure whatever. But I believe passionately that they are reasonable and in the best interests of London.

    It is a fares package that has been produced after long consultation, and Londoners should know that it is being accompanied by a sustained and determined assault on costs at Transport for London.

    London Underground has already shed 1000 backroom positions. We have cut £220 million on consultants and £130 m on accommodation costs, as part of a programme that will take £5 billion out of TfL’s budget by 2018.

    We have taken some very tough decisions to slow down projects such as some station renewals and step-free access – because it is there that we can find savings that do not compromise the great prize: to increase capacity, and to allow more people to travel in speed and comfort on public transport.

    We have been ruthless in finding savings, and that is why we have been able today to restrict the scale of the fare increases.

    These are not the biggest fare hikes of the last ten years. That dubious honour belongs to the increases of 2005 and 2006.

    Even when these rises come into effect, from January, average bus fares will be ten per cent lower than in 2000, and tube fares have not kept pace with the rise in earnings.

    The simple fact is that in a bitter recession, and with such huge pressure on public finances, we cannot keep providing a service at a price so far below cost.

    Bus subsidy has soared from £24 m in 2000 to £620 m today. With almost 40 per cent of bus passengers allowed to travel for free, I have of course been urged to take those benefits away.

    I have been told that 60 is too young to have the right to 24 hour free travel. I have been advised that we should take back free travel for kids. I disagree.

    I believe those concessions are valued by Londoners of all ages. Together with our help for those on income support and those in search of work those schemes are especially important now, in a recession, and I will not take them away.

    Having cut costs to the bone, having begun the painful process of shedding thousands of employees, we are then faced with a clear choice.

    We could flunk the test, and expand the black hole in TfL’s finances. We could cancel vital infrastructure projects and do long-term damage to the prospects of this city. We could impose new charges on the young, the old and those on benefits.

    It is obvious that none of those options is right for this city. That is why I am today announcing a package of measures that is fair, that protects the vulnerable, and will allow us to get on with vital infrastructure investment we need.

    London has a fantastic future over the next few years. We are going to harness the Olympics to drive change and improvements of all kinds in what it feels like to live in and move around the city.

    But we can only deliver those changes if we now take the steps – too long delayed – to sort out the finances of Transport for London.

    We must put those finances on a firm footing, and we must do it now. It is the only way to ensure we can make the investment that London needs in buses, trains, track, tunnels, bridges and signalling.

    If we make those investments, we will deliver huge returns in the quality of life in this city.

    And if we fail to make them, the long term cost to Londoners will be infinitely higher than any increase in fares.

  13. Where_art_thou_ken says:

    In the post above (the mail from the Mayor) – there are a few inaccuracies and mis-leading arguments.

    1) The ‘record’ fare rises in 2006 were in an inflationary environment (some 5%) whereas these fare rises come in a deflationary (or at best low inflation) environment. It means that the recent increases wil be much more painful.

    2) A lot of the mail revolves around how great the tube it – it implies that Boris is taking credit for the magnificent tube (which was implemented mainly by the Victorians) – a few current fears (stifling business competetiveness) for good measure and suddenly these fare rises are because “the tube is collapsing and we need to save it” – so what were all the other fare rises for? Are you just bad at maths – or does the cost keep changing annually?

    3) This is a bizzare statement “We have seen the biggest fall in tube ridership since the late 1980s – and though that may not seem to make the Tube less crowded” – so there’s fewer passengers but the tubes are just as crowded – is this a admissin there is a reduction in service?

    4) Massive cuts to save money and yet fare rises still needed? That sounds like propping up a ‘zombie bank’ to me – is this what TFL is now? I suspect they would argue differently. If things are so bad financially then why hasn’t it been mentioned before?

    5) Although it’s not mentioned here – the Mayor is blaming the previous administration for the fare rises – how long will this continue? How long can you get away with blaming ‘the guy before you’ for you not being able to do your job?

    The whole fare rises are pathetic – and a clear sign Boris is out of his depth with budgets. I suspect a lot of this is due to the expensive removal of the bendy buses (there had to be a cost somewhere) and the fall in passenger numbers. Blaming PPI and MetroNet is a dangerous game as I believe the Tory policy is for more PPI (it was originally a Conservative idea) – even though it was new Tory – sorry I meant New Labour who implemented it.

    In a way Boris has become the Socialist champion – as his refusal to kerb free travel for the elderly and the very young will result in the tube only being ridden by tourists and those who travel for free!

    Boris the Red – has a bit of a ring to it doesn’t it?

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