Well, that didn’t take him long.  Public transport fares are going up, and it’s all Ken’s fault, of course.  Things to note:

  • Boris pushed Kulveer Ranger, who hasn’t been seen in weeks, out front to tell us.  Nice touch.
  • The ‘taking money from the Venezuelan poor’ argument is rubbish, as we’ve seen.  Using it is a strong indicator that there’s an exercise in deception in progress – unless the fare rises are to cover the approx £9m annual cost of the income support discount continuing, which hasn’t been announced, you can’t use it.
  • Various things – Routemaster, CC changes, extra BTP police, bendy replacement with more smaller buses – are snipping little holes in the budget.  These add up, particularly the estimated £100m of the Routemaster.  Peter Hendy is on record as saying that the £9m for BTP was found fairly easily by taking bits from various budgets.
  • Livingstone is on record as asserting that the fare freeze/cut was (at least partly) paid for by the massive 8-year Viacom advertising deal, which brings in £100m a year and is only a year or so in.  The deal brought in a lot more than expected, apparently.  Look for a robust response along these lines.
  • Where’s the ‘value for money’ you were going to bring in, Boris?  Can’t you find a measly £24m in savings to keep the bus fares down, then?
  • There’s a strong suggeston that unspecified multiple projects are going to get canned.  Bad news all round, there.  No strategic vision, no drive, fares up.  Welcome to Conservative rule.  We did warn you.
  • This announcement will result in people (me, for a start) digging up all those insinuations that Ken’s TfL was responsible for massive fare increases and London’s transport system is expensive.  Here‘s Roger Evans (who doesn’t really deserve it  – he’s hardly Phil Taylor in the obnoxious Tory stakes, but he was chairman of the Transport Committee at the time):
  • “It is good for Londoners to have their prices frozen,” said Roger Evans, from the London Assembly Conservatives.
    “But we’ve got to bear in mind that that they have gone up by more than the rate of inflation in the past three years so we already have a very expensive public transport system here.”

    The point being that you can’t seriously blame him for simultaneously a) putting the fares up and b) keeping them down.  I’m sure they’ll try, though.

  • Where on earth in London is the tube fare £6.30?

Update – Livingstone’s predictable angry response.  I don’t particularly want to be a mouthpiece for old Ken, but since he’s being given the blame, he gets to respond:

‘”Londoners are beginning to learn the high cost of Boris Johnson.

“Boris Johnson promised to save Londoners money but instead, after just a few months in office, he is pushing up fares above inflation to pay for his own incredible waste of Londoners’ money.

“Boris Johnson has lost between £30 and £50 million a year by abandoning the £25 a-day charge on the worst gas guzzlers in the congestion charging zone, he has scrapped the cheap oil deal with Venezuela, costing London £16 million a year, and he may throw away a lot more by abandoning the extension of the congestion charge to Kensington and Chelsea.

“This situation is likely to get worse. Experts agree that his pledge to bring in a new ‘routemaster’ bus would cost over £100 million a year.

“Londoners are now having to pay through the nose for Boris Johnson’s wrong policy decisions and waste.”

Actually, Ken needs to update his spreadsheet – the latest Venezuela Cashwatch comes in at nearly £18m thanks to the plummeting pound.

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