Further to Boris Johnson’s assertion that an increase in cost of more than 50% for a one day Zones 2-6 Travelcard was “very little”, I’d like to draw Londoners’ attention to the most astonishingly brazen piece of spin from the Mayor.

One of the appendices to the agenda for next week’s London Assembly (Plenary) meeting at City Hall lists all the written replies to the Assembly’s questions to the Mayor at Mayor’s Question Time on 15 December.

First, Assembly Member Caroline Pidgeon asks about the estimated increased revenue from the removal of both the Zone 2-6 and Zone 2-9 one day Travelcards:

Cancellation of the Zone 2-6 Oystercard
Question No: 3889 / 2010
Caroline Pidgeon
What is TfL’s estimate for additional revenue for one day travelcards that include Zone 1, as a result of the removal of Zone 2-6 and 2-9 one day travelcards?
Answer from the Mayor

Less than £1m pa.

TfL predicts that the majority of those currently buying these tickets will switch to Oyster pay as you go.

The Mayor’s attitude is that the huge hike in cost for daily travel in these zones will result in former Travelcard purchasers switching to Oyster pay-as-you-go,  regardless of the fact that the current price of a Travelcard and the daily cap for the same zones using Oyster pay-as-you-go are identical.

Another question on the withdrawal of the Zones 2-6 one day Travelcard from Transport Committee Chair, Val Shawcross:

Travelcards- impact on outer London commuters
Question No: 4057 / 2010
Valerie Shawcross
As you campaigned on a platform of fighting for outer London will you reconsider your decision to abolish zone 2-6 Travelcards that would see daily fares rise from £9.00 to £15.00 this represents a 60% increase for those who live and work within the zone 2-6 band?

Answer from the Mayor

This increase does not represent “a 60 per cent increase for those who live and work within the zone 2-6 band” and I see no reason to reconsider it.

The £9.00 ticket referred to is the All Day Zones 2-6 ticket. This ticket is currently only purchased by a few hundred people each day.

Large increases only arise if these purchasers switch to the Zones 1-6 ticket which costs £14.80 today and will cost £15.00 in 2011.

However, pay as you go will provide much better value:

• two pay as you go peak single fares for Zones 2-6 will only cost £6.80 in 2011, even if a train plus Tube journey, e.g. Surbiton to Earls Court, is made;

• if only a Tube journey is made, e.g. Heathrow to Earls Court, the cost of 2 peak journeys will be only £5.00.

Adding on the cost of two bus rides, at £1.30 each, only gives a cost for the day of £9.40 (= £6.80 + £2.60), even if two train plus Tube journeys are assumed.

If two Tube only journeys are assumed, the daily cost is £7.60 (= £5.00 + £2.60). This amounts to a 15 per cent price reduction.

The Mayor says: This increase does not represent “a 60 per cent increase for those who live and work within the zone 2-6 band” and I see no reason to reconsider it. Yes, it does – unequivocally. One day’s unlimited travel within Zones 2-6 previously cost £9.00 (peak) or £5.10 (off-peak). In January 2011 the Mayor (who is personally responsible for setting the fares for Transport for London) raised those prices to £15 (peak) and £8 (off-peak).

The cost of all-day travel is the same, regardless of whether a passenger uses a one day Travelcard or Oyster pay-as-you-go.

The Mayor then says: Large increases only arise if these purchasers switch to the Zones 1-6 ticket which costs £14.80 today and will cost £15.00 in 2011. Purchasers have no choice – a one day Travelcard which covers Zones 2-6 has been raised to the same price as a Travelcard for Zones 1-6 – they are now forced to pay for travel in Zone 1 regardless of whether they actually board, alight or pass through it.

The Mayor’s answer then supplies details of some hypothetical journeys to “prove” that the increases of 57% (off peak) and 67% (peak) in the price of the Zones 2-6 one day Travelcard  actually represent a 15% price reduction.

No, me neither.

Are you listening, people who travel in Zones 2-6? Your fares have gone down by 15%!

The Mayor cites a journey from one of the Heathrow stations to Earls Court; a single fare using Oyster has risen from £2.20 to £2.50. A single bus trip using Oyster has risen from £1.20 to £1.30.

Enough of the hypothetical journeys, how about a series of off-peak journeys I have made myself using both the one day Zones 2-6 Travelcard and Oyster (they’re the same price):

Hounslow West to Earls Court: Now £1.40 (was £1.30)

Bus from Earls Court to Zone 1: £1.30 (was £1.20)

Bus from Zone 1 to Westfield Shopping Centre: £1.30 (was £1.20)

Tube from Wood Lane to Hounslow West via Hammersmith: £1.40 (was £1.30)

Bus home after picking up child from school: £1.30 (was £1.20)

The total for those individual journeys is £6.70, or £6.20 before the current fares rise; using Oyster pay-as-you-go or a one day Zones 2-6 Travelcard (off peak), the cost would have been capped at £5.10. The off-peak Oyster daily cap and the cost of an off-peak Travelcard has now risen to £8.00. That combination of daily journeys will now cost me £1.60 more. A 15% reduction, Boris?

I suspect that the cost of daily travel, excluding zone 1, has now been grossly inflated to prevent outer Londoners doing what I have always done – travelling to Zone 2 on the Underground, Overground or National Rail, then continuing my journey into Zone 1 by bus. A Travelcard is valid for bus travel within Zone 1, even if it does not cover Zone 1 for other methods of public transport.

 
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