News from John Biggs (past staff): Barking & Dagenham commuters will be hit by Boris’ off-peak fare hikes

27 February 2015

London Assembly Member John Biggs has accused the Mayor of being “staggeringly out of touch” after he refused to fully reverse his off-peak fare hike which has left many commuters in Barking & Dagenham worse off.

Some passengers in Barking & Dagenham have seen their fares rise by as much as 28% after the Mayor removed the cap on off-peak ‘pay as you go’ travel for zones 4 to 6 in the New Year. After pressure from the majority of London Assembly Members this week, the Mayor offered a partial solution by agreeing to refund a tiny proportion of passengers. The move was criticised by John Biggs AM after it was found that the majority passengers would be left to endure excessively high fares.

The figures were revealed in a letter from the Mayor to John Biggs AM, Chair of the Budget Committee, which showed that 85% (around 15,000 passengers) paid an average of £1.40 more around once a week. Yet the Mayor’s solution is to issue refunds to those who incur higher charges twice or more each week, meaning the vast majority of passengers hit by the Mayor’s decision to remove this cap will not be helped by this climbdown.

This week Mr Biggs joined the majority of London Assembly Members in supporting an amendment to the Mayor’s Budget which would have reversed the decision to scrap the off peak zones 4-6 PAYG cap. Labour AMs voted in favour of the amendment but failed to secure the two-thirds majority needed with Conservative AMs blocking the change despite previously speaking out against the Mayor on this issue.

John Biggs AM, Labour London Assembly Member for City & East, said:

“By scrapping the off peak PAYG cap Boris Johnson condemned many commuters from Barking & Dagenham to fare hikes of up to 28% which for some could mean paying up to £2.40 more per day than last year. Now he is proposing a ‘solution’ which by his own admission will only help a tiny number of those affected.

“For the Mayor to suggest he has fixed this problem when his actions are leaving huge numbers of Barking & Dagenham commuters facing massive fare hikes shows how staggeringly out of touch he is. What residents of Barking & Dagenham need from the Mayor is a real solution not a political fig leaf which comes nowhere near resolving the problem Boris has created. Instead what they have been left with is a very complex system of refunds, which only benefit a tiny proportion of travellers.”



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