News from John Biggs (past staff): Fighting fare increases
East London Labour Assembly Member John Biggs has vowed to fight against public transport fare increases in East London. The threat of further rises to bus and tube fares comes after Mayor Boris Johnson announced his intention to halve the size of the congestion charge zone before Christmas - a decision which will lose Transport for London (TfL) between £55 - £70m a year in revenue. The new coalition government has also announced that it is to cut TfL's funding by £108m.
John said: "The cuts to London's transport budget and Boris Johnson's decision basically to throw away tens of millions in revenue raise the real prospect of more fare increases. Ordinary East Enders shouldn't be forced to pay for the Mayor's poor decisions and they shouldn't be subsidising car drivers in Kensington and Chelsea. We can fight these plans by responding to the TfL consultation and I would urge anyone concerned about congestion, public transport and keeping down fares to do so."
The Times reported yesterday (25 May) "The daily charge for the central zone would rise from £8 to £10 at the same time and the move may also mean fare rises on the Tube and buses." http://business.timesonline.co.uk/tol/business/industry_sectors/transport/article7135552.ece
The BBC reported this week (24 May) "Spending at the Department of Transport will be reduced by £683m. By cutting grants to local authorities, the department will save £309m. Network Rail will have to find savings of £100m. In London, following discussions with Mayor Boris Johnson, £108m could be cut from Transport for London's grant." http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/uk_politics/8700342.stm
TfL predict there will be a 15 per cent increase in traffic levels in the zone as a direct consequence of stopping charging (1). They expect to lose between £55 - £70m of revenue every year (2). Boris Johnson's decision to raise bus fares by up to 20 per cent in January 2010 will raise £78m of revenue for TfL (3)
The western extension of the congestion charge led to a decrease in motor vehicles entering the zone of 14 per cent. TfL estimated that around 30 per cent of those previously entering the zone by car chose to walk, cycle or travel by public transport instead. There was a 12 per cent increase in the number of people entering the zone by bicycle (4)
Since introducing congestion charging, London has become the only major city in the world to achieve a shift away from private car use to public transport, cycling and walking. This was achieved through a period of sustained economic and population growth. Cycling in London has increased by 91 per cent since 2000.
TfL said in a press release this week:
"Transport for London (TfL) has begun a statutory public consultation on a number of proposed changes to London’s Congestion Charge today. If approved the last charging day for the Western Extension could be Christmas Eve, with other changes coming into effect on 4 January 2011.
In the consultation the Mayor proposes that the last charging day for the Western Extension would be 24 December 2010. It would be suspended as normal over the festive period then from Tuesday 4 January the Congestion Charging zone will revert to substantially the same boundaries as existed prior to the Western Extension being added in 2007."
To let TfL know your views on the Mayor's plan to halve the size of the congestion charge zone, go to this link https://www.tfl.gov.uk/tfl/roadusers/congestioncharging/consultation/default.aspx
1) Mayoral answer to the London Assembly (25 February 2009) http://mqt.london.gov.uk/mqt/public/question.do?id=25116
2) Mayoral answer to the London Assembly (15 October 2008) http://mqt.london.gov.uk/mqt/public/question.do?id=23419
3) Mayoral decision (January 2010) /sites/default/files/archives/mayor-mayor-decisions-docs-20091015-md457-fares-2010.rtf
4) Central London Congestion Charging: Impacts Monitoring, Sixth Annual Report, Transport for London, July 2008.