Mayor: Government must rethink ‘unjustifiable’ plans for 3.5 per cent

21 July 2017

•          Sadiq Khan calls on Ministers to follow his example and freeze rail fares in January, saying another 3.5 per cent fares hike would be ‘woefully out of touch’

•          Zone 1-6 commuters face annual season ticket increase of £7 a month

•          Mayor warns of major disruption to rail journeys into Waterloo over August, demanding speedy and full compensation for passengers if the works are delayed

 

The Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, has hit out at Government plans to increase fares on London’s suburban rail network by around 3.5 per cent next January, stating that hiking rail fares in the current climate would be ‘woefully out of touch’.

 

The decision to increase rail fares is expected to be confirmed by the Government next month based on the July figure for RPI inflation.

 

With people’s wages not keeping up with the rate of inflation, the Mayor is calling on the Government and train operating companies to urgently rethink their plans and freeze fares on all suburban rail routes in London from this January – matching TfL’s fares freeze and preventing an unjustifiable further squeeze on commuters’ household budgets.

 

If fares are increased by 3.5 per cent in line with latest RPI figure for June, rail commuters in Zones 1-6 areas such as Kingston and Surbiton will see the cost of their annual travel increase from £2,408 to £2,492 – an increase of £84, or the equivalent of £7 a month.

 

Annual travel in zones 1-4 will increase by £66, or the equivalent of £5.50 a month. This increase will come after commuters have faced a year of delays, overcrowding and cancellations across London’s suburban rail network.

 

The Mayor is today also raising the issue of upcoming works at Waterloo Station this August. As part of the £800million package of improvements at Waterloo, 10 platforms will be closed for building work between 5-28 August, with rail timetables severely limited, and stations like Earlsfield (during morning and evening peak times), Norbiton and Queenstown Road closed to commuters.

 

With thousands of passengers facing ‘nightmare’ disruption to their journeys over August, the Mayor is warning that any further delays of the work into September could cause the rail network to descend into chaos when commuters return to the UK’s busiest railway station after the summer.

 

South West Trains and Network Rail will not be compensating passengers for the disruption, despite the fact that a number of stations will be closed. The Mayor is demanding full compensation for every passenger if the works are delayed, or if there is more disruption to services than already advertised by South West Trains.

 

TfL will be supporting passengers affected by the works at Waterloo, including accepting South West Trains tickets on parts of the Northern, District, Bakerloo, and Victoria lines and 21 different bus routes, as well as running additional bus routes. This will be paid for by South West Trains.

 

The Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, said: “With people’s pay not keeping up with inflation, it would be woefully out of touch for the Government to allow underperforming private rail companies to hike up their fares again. I’m calling on the Government to match my TfL fares freeze and prevent another squeeze on household budgets in the new year. Passengers on London’s suburban rail routes pay thousands of pounds for tickets every year, but have faced repeated delays, overcrowding and cancellations. 

 

“Many commuters are now facing additional station closures and nightmare journeys to Waterloo over the summer. If the works at Waterloo are delayed, passengers deserve nothing less than speedy and full compensation for every affected journey. If the closures drag on into September, London’s rail network could descend into chaos, and I’ll be watching progress on the works like a hawk.

 

“The Government and the Private Rail companies desperately need to show that they’re on the side of passengers. Announcing another hike in rail fares next month would be completely unjustifiable, and the Government must think again.” 

 

Lianna Etkind, Campaign for Better Transport, said: "If ever there was a time for the Government to step in and end the ever-increasing costs of taking the train, it's now. Wages are stagnant, and many people really struggle with the costs of getting to work, to education or to see friends and family. Passengers are rightly asking why they should pay ever-spiralling rail costs when, year after year, the costs of motoring are held down. A fares freeze would not only help millions of people manage the costs of living, but would encourage more people to choose public transport and move us towards cleaner air, more liveable cities and a more sustainable society."

 

Ruth Cadbury, MP for Brentford and Isleworth, said: "Living in outer London is getting more and more expensive, so yet another fare increase, particularly for rail passengers, is the last thing people here need. The Government must address the cost-of-living crisis and freezing rail fares would be an excellent start."

Notes to editors

The Mayor has frozen TfL fares this year, and will freeze TfL fares for the next three years. All TfL ‘Pay as you go’ journeys on the Tube, rail and Santander Cycles will be frozen for that period, and everyone travelling by bus or tram in London will not pay a penny more this year than in 2020. Around four million journeys a day benefit from the TfL fares freeze – including 2.5m bus trips every day. 
 
The RPI figure for June was 3.5 per cent.  Regulated rail fares, which include season tickets and other commuter tickets, are set to go up next January in line with the rate of RPI inflation for July.

Some of the impact would be as follows:

•          Zones 1-6 Annual Travelcard price (for Kingston/Surbiton users) would increase by 3.5% from £2,408 to £2492 – an increase of £84 or the equivalent of £7 a month

•          Zones 1-4 Annual Travelcard price (for Richmond users) would increase by 3.5% from £1,892 to £1,958 – an increase of £66 or the equivalent of £5.50 a month

•          Zones 1-3 Annual Travelcard price (for Earlsfield users) would increase by 3.5% from £1,548 to £1,602 – an increase of £54 or the equivalent of £4.50 a month 
 
•          A peak pay as you go fare from New Malden to Raynes Park increased from £2.00 to £2.10 in January 2017 – an increase of 5.0%. A similar 10p increase in January 2018 would see this fare rise by 4.8% to £2.20 (around £50 per year for the average passenger).

•          An off-peak pay as you go fare from Norbiton to London Waterloo increased from £3.20 to £3.30 in January 2017 – an increase of 3.1%. A similar 10p increase in January 2018 would see this fare rise by 3.0% to £3.40 (around £50 per year for the average passenger)

•          A peak pay as you go fare from Norbiton to Wimbledon increased from £2.80 to £2.90 in January 2017 - an increase of 3.6%. A similar 10p increase in January 2018 would see this fare rise by 3.4% to £3.00 (around £50 per year for the average passenger)

•          A peak pay as you go fare from New Malden to London Waterloo increased from £3.90 to £4.00 in January 2016 – an increase of 2.6%. A similar 10p increase in January 2018 would see this fare rise by a further 2.5% to £4.10. (around £50 per year for the average passenger)


More details about the works at Waterloo over August can be found on the South West Trains website - https://www.southwesttrains.co.uk/wswupgrade

TfL are doing a number of things to help mitigate the disruption around Waterloo over August: 
 
•          TfL are using their communications channels to help amplify the message to SWT’s customers, at Network Rail’s request. They’re using their Oyster data to email anyone who has touched in or out at a SWT station about the works (South West Trains are paying for this)

•          TfL are supporting passengers who will be indirectly affected (much busier District and Northern lines in SW London) with a full travel advice communications campaign. 

•          TfL are running additional buses on routes 33, 77, 131 and 155, which will be paid for out of the ticket acceptance deal. 

•          South West Train tickets will be accepted on parts of the Northern, District, Bakerloo, and Victoria lines and 21 different bus routes (paid for by the works).

•          TfL are working closely with SWT and NR on their contingency plans for both operations and customer communications.

•          TfL are putting on additional staff and ambassadors at their most affected stations..