Increases in Fares

Meeting: 
MQT on 2009-11-18
Session date: 
November 18, 2009
Reference: 
2009/3468
Question By: 
Navin Shah
Organisation: 
Labour Group
Asked Of: 
The Mayor

Question

Harrow Council recently passed the following motion: 'Council deplores the decision by Boris Johnson, the Mayor of London, to increase bus fares by 12.7% overall and tube fares by 3.9% overall at a time when RPI inflation is 1.1%. Council is dismayed to hear that six more accessibility schemes for tube stations are being abandoned and that some bus and tube routes passengers will face less frequent services. These increases will wipe out by many times any of the savings of 12p a week made by the zero increase in the GLA precept -based on increases in previous years.

Council notes that the Mayor claims that he can find £5 billion 'efficiency savings' in the TfL budget, and urges him to concentrate on this rather than increasing fares which hit the most hard-up in the middle of a recession. Council also notes that the Mayor will lose £70 million by halving the size of the congestion charge zone; will lose £50 million potential revenue by dropping proposals to charge the most polluting 4x4 vehicles and will lose £30 million in revenue by the replacement of 'bendy' buses. This money would be far better spent on providing cheap reliable public transport at the same time as improving traffic flow and cutting noxious vehicle emissions.

Council instructs the Chief Executive to convey this motion to the Mayor of London, to the Brent and Harrow London Assembly Member as well as to the Leaders of the Labour, Conservative, LibDem and Green Groups on the London Assembly.'

This motion was passed on the abstention of the ruling, majority party. Would the Mayor agree this is confirmation his fares package is indefensible?

Answer

Answer for Increases in Fares

Answer for Increases in Fares

Answered By: 
The Mayor

I appreciate the fares increases are not welcome at a time when Londoners are feeling the effects of the recession and it is not a decision I have taken lightly. Indeed, I have been persuaded of the need for the increases only after ensuring that every efficiency possible is being made at TfL. It is only because enormous efforts are being made that the total of £5 billion can be achieved.

As I said in my announcement on the fares revision on 15 October, the increases are needed to bring stability to TfL's financial position, in sharp contrast to the damaging volatility and uncertainty brought about by the previous administration's approach. Other factors are the collapse of Metronet and the fall in Tube and bus fares revenue caused by the recession.

Far from being indefensible, the package of increases is essential to protect the elderly, the young, the poorest, and disabled Londoners, and it allows us to go forward to deliver the vital improvements that Londoners deserve - including Crossrail, the upgrade of eight Tube lines, new trains, the cycling revolution, and a host of other improvements ahead of the 2012 Games.