The Thick of It


Thursday, September 15, 2011


Bus fares when Boris Johnson came into power in 2008 were 90p per journey. In January he is putting them up to £1.40. That is a staggering 56% increase. Over the same period retail price inflation was just 13%.Tube and train fares in London will also go up by about 7-8%.

In 2008 my zones one and two Oyster single from Finsbury Park to Moorgate costed me £2. It now costs £2.50 and in January will cost me £2.70. That is an increase of 35%. You can see details of all next year's fares on the Mayor's site.

Stacking rises onto bus journeys, as BJ has done hits the poorest Londoners hardest as they rely more heavily on the cheapest form of public transport and make shorter journeys.

We all understand that government budgets are under increased pressure at the moment. That in itself though doesn't excuse Boris' eye-watering fares hike. Unfortunately, despite promising in 2008 to give Londoners "more bang for their buck" Johnson hasn't delivered.

Wasteful Boris is squandering our cash on a host of vanity projects at the very time when we can least afford them:

  • The new routemaster, more expensive and carries fewer passengers than bendy buses - and where are they? £2.27m per bus, plus all the costs of ending bendy bus contracts early...
  • Thames cable car - who wanted this? Entertainment group AEG were happy to pay for their own when bidding for the dome, but now Boris is getting us to pay for it - at least £57m at latest estimates
  • Cycle hire scheme - reports suggest that this loses £10m a year
  • Squandering up to £70m of revenue by scrapping the Western extension of the congestion charge to appease his Tory buddies in zone one Kensington and Chelsea

The Tories hit you in the pocket. Their supposed fiscal expertise comes down to stealth taxes and an increased cost of living. That's OK though as the millionaires in David Cameron's cabinet and Boris Johnson don't use public transport anyway, so at least they are going to be OK.

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