Brent and Harrow
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Sadiq Khan Mayor of London
Navin Shah GLA Brent & Harrow
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Asian Voice Column: Boris' Christmas Present: Fare Hikes


Since Sunday 2nd January London’s commuters have been hit with huge increase in fares demonstrating yet again Mayor Boris Johnson’s lack of concern for ordinary working Londoners.


The Mayor is consistent when it comes to fares increases. Three years running he’s burdened London’s commuters with fare rises unprecedented since the creation of Transport for London (TfL). The rises in bus, underground and over-ground trains were described as “unacceptable” by passenger watchdog for London ‘TravelWatch’ two years ago and is true for this year too. 


Following last year’s 20% fare rise, single bus fares have risen by yet another ten pence to £1.30 for a pay-as-you-go journey. A weekly bus pass has gone up from £16.60 to £17.80.  Single one zone tube fares including zone 1 now costs an extra ten pence, at £1.90.


Once again, it’s bus passengers who are feeling the pinch of these increases. When Boris Johnson became Mayor, it cost 90p for a single pay-as-you-go Oyster bus journey – it now costs £1.30 – that’s an increase of 44%. At the same time, we know that Transport for London are reducing bus subsidy and even cutting the miles that our bus services will cover – we are quite simply paying more and getting less. TfL and the Mayor say these latest inflation-busting increases are necessary given budget pressures, but the Mayor has just scrapped the Western extension of the congestion charge zone, which was bringing in £7million a year. Instead some of London’s lowest paid workers – who tend to rely on the bus as the most affordable form of transport will be footing the bill instead – and getting a worse service for it!


Rail commuters will also feel the pinch this year, as the Chancellor recently announced rail fare increases of three per cent above inflation. It all adds up to a not very happy new year present from the Mayor to Londoners. The Mayor of London is hitting Londoners hard just as they are being told their services will be cut and jobs will be lost. These are the people the Mayor should be protecting - people who have to use public transport every day. Instead we have a Mayor who defends the bankers and has put bus fares up a massive forty-four per cent since he was elected.


Londoner’s misery is compounded by the Mayor’s decision to close a large number of ticket offices or drastically reduce opening hours and reduce staffing by at least 800 who are managing these stations. Mayor Johnson’s U turn is deplorable as this goes against his own election pledges and makes many of our stations, particularly ones in the Outer London areas, inconvenient and unsafe. For those who use Jubilee and Metropolitan lines know the misery from never ending weekend closures and often faulty trains during weekdays.  Whilst London’s commuters pay the hugely inflated fares for its poor public transport service the Mayor has also shelved projects to make stations fully accessible for families, older and disabled in our community. Key examples my constituency are Harrow On the Hill station which is a major public transport hub also a prime candidate for regeneration of the town centre and Stanmore station linked with world renown Royal National Orthopedic Hospital and Aspire.

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10th January 2011