Thursday, October 21, 2010

London transport prices to rise next year

Mayor of London Boris Johnson yesterday quietly confirmed that from 2 January 2011, fares on London's tubes, buses, London Overground, Docklands Light Railway and trams will rise.

The Mayor was quick to add that the rise will be at the level signalled last year and is the minimum to secure investment in London's transport network.

It will rise at an average of RPI (retail price index inflation) plus 2%, opposed to the RPI plus 3% on Britain's railway network.

Basing this on July's RPI figures of 4.8%, this represents an average 6.8% fare increase across TfL services and oyster pay as you go.

But in some cases, costs could go up more quickly. Products like the zone 2-6 one day travelcard will be permanently withdrawn.

This means travellers, who usually buy this type of travelcard, will have to buy a 1-6 zone travelcard instead – meaning a jump from £8.60 to £15 during peak times. That's an increase of 74%. Off-peak, it's a rise from £5.10 to £8.00 – a jump of 57%.

This could also mean a double whammy for rail commuters who also only use the tube for zones 2-6 – they will meet the tube increase and the rail increases, which could add a significant amount to the price of their annual ticket.

On the buses, Oyster pay as you go fares will increase again, this time by 10p to £1.30 for a single journey - cash fares will go up from £2 to £2.20.

The cost of purchasing an Oyster card is also set to rise, from £3 to £5.

It comes as the spending review yesterday axed the transport budget by 21%. This means Department for Transport's (DfT) budget has been reduced by £2.17bn in total over the four years. But the Mayor is adamant that key London transport projects will remain.

Approximately one-third of TfL's funding comes from a direct grant from the DfT.

TfL claim that the rises are necessary to upgrade of the Tube and construction of Crossrail, which together TfL say will add 30% capacity to London's rail transport network and provide a £78bn boost to the UK economy.

Boris Johnson said: 'Last year, I made it clear that when setting fares my priority is to protect the elderly, the young, the poorest and disabled Londoners and this fares package will continue to do so, particularly at a time when many need that protection.

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