A London Assembly Member has questioned Boris Johnson’s decision to increase overall travel fares in London above the rate of inflation.
John Biggs, budget spokesperson for City & East London, said: “Wages for the majority of workers are barely rising and Londoners are really struggling more then elsewhere in the UK. It is scandalous that Boris has not used his power to curb fare rises, and it is an insult to hard-working Londoners that he’s claiming credit for saving households seven pence a week.”
This is the fifth consecutive year in which Johnson has increased London transport fares above inflation. Fares for both tube and bus journeys have increased by over 4 per cent and the cost of hiring the flagship Boris Bike is set to double.
An annual zone one to four travel card will cost Londoners £72.00 more than last year, while the planned 1.2 per cent cut to Band D council tax equates to an annual saving of £3.72 per property.
As a result, due to plans made in the draft budget, families living in Tower Hamlets who pay the Band D council tax will be affected by the increased travel fare and will not see this balanced by the benefits of the council tax cuts.
Commenting further on the increased travelling fares, Biggs added: “In the last two years, Transport for London have collected £251m more than they were expecting in fares. It is ludicrous for the Mayor to claim he can’t help Londoners.”
The budget has also been criticised by Councillor Motin Uz-Zaman, the deputy leader of the Labour Party in Tower Hamlets. Uz-Zaman said: “These price rises are hitting residents who have no choice but to pay the fares in order to get to work. Many will already be struggling as a result of pay freezes and the Government’s cuts to benefits.”
However, Johnson has defended the budget proposals, claiming that his council tax cuts are beneficial. Speaking to online newspaper London24, Johnson also pointed out that unlike his predecessor, Ken Livingstone, he has introduced council cuts instead of constant rises.