This week I have repeated calls for the Mayor of London to freeze Transport for London fares and not to put an “extra tax on workers”. The Mayor is due to decide what level fares will be from January later this year, he is currently committed to an RPI+1% increase. In addition, season tickets for train services travelling in and out of London could rise by up to 9.1% this January, it was announced this week.
Train providers including Greater Anglia, Thameslink, and Great Northern will be raising their fares in 2014 by RPI + 1 per cent. This means fares will rise by an average of 4.1 per cent, but the maximum individual fares can be increased is by up to 9.1 per cent.
The Mayor must ease financial pressure on Londoners and freeze Transport for London fares at inflation this year. Boris needs to listen and not make life harder for Londoners who are struggling with the ever increasing cost of living. Residents living in Zone 6 have already seen a 27 per cent increase in off-peak TfL fares since Boris became Mayor in 2008.
Wages are flat-lining and these inflation-busting fare rises amount to a tax on work. Commuters travelling into London will be clobbered with fare rises of up to 9 per cent at a time when utility bills, food and rents are all increasing. The government should be encouraging people to use public transport, but instead people are going to have to seriously consider whether they can afford to commute into London.
Figures obtained this week from the House of Commons library show average hourly wages have fallen 5.5% since mid-2010 when adjusted for inflation. That is the fourth-worst decline among the 27 EU nations. Since 2008, fares have risen three times faster than wages. That is appalling and unsustainable, unless the plan is to make train travel a luxury for the wealthiest in this country.