Commuters feel the pinch of fare rises

By Beth Allcock on January 2, 2013 10:04 AM |

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London Mayor Boris Johnson has been accused of misunderstanding the financial pressures affecting residents after transport fares rose above inflation for the fifth consecutive year.

Many commuters across the capital returned to work this week to find an extra pinch to their pockets, with bus fares and tube fees increasing by an average of 4.2 per cent.

In real terms, the Mayor's decision means those using public transport will shell out five pence more for each Oyster pay-as-you-go bus journey while the cash fare will increase by 10p to £2.40.

Wharfers who use a Boris Bike to travel to and from work have also been subject to the price hike, with daily hire increasing to £2 and a weekly ticket doubling from £5 to £10.

Mayor Johnson has now come under fire from assembly member John Biggs who flagged up the impact of the revised fares on the lives of those in east London.

"It is time Boris understood the pressure on Londoners' pockets and reduced the fare rise to inflation or less," said the Labour member.

"Before the election he said he would 'bear down on fares' but we have seen no evidence of this.

"He simply doesn't understand the pressure that ordinary Londoners are under."

Caroline Pidgeon, leader of the Liberal Democrat London Assembly Group, said: "Inflation busting fare rises are Boris Johnson's New Year's gift to Londoners.

"The cheapest bus or tram fare - a single Oyster pay-as-you-go fare - has soared from 90p to £1.40.

"If the mayor stopped pouring money into his vanity projects such as the cable car he could ensure fare rises were capped at no more than inflation."

Since 2008, bus fares have increased by 56 per cent, a weekly Zone One to Six off peak travelcard has gone up by 21 per cent and a monthly Zone One to Three card has risen by 25 per cent.

Mayor Johnson said: "This fares package is hugely important to our millions of passengers and I am very pleased to have secured nearly £100million that will help to keep fares as low as possible, and protect the important concessions that we offer the most vulnerable Londoners."