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Tuesday 8 October 2013

Boris Fares Smokescreen

The latest jolly good wheeze cooked up by London’s occasional Mayor Alexander Boris de Pfeffel Johnson, in another of his £5,000 generating stream-of-sort-of-consciousness ramblings for the Maily Telegraph, is to lower fares by giving some of those hard-pressed punters a tax break, or, as it is otherwise known, currying favour with the voters by getting them to forget who jacked the fares up in the first place.
One person who is able to command right of reply in the Standard, and who needs no prompting on fare levels, is former Labour Transport Secretary Andrew Adonis, and he has passed severely adverse comment on Bozza’s record, including the vanity cable car, and especially the vanity buses, which, as Darren Johnson AM has reminded the Mayor, have just scored their first serious rear platform injury.

Adonis makes comparisons between London and other European cities on fare levels, and here on Zelo Street we’re always up for a fact check, and so have looked at the numbers for three other large cities: Berlin, Milan and Madrid. Single and day tickets are compared, the London transport mode being the Underground and Zones used 1-4. Today’s headline exchange rate is £1 = €1.184.

Single Tickets
London: £5.50 Cash, £3.80 Oyster peak, £2.70 Oyster off-peak
Berlin: €2.60, €2.20 (4-journey ticket)
Milan: €1.50, €1.38 (10-journey ticket)
Madrid: €2.00, €1.22 (10-journey ticket).

Day Tickets
London: £11 (peak), £8 (off-peak), Oyster equivalents £10.60 and £7.70
Berlin: €6.70
Milan: €4.50
Madrid: €8.40

The only reason the Madrid day ticket is relatively expensive is because it is marketed as a Tourist ticket. Whichever way you slice it, London’s transport is a seriously expensive proposition by comparison even with supposedly prosperous and expensive Germany. And the Metro coverage in cities like Madrid, and Berlin with the U-bahn and S-bahn networks combined, is arguably superior.

And as Adonis points out, what Bozza didn’t tell his readers is that there is another inflation-busting fare rise coming down the track, and scheduled for January. Giving out some kind of tax break is just a smokescreen to divert attention from this, and the increasingly large sums of money being sprayed up the wall on Bozza’s vanity projects, which could be invested in more worthwhile ways elsewhere.

This Mayor is wasting Londoners’ money. He should not be allowed to get away with bluster and excuses. A responsible newspaper would not give him the platform.

1 comment:

SteveB said...

an interesting idea from Boris - stolen from Paris if I remember correctly!

And how exactly would it work in other English regions where you can't buy all-operator passes? Can you imagine it in Crewe as people juggled D&G and Arriva (and First if they wanted to go ANYWHERE after 20:35) - all of a sudden that simple application got complicated.