Those who can recall the last London Mayoral election will know that Ken Livingstone proposed a fares freeze across the capital’s public transport offerings as part of his campaign. They will also know that the cheerleaders of Alexander Boris de Pfeffel Johnson poured scorn on the idea, with Andrew “Transcription Error” Gilligan working it into his list of alleged “lies”.
Gilligan also added to his list of “lies” the claim that Livingstone had not increased fares over his tenure as Mayor, citing a number of individual rises. But, taken over the full eight years that Ken was in City Hall, fares had in fact not risen overall. The same cannot be said for Bozza, who has been jacking them up at an above inflation rate more or less since he got his feet under the Mayoral desk.
But now has come the news, faithfully reported by the Evening Standard (aka London Daily Bozza) that fares are indeed to be frozen by their favourite politician. “EXCLUSIVE: Boris Johnson unveils London Underground and bus fares freeze”. So fares will not rise next year, yes? Er, no: as the BBC pointed out, “Most transport fares in London are to rise by the rate of inflation, it has been announced”.
So there isn’t going to be a fares freeze after all. The Standard was forced to admit “single journeys within Zone 1 rise by 10p to £2.20, a 4.8 per cent rise. A single bus fare with Oyster goes up 5p to £1.45, while the cash fare stays at £2.40 ... The few people still paying cash on the Underground, mainly tourists, will see a single fare in Zone 1-3 rise 20p to £4.70”. How much? Ouch!
But there was plenty of Mayoral adoration in the article: “The Mayor chopped one per cent off the expected rise of 4.1 per cent by ordering £16 billion worth of efficiency savings ... The Mayor told the Standard he had held down the fares by ordering cost-cutting plus more ambitious commercial targets”. Like heck. Bozza wouldn’t know a transport budget if it jumped up and fly-hacked him in the undercarriage.
So he and the Standard were convincing nobody: “This is what you need to know about the cost of London transport in 2014. You’re going to pay a few quid extra for a weekly travelcard” observed Jim Waterson at BuzzFeed. The Staggers was equally unconvinced, noting that “Boris's tube and bus fares ‘freeze’ isn't a freeze”. And thus far there has been no word from Gilligan.
It got worse. Cornered by the press pack yesterday, Bozza was asked a simple question: how much was a cash fare for a Tube journey from Angel to London Bridge? The clearly very occasional Mayor was instantly all at sea, asserting more than once that it was a whole two quid more than the already steep £4.70. Even his cheerleaders at the Standard can’t mask his ineptitude.
And this is the bloke that wants to be Prime Minister. What a thrilling prospect.