May 20 2013 Latest news:
Tuesday, February 12, 2013
Plans for ‘above inflation’ fare rises on London’s public transport have been stopped in their tracks—for the moment.
All three Opposition parties on the London Assembly last Friday derailed Mayor Boris Johnson’s proposed 4.2 per cent average increase by rejecting his 2013-14 budget and putting forward their own ‘alternative’ budgets.
But it doesn’t mean the end of the line for Boris.
The Mayor is re-presenting his proposals on February 25—and is likely to get them through with Tory support because it needs a two-thirds majority to reject them a second time.
Labour admits it may not be able to muster a two-thirds majority on February 25—so their plans to knock one per cent off bus, tube, DLR and suburban rail fares could hit the buffers.
Labour’s budget spokesman John Biggs, who represents east London on the Assembly, said a one per cent cut would save almost £200 a year for each passenger from Zone Two, Bromley-by-Bow and Canary Wharf to Whitechapel, who commutes to Zone One, City and West End, or £231 from Zone Three East Ham to Zone One.
“Boris has whacked up fares above inflation for the fifth year running—its a wheeze,” said Biggs.
“He shrugs his shoulders and says the ‘rhetoric should be toned down’ and the cuts and austerity should continue.”
His ‘alternative’ budget also includes a ‘Jobs Guarantee’ for those aged 16-24 who have been out of work for more than a year, which he said would help 525 youngsters in Tower Hamlets and 430 in Newham alone.
The Green Party also put up an alternative budget to stop cuts to the fire service while keeping council tax rises below inflation.
The Greens’ Darren Johnson said: “We put public safety and lower fares before gimmicks like council tax cuts and the new bus for London.”
His freeze on fares he reckoned would save households £60 a year.