Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Anger at New Year Leap in Travel Fares

Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Anger at New Year Leap in Travel Fares

Article excerpt


MILLIONS of Tube, rail and bus passengers face inflation- busting fare increases from Sunday.

The price rises come at a time when one in five mainline trains continues to run late despite a record [pounds sterling]5billion a year spent on improvements. And Tube commuters continue to suffer an appalling service, with daily breakdowns of signals, tracks or trains.

The rises have been imposed despite angry protests from passenger watchdogs, who say the service has not improved enough to warrant such huge increases.

Mayor Ken Livingstone is at the centre of the row after breaking his promise not to increase Tube and bus fares above inflation.

Tube fares rise by an average of four per cent but some tickets will be more than 12 per cent dearer. On the buses, the average increase is 13 per cent.

The Mayor says he needs [pounds sterling]125million more to invest in transport. On the national network, fares will rise by an average of four per cent.

Up to 40,000 people using trains from the Kent coast will pay double that because the service has improved.

Cynthia Hay, of pressure group Capital Transport, said: "The fares have been set to maximise revenue for Transport for London by hitting passengers in inner London with the highest rates of increase for period Travelcards - nearly two or three times inflation.

"These increases amount to a stealth tax on inner London. Many of London's essential workers may find they are facing transport poverty, with more above-inflation increases to come."

George Muir, director general of the Association of Train Operating Companies, said: "Fares have to rise to pay for huge investment."

Yet many of the new [pounds sterling]1-million-acarriage trains on London's commuter routes are proving more unreliable than the 40-year-old slam-door stock.

The new Tube fare structure is so complex the Mayor has published a 58-page guide. …

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