Boris Johnson's transport pricing changes have come under renewed attack today as the distributional impact of the fare rises became clear and Transport for London's revenue numbers received closer scrutiny.
Boris Johnson’s transport pricing changes have come under renewed attack today as the distributional impact of the fare rises became clear and Transport for London’s revenue numbers received closer scrutiny.
Although headlines point refer to 20 per cent rises, Boris Watch points out that over two year’s bus fares will have risen 33 per cent from 90 pence to £1.20. Meanwhile, inflation has risen just 6.4 per cent over the same period. Sunny Hundal, writing for Liberal Conspiracy, says:
“That’s two years in a row he has brutally punished London’s commuters – hitting hardest London’s poor who rely on public transport.”
But the new Congestion Charge revenue figures also require greater scrutiny. Dave Hill’s blog last night quoted Transport for London figures:
“TfL say that by the financial year 2011/12 they anticipate net revenues from congestion charging will be £168 million – that’s up by £20 million from the present figure even though the [Western Extension Zone] will be gone by then. How do they work that out? Well, very roughly, they’ve subtracted £55 million a year lost through WEZ abolition and added £15 million from the increased charge and a further £60 million in operating savings thanks to IBM. You may wish to challenge their arithmetic. Be my guest.”
Since £60 million of operating savings amount to 36 per cent of anticipated revenue, Left Foot Forward decided to take up the challenge. Unfortunately we were scuppered by some internal uncertainty at Transport for London where a spokeswoman told us we would have to wait for publication of the Business Plan next week. We also tried IBM where Ken Saunders told us, “At the moment I can’t give you anything more specific.”
Our final point of call was Ken Livingstone, who speaking exclusively to Left Foot Forward, could shed little light on the affair:
“The IBM contract starts this year and they comfortably beat Capita in the bid so there will be real savings but whether it will amount £60 million I don’t remember. When Capita got the original contract in 2002 they were the only serious bidder then, but this time round IBM provided real competition so it’s possible.”
Left Foot Forward will continue the investigation next week.
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