Boris Scrooge scraps free New Year’s Eve train travel

Boris Johnson has axed free New Year’s Eve rail travel, though buses, tubes, trams and the DLR remain free.

Boris Johnson’s transport woes escalated today with news that he is to scrap free rail travel on New Year’s Eve in a bid to plug a £5 billion deficit. Introduced by Ken Livingstone six years ago, the free travel has proved immensely popular with Londoners.

The Mayor himself admits that the measure will result in only a £100,000 saving – a mere 0.002 per cent of the deficit. He will also reduce the length of the fireworks display from 10 minutes to 7½ minutes, saving a further £175,000.

Buses, tubes, trams and the Docklands Light Railway will, however, remain free between 23:45 on New Year’s Eve and 04:30 on New Year’s Day, with only the more expensive National Rail services in London and the South East having to be paid for.

In addition to infuriating hard-pressed party goers, the Mayor has set himself on a collision course with the Government after demanding Whitehall pay for a £400 million shortfall in tube upgrade work – this despite the Department for Transport no longer having responsibilty for tube maintenance under the terms of the public private partnership.

And earlier this week he was forced to concede that the new non-circular Circle Line had resulted in fewer trains and increased delays. Transport for London had claimed that the new line “would improve train frequency”, but the opposite is the case – there are now only six trains an hour rather than seven.

10 Responses to “Boris Scrooge scraps free New Year’s Eve train travel”

  1. Molly Kearney

    RT @leftfootfwd Boris Scrooge scraps free New Year’s Eve train travel: http://is.gd/5rnm0

  2. Swagata

    Yes Boris is a joker but far from making Boris look like Scrooge, you’re the one who could be seen as mean. If this post is about “administrative incompetence”, let’s visit the Treasury and Downing Street instead of City Hall. Society won’t really suffer much because a few Londoners have to buy a rail ticket one evening; but surely PFI is something all progressives should be wary of?

    Fact: The PFI cock-up in London is the result of Gordon Brown imposing a Treasury solution onto TFL, something Ken Livingstone tried to block. Metronet collapsed, costing the taxpayer £410m: an epic PFI fail. Now Tubelines is heading for the buffers.

    Fact: It’s not progressive to support rip-off PFI deals.

    Fact: The Circle Line changes were planned long ago, under Ken’s reign as well, as part of his “LU Investment Programme”.

  3. Shamik Das

    It wasn’t Ken or his regime who said, last week, that frequency on the new Circle Line would be increased and delays would decrease – leaving aside the bit about delays, the reduction in frequency is a scandal.

  4. Swagata

    That doesn’t sound good, but I have a press release from TFL during Ken’s time promising exactly the same thing. The Circle Line change is not really Tory vs. Labour stuff, it’s operational.

    Is the reduction in frequency a scandal? Perhaps if that’s bad, I think the tragic PFI deals are a far greater public policy failure. Metronet’s collapse cost taxpayers £410m alone, using the back of an envelope that sum of money could provide free transport for all Londoners for a whole week, not just an evening. Tube Lines could present Londoners with another giant bill, another PFI fiasco with direct links to Brown and direct consequences for taxpayers. It’s got anti-progressive New Labour ideology written all over it.

    See http://www.guardian.co.uk/politics/2009/apr/17/london-underground-gordon-brown-tim-otoole for more.

  5. Martin Burns

    RT @leftfootfwd: Boris Scrooge scraps free New Year’s Eve train travel: http://is.gd/5rnm0

  6. Martin Johnston

    RT @leftfootfwd: Boris Scrooge scraps free New Year’s Eve train travel: http://is.gd/5rnm0 why do people like that man????

  7. Nigel Stanley

    RT @leftfootfwd: Boris Scrooge scraps free New Year’s Eve train travel: http://is.gd/5rnm0

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  9. Carla

    What a bastard, stuff the lot of them.

  10. Tory Stories » Blog Archive » Boris Johnson’s fare increases

    […] day after thousands of people pay for the train home from New Years Eve parties across London for the first time since 2003, those relying on public […]

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