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.

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