Page last updated at 13:30 GMT, Thursday, 24 April 2008 14:30 UK

Mayor had 'agreed to fare rises'

Tube train
London Underground tickets were set to rise by 4%

BBC London has learned that mayor Ken Livingstone did have plans to raise transport fares after the election.

Last year, Mr Livingstone denied increases would be necessary to fund any projects such as Crossrail.

But in emails seen by the BBC, the fare rises were included in Transport for London's (TfL) business plan, which had been signed off by the mayor.

Mr Livingstone explained that TfL wanted the price rises but that he reconsidered and revised the plan.

In the emails seen by BBC London Political Editor Tim Donovan, bus fares were to go up by 5% and London Underground tickets by 4%.

Budget gap

In October, Mr Livingstone said: "The funding package for Crossrail does not require a fare increase.

"It is the fares generated by Crossrail that do that."

Mr Donovan said after the mayor's comments, TfL's spending plan had to be changed and that some officials believe without the fare increases there will be a major gap in the transport budget.

Speaking to BBC London, Mr Livingstone said: "They [TfL] submitted a business plan.

"Once I have read it I will determine what our fares strategy will be.

"I have made an absolute commitment that fares will not go up, other than in line with inflation."

Transport policies

A TfL spokesman said: "Under the GLA Act, the Mayor, not TfL, sets the level of fares.

"It is the responsibility of the TfL Board to approve TfL's annual budget and Business Plan.

"We must, by law, set a balanced annual budget, taking into account the mayor's fares policy.

"That is exactly what we have done and will continue to do."

Labour's candidate Mr Livingstone is being challenged by the Tory's Boris Johnson and the Liberal Democrat's Brian Paddick in the London mayoral election which takes place on 1 May.

Mr Johnson's transport polices include doubling police on buses, 50 extra police for suburban stations, phasing out bendy buses, negotiating a no-strike deal with RMT and 2m for safe cycle parking.

Mr Paddick will review Tube management, will introduce "women-friendly" night Tube carriages and launch a free bike hire scheme.

The other seven contenders for London mayor are:

  • Gerard Batten, UK Independence Party

  • Lindsey German, Left List

  • Richard Barnbrook, British National Party

  • Sian Berry, Green Party

  • Alan Craig, Christian People's Alliance

  • Matt O'Connor, English Democrats

  • Winston McKenzie, Independent




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