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London travel fares to increase

15 October 09 13:05 GMT

Bus and Tube fares will both rise by above-inflation rates in 2010, London Mayor Boris Johnson has announced.

Bus fares are to go up by 12.7% and Tube fares will rise by 3.9%. Oyster card pay-as-you-go bus journeys are to rise from £1 to £1.20.

The Congestion Charge is rising to £10, while Mr Johnson said a £9 charge for those using a new account system would be operational next year.

The London Labour group said it was a "kick in the teeth" for passengers.

The mayor said the price of a seven-day bus pass will also jump from £13.80 to £16.60 but London Travelcard prices will be frozen in the vast majority of cases.

Last year Mr Johnson raised prices by 6%, blaming the former administration for creating an £80m financial hole.

Mr Johnson said on Thursday: "Nobody wants to make an announcement like this, especially when Londoners are feeling the effects of the recession."

He added: "The mistakes of the past and the current economic climate have conspired to present us with a huge challenge."

But former mayor Ken Livingstone said: "Johnson has blamed his second year of inflation busting fare increases on 'past mistakes' and the 'current economic climate'. That is patently untrue.

"They are the result of his own policies.

"His plan to abolish the western extension of the congestion charge to Kensington will cost £50m-70m a year.

"His decision to scrap the £25 charge on the worst polluting gas guzzlers, like Chelsea tractors, has cost another £50m a year.

"He is throwing away millions of pounds a year more with his stupid plan to get rid of bendy buses and turn the clock back with a costly new Routemaster bus."

Mr Johnson said he had only been persuaded of the need for fare rises after ensuring every efficiency possible - at least £5bn in total - was being made at Transport for London (TfL).

TfL's business plan, to be considered by the board next week, includes the deferral by three years of all remaining station renewals which were to have been completed by the failed Tube maintenance company Metronet.

Work to upgrade one of the Tube's busiest stations - Victoria - will not now be completed until 2018 and there will be some limited bus service reductions and minor reductions in service on some parts of the Tube.

TfL said that Mr Johnson was still "minded" to scrap the western extension to the congestion charge zone and that he would be making a final decision next spring.

Mr Johnson was asked about the comparison with the Tube rises and the national main line rail fares which, under an inflation-linked formula, will actually go down in January.

He said: "I am afraid that fares on national rail are being depressed artificially for election purposes. These fares will inevitably go up after the General Election."

The budget deficit has also been hit by a fall in passenger numbers on London Underground due to the recession.

Passenger numbers on the Tube fell by 6.4% in August. The 190,000 fewer journeys was the biggest monthly fall in 20 years.

Labour's deputy leader on the London Assembly, John Biggs, said: "This is a massive kick in the teeth for hard-pressed Londoners at a time when many are struggling with the recession."

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