Friday, 1 January 2010

Happy New Year to you too, Boris

On Monday, millions of commuters will return to work in the capital to find that their public transport fares - already the most expensive in the world - have been hit with yet another price rise. Mayor Boris Johnson has increased fares by 6-11% last year, and has committed to further above-inflation price increases this year. Most significantly, bus fares are to rise by 12.7% from the 4th of January - a move that will disproportionately and unashamedly penalise London's poorest.

Don't believe me? The average bus-riding commuter will be paying about 70p extra per day. Presuming you don't leave the house at weekends, that's an extra £3.50 per week. That's an extra £182 per year. For someone on a city worker's salary that won't make a blind bit of difference, but for someone earning barely enough to feed themselves, it will make all the difference. But then, city workers don't often take the bus.

Sunny at Liberal Conspiracy has the story
, pointing out that Boris is once again extorting money from his poorest and neediest constituents, whilst continuing to oppose tax increases for the capital's wealthier residents. "Theoretically, increasing fares should decrease income for London Transport as people are put off from travelling, and yet fares keep rising despite the recession...but when taxes are raised on the rich, [Boris argues] against them on the basis they will not raise any extra income. In other words, if a policy hits London’s poor: implement it. If it hits the richest, argue against it."

And a very merry and prosperous 2010 to you too, Boris - I'm sure you're looking forward to one. For the rest of us, this is what happens when we allow ourselves to get dazzled by cartoon politics: we elect dangerous smiling bastards who don't give a damn about poverty and inequality and who are quite willing to make life exponentially harder for the low-paid majority at the expense of a privileged few.

Like Boris, I live in the greatest city on earth. Unlike Boris, I believe that making it harder for the poor to live and thrive in London diminishes my city's greatness. And that's the key difference between the Tories and everyone else: at the core of Conservative ideology is the conviction that the few and the privileged are the only people whose lives and contributions really matter.

16 comments:

  1. "we elect dangerous smiling bastards who don't give a damn about poverty and inequality and who are quite willing to make life exponentially harder for the low-paid majority at the expense of a privileged few."

    Sums up all politicians to me. There is no "key difference" between the tories or anybody else. They may well be more evil, but they are all on the same narrow continium.

    And London is not the "greatest city on earth". I was born there and on and off lived there for many years, but it is just a city - one of many.

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  2. Oh! Come on! London isn't greater than Rome!

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  3. In most respects Tories and Labour are much alike, but it's important to avoid a cynical rejection of politics - this just leaves the field open to the existing political elite, or worse (e.g. BNP). This new rise in fares is precisely the kind of thing that people should campaign around - for both economic and ecological reasons (reducing public transport costs is crucial if carbon emissions are to be brought down).

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  4. Could the increase in ticket prices on the tube be due to the above inflation pay rise recently agreed?

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  5. Now, that's what you should be doing, Penny, more exposes of how politicians suck up to rich people and make life suck for the less well off. And a little less moaning about cupcakes. Happy New Year.

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  6. I live in Bognor Regis. It might not be a city but I think it's better than London. As is Cromer in Norfolk. It's got better ice cream.

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  7. @ Anon, the pay rise is 1.5% according to your link, but the increase in fares is more than that according to Penny. Could other factors possibly be at work???

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  8. @ Vanilla Rose:

    Increase in costs could be one-the price of fuel (Petrol and diesel) reached record highs in December-the site also claims that we (The UK) have the second highest cost of diesel in the EU. As budgets have to be set in advance it could also be a hedge against this.

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  9. "city workers don't often take the bus" demonstrates that you don't know many city workers.

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  10. Could the tube fares be in any way related to the £3.4bn black hole Ken livingstone left in the transport budget, or the £1bn hole caused by the collapse of metronet (a G. Brown invention)?

    Clearly not........perish the though.

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  11. Surely the big picture is that nobody benefits from huge traffic jams? There are numerous reasons to encourage an affordable, safe, reliable public transport system.

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  12. Penny, I don't understand your maths. AIUI, a single Oyster bus far will rise from £1 to £1.20, which is a 20% rise. A commuter buying two single tickets would pay 40p extra a day. A commuter buying four single tickets would fall into the price cap, which rises from £3.30 to £3.90 (an 18% rise), which would be an extra 60p a day. As far as I can tell, it's not possible to buy any combination of bus tickets which gives a 70p rise.

    In any case, a bus commuter probably wouldn't buy single tickets: they'd get a bus pass. The cost of a seven-day bus pass rises from £13.80 to £16.60, a rise of 20%, which would cost our hypothetical commuter an extra £2.80 a week (and allow them to travel at weekends!). Of course it would be cheaper to get an annual bus pass (for £664, which works out as £12.77 a week), but we can suppose that our hypothetical commuter is too poor to afford £664 in one go.

    So I think the extra cost per week must be either £2 or £2.80, which is £104 or £145.60 a year.

    Getting back to the broader point, I'm not sure that Ken would have done anything different.

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    ReplyDelete
  15. Penny, I don't understand your maths. AIUI, a single Oyster bus far will rise from £1 to £1.20, which is a 20% rise. A commuter buying two single tickets would pay 40p extra a day. A commuter buying four single tickets would fall into the price cap, which rises from £3.30 to £3.90 (an 18% rise), which would be an extra 60p a day. As far as I can tell, it's not possible to buy any combination of bus tickets which gives a 70p rise.vaillant kombi servisi

    ReplyDelete

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