Public transport fares in London on services provided by Transport for London look set to rise by 4.8 per cent after inflation figures were revealed today.
Fare changes in January are based on inflation in August the preceding year. The latest increase is part of the agreement between central Government and TfL.
In a move which appears designed to price people off public transport and encourage traffic congestion, the highest level of inflation is chosen upon which to base fares (Retail Price Index at 3.8 per cent in this case rather than, say, the Consumer Price Index at 2.1 per cent), then an additional 1 per cent above inflation is added to reach the total.
The total of RPI+1 per cent is also applied to rail fares not controlled by TfL.
However Southeastern passengers long saw fares of RPI+3 per cent, with Labour’s 2006 franchise award specifying that increase. That was put down to HS1 and “power supply, stations, depots and infrastructure”, none of which really benefitted Metro services, which is why there has been a shortage of places to store trains for so long while existing stock saw little investment.
It’s why when trans are arriving now from South West Railway, other stock is being sent away due to a lack of space ensuring no net increase in carriages.
Even if passenger numbers do recover quickly, the strategy seems to be to price people off in effect justifying cuts in future – which isn’t the best idea when thousands of homes are being built near many stations and roads are congested.
That RPI+3 per cent annual increase was reduced by the coalition, but not on Oyster pay as you go fares that use the National Rail system, so in effect many routes were still rising 5-10% each year for much of the past decade.
All this continues to increase fares across the board, which does little to encourage people to ditch cars. On the one hand the DfT states it seeks to encourage public transport, then does its best to price people off.