3 per cent tube fare cuts guaranteed
London Mayoral candidate Stephen Greenhalgh today announced that Tube passengers will save hundreds of pounds a year under his pledge to cut Tube fares and make the Underground affordable.
With more than four million Tube trips every single day, Mr Greenhalgh vowed to cut Tube fares across the board by three per cent every year that he is Mayor, if elected, by overhauling Transport for London’s back-office functions, slashing non-operating costs and introducing cost-effective technologies more quickly.
A poll by YouGov has found that cutting fares is Londoners’ top demand of the next Mayor.
The first Tube cut would take effect from January 2017 and will mean that Londoners will save hundreds of pounds over the course of the four-year term, which starts in 2016.
Setting Mr Greenhalgh’s annual 3% decrease against an assumed annual Tube fare hike of forecast RPI +1%, Londoners would make the following savings four years later (based on increases / decreases on today’s prices):
- £1.15 on a cash Zone 1 single fare – £4.25 against forecast £5.40 (and 55p cheaper than today’s price).
- £29.62 on a monthly Zone 1-2 Travelcard – £109.16 against forecast £138.78 (and £14.14 cheaper than today’s price).
- £362.25 on an annual Zone 1-3 Travelcard – £1,335.02 against forecast £1,697.27 (and £172.98 cheaper than today’s price).
And over the course of four years (with the new fares again compared to assumed annual Tube fare increases at RPI +1%), Londoners would save a total of:
- £770.75 on an annual Zone 1 Travelcard.
- £905.21 on an annual Zone 1-3 Travelcard.
- £1,407.03 on an annual Zone 1-6 Travelcard.
Current London Underground fare prices compare poorly to the cost of travelling on subway systems in other major world cities:
- £2.30 in London (Oyster single fare Zone 1 to 2).
- Approximately £1.80 in New York ($2.75 cash single across the whole network).
- Approximately £1.34 in Paris (E1.80 cash single across the whole network).
- Approximately £0.94 in Tokyo (Y170 cash single).
Mr Greenhalgh said: “Over the last few years the Mayor took tough decisions for the much-needed investment in London’s public transport. This has created extra capacity and improved services.
“However, we must now bring Tube prices down, especially for those who keep the city running – the nurses, teachers and paramedics. Fares have reached the point where they are unaffordable for many working people.
“People struggle to earn in the first hour of their shift what they have just paid to get to work. Continuing with these annual fare hikes will hamper London’s economic growth for years to come unless tackled.
“London needs more transport investment but we can’t keep expecting passengers to shoulder the burden – more should come from businesses and developers who directly benefit when new tube lines are opened.
“Ordinary working Londoners should not have to pay more every year in fares as they strive to take advantage of the jobs and growth London is creating.
“People don’t believe that this can be done – but I have a track record of delivering on my pledges of reducing costs for hard-working Londoners while maintaining high-quality public services. The savings we can make from Transport for London will be ploughed back into keeping fares falling.”
As leader of Hammersmith and Fulham Council, Mr Greenhalgh cut council tax in five years out of six from 2007, bringing it down from one of the highest in the country to the third lowest. He also brought the council’s debt to below £100m for the first time in over 25 years. At the same time, residents’ satisfaction with services rose and Mr Greenhalgh was re-elected in 2010 with a large majority.
And during his time as Deputy Mayor for Policing and Crime, the Metropolitan Police has made savings of £240m, while spending more on front-line policing which has led to a 19% fall in victim-based crime while public confidence in the police has risen.
A three per cent fare cut is equal to around £90m each year, the same as two per cent of overall Transport for London (TfL) revenues. Mr Greenhalgh said the money would be found by identifying a range of savings, including:
- Overhauling TfL existing structure and finding back-office savings.
- Slashing non-operating costs by 25% in three years.
- Reviewing TfL’s balance sheet and all its assets including land holdings.
- Driving efficiency through introducing new technologies more quickly.
Richard Tracey AM, the GLA Conservative transport lead since 2008, said: “An incoming Mayor must deliver and be able to manage the whole Transport for London ’empire’ cost effectively and with new directions. Stephen Greenhalgh has fully demonstrated his innovative powers and skill in making costs savings as Deputy Mayor and as a former London borough leader.”
Cutting Tube fares is one of Mr Greenhalgh’s ’15 Challenges for a Future Mayor’ – the key issues he has promised to address should he be elected in 2016.
Among the other challenges he will tackle are providing affordable housing, protecting neighbourhood policing numbers, and ensuring every London child has a good school place.