Councillor Philippa Roe
Leader, Westminster City Council
I am writing to ask you to support the campaign against an above-inflation TFL fares increase for 2014.
As I am sure you are aware, London has the most expensive commuter fares in the world and the cost of public transport in the city has risen dramatically over the past few years. The cost of single pay-as-you go bus journey has increased by 56% since 2008 and a zone1-6 Travelcard is £440 a year more expensive.
This sharp spike in the cost of transport comes at the worst possible time for hard working Londoners who face a real cost-of-living crisis. House prices in London rose by 8.1% last year, rents by 7.9%, energy bills are £300 a year more expensive than in 2010 and water bills are set to rise by another 8% over the next two years. At the same time real wages are falling. Wages rose by just 0.8% in the first quarter of this year – the lowest level since records began. I don’t need to tell you how difficult this is making life for hard working Westminster residents.
Setting the cost of TFL fares is the biggest lever the Mayor of London has over the cost-of-living in London. For most commuters travel is an unavoidable cost, so any increase simply squeezes individual and family budgets elsewhere.
We are asking the Mayor of London to commit to freezing fares at RPI for 2014. He can afford to do so. TFL has reported unbudgeted operational surpluses for the previous 3 years and is showing evidence of regularly under-anticipating fares income and over estimation of other expenditures. TFL thought they would have a surplus in 2012/13 of £248m. They will actually have a surplus of £478 million, wrong by almost double. Rather than accumulate these surpluses as General Balances or paying off debts earlier than planned as the Mayor has done to date, we are asking him to direct a small fraction of these resources to freezing fares at RPI for 2014.
I hope you will join the Labour Group in this campaign. Westminster residents desperately need action to help make their lives a little easier during these very difficult times. We need all the support we can get to encourage the Mayor to act. I look forward to hearing from you.
Councillor Paul Dimoldenberg
Leader of the Labour Group