It seemed a gloomy way to start the new year by greeting fellow commuters at Earlsfield station this morning with the words, “your travel fares have gone up”, but the sad fact is, it’s true. I was joining other local activists as part of a national campaign for affordable quality transport.
Over the past five years, travel fares in London have risen by as much as 55 per cent, and are now increasing three times faster than wages. As of this month, a monthly travel card for zones 1-3 now costs £141.40 and a day travel card now comes in at a whopping £11.40. London now boasts the dishonourable title of having the highest commuter fares in the world.
So why these eye-watering, inflation-busting price hikes? Well, to be honest, I’m still trying to figure that one out. Investment is the line that is often trotted out. However, I’ve recently learnt that plans are underway to close ticket offices across London with the loss of nearly 1000 jobs. It seems more of a ‘pay more, get less’ formula at work.
I am relieved at least to see that our MP, Sadiq Khan, is not taking this lying down. He was quoted in the Evening Standard just this evening, complaining that “TFL fares have gone through the roof while service… has got worse.”
My one offer of consolation is that you can join Sadiq and do something about it. Have your say by visiting www.greattorytrainrobbery.co.uk and signing the national petition. Or if you want to campaign on this issue locally, please get in touch with me. With any luck, I will then have a more positive new year’s message in 2015!