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TFL: Sadiq Khan hits Londoners with biggest tube and bus fare hike in a decade

·Finance Reporter, Yahoo Finance UK
·3-min read
London Tube Passengers travel on a Northern Line tube train at the newly opened Battersea Power Station underground station in Battersea, London, Britain, September 20, 2021. REUTERS/Hannah McKay
Most London Tube fares will rise by 10 or 20p from 1 March, TfL said on Monday. Photo: Hannah McKay/Reuters

London’s Tube and bus prices will go up around 5% on 1 March in yet another blow to families already feeling the cost of living squeeze.

The average 4.8% hike is the biggest annual increase in Transport for London fares in a decade, with single Tube fares using Oyster or contactless tickets increasing by 10p in zone 1 and between 10p and 30p across the rest of the underground’s network.

The Zone 1 ticket prices had not changed since 2016.

The daily cap — the maximum amount those using buses pay in one day when using London buses — will also increase by 30p to £4.95.

The tap-on fares, which allow unlimited journeys on London buses and trams within an hour, will increase by 10p to £1.65 — a rise of almost 6.5%.

The tap-on cap — the maximum amount a person will pay in a day in Hopper fares — will also increase by 30p to to £4.95 to match the fare hike.

Read more: UK petrol prices surge to fresh record high

The increase on the Tube is the biggest since 2010, when fares rose by 10%. On London's buses it is the largest rise since 2009, when a single fare increased from £1 to £1.20.

London’s mayor said he has been forced into introducing the price rise by the government "refusing to properly fund TfL".

“Public transport should be affordable to all, and I’ve taken bold action to ensure this since I became mayor by introducing the unlimited Hopper bus fare and freezing all TfL fares from 2016-2021 — saving the average London household over £200," Sadiq Khan said.

“Since TfL’s finances were decimated by the pandemic, the government has set strict conditions as part of the emergency funding deals to keep essential transport services running in London. We have been forced into this position by the government and the way it continues to refuse to properly fund TfL, but I have done everything in my power to keep fares as affordable as possible.”

TfL has relied on around £5bn in taxpayer cash to keep the transport authority afloat.

Read more: UK cost of living crisis to last two years, says Bank of England’s Bailey

City Hall said the increase would help TfL reach "financial sustainability" by April 2023.

The fare rises sparked criticism from commuter groups, with low income families expected to be hit hardest.

London TravelWatch CEO, Emma Gibson, said: “Londoners affected by the current cost of living crisis will be disappointed to hear that bus fares are going up by almost 6.5% in March, even more than the average 4.8% rise across TfL services.

"Many key workers and those on low incomes rely solely on the bus, as they can't afford the Tube or train, and they will be hit hardest by this rise, which comes despite London TravelWatch repeatedly asking for bus fares to be kept low.”

This is the second time that TfL set fares have increased under Sadiq Khan, after he froze fares between 2016 and 2021.

Spiralling costs and tax hikes will hit every household — the energy price cap will rise by £693 to £1,971 per year amid soaring oil and gas prices, national insurance is set to increase by 1.25 percentage points and petrol prices are up by more than a quarter in a year.

Record high inflation also means families are spending more on food, clothing, and footwear.

Watch: How does inflation affect interest rates?

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