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View from the House: Mayor of London’s ‘broken promises’ on fare freeze

PUBLISHED: 10:00 28 January 2017

Havering's London Assembly Member Keith Prince.

Havering's London Assembly Member Keith Prince.

Archant

My constituents will no doubt have noticed the cost of their annual travelcards went up earlier this month because, as regular commuters, they fail to qualify for the Mayor of London’s ‘fares freeze’.

Sadiq Khan faced severe criticism when it emerged last year he only planned to freeze pay-as-you-go fares, despite saying during his election campaign that ‘Londoners won’t pay a penny more in 2020 than they do today’.

His response to that criticism was to repeatedly insist he doesn’t have the power to freeze travelcards, the daily cap, or suburban rail fares. He also denied having ever received advice from TfL on the issue.

The mayor was left in a very sticky situation last week though when a document containing that fares advice was uncovered via a Freedom of Information request.

Within it, TfL had provided a full costing for his fares freeze, including the cost of freezing travelcards – £660million over five years.

There is little doubt he would have received this document – it was sent to his two most senior advisors.

Its emergence proved what many of us have suspected for a long time – that the mayor was simply not telling the truth when he claimed he didn’t have the power to freeze all fares.

That will be of little comfort to commuters whose season tickets went up in January, but it is important to note that the mayor was willing to deny this fares advice ever existed.

We have repeatedly seen Sadiq Khan over-promise and under-deliver, having watched him row back on pledges on housing, transport, environment and many others since taking office.

His lack of transparency on this particular subject though will no doubt leave many people questioning the legitimacy of his future promises to London.


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