London hit with biggest transport and council tax rises in a decade

London hit with biggest transport and council tax rises in a decade

A double whammy of record transport and council tax rises was confirmed on Wednesday by Sadiq Khan.

Tube and bus fares will increase by an average of 5.9 per cent – the biggest hike for more than a decade – while the mayor’s share of council tax bills will jump by 9.7 per cent, the biggest rise for 20 years.

For the second successive year, bus fares will rise 10p – taking them to £1.75 from March 5.

The daily and weekly cap on pay-as-you-go Tube fares will increase by up to 6.7 per cent, depending on how many zones are travelled.

A ban introduced at the start of the pandemic on Londoners over 60 travelling for free before 9am is being made permanent from Wednesday - a move that will anger many thousands of pensioners but which will generate £40m a year in extra fares.

Age UK London called the decision a “devastating blow”.

Mr Khan says he has been forced by the Government to mirror the 5.9 per cent rise in national rail fares and to increase his share of council tax by the maximum allowed, primarily to generate extra funds for the Met police and London Fire Brigade.

On Wednesday he announced that the extra Met funds would allow 500 additional police community support officers (PCSOs) to be recruited.

Key elements of his proposed fares package include:

· A zone 1 peak-hours Tube fare will increase by 30p to £2.80, a 12 per cent jump.

· Off peak, the Zone 1 Tube fare increases by 20p to £2.70.

· Most single Tube fares only rise by 10p.

· The daily cap on the cost of multiple bus trips will increase by 30p to £5.25.

· A seven-day bus and tram pass will increase by £1.40 to £24.70.

· The Hopper ticket, which allows multiple bus journeys within an hour for the cost of a single fare, will be retained.

· The daily cap on Tube or rail travel within zones 1-4 will increase by 70p to £11.70

· A weekly zones 1-6 Travelcard will increase by £4 to £74.50.

The headline increases announced today were as indicated over the last fortnight by Mr Khan, when he expressed frustration that, under the funding rules, London would lose out in the long term if he failed to follow Government expectations.

He said “insufficient” Government funding for frontline services required him to hike council tax bills to plug the gap.

But Michael Roberts, chief executive of pasenger group London TravelWatch, said: “Many Londoners are already feeling the pinch with cost-of-living pressures so this fares rise of 5.9 per cent across TfL services will be challenging for many people.

“More people use the bus every day in the capital than any other type of transport. Buses are used most by lower income Londoners, so we are particularly disappointed that these fares were not capped.”

Mr Khan’s share of benchmark Band D bills will increase by £38.55, taking the amount a typical London household pays annually to the Greater London Authority to £434.14 from April.

This is Mr Khan’s biggest hike in the GLA “precept” since he became mayor in 2016 and the biggest overall since Ken Livingstone increased his share of bills by more than £50 in 2003.

The fares rise is the biggest for more than a decade. The previous biggest rise was a 5.6 per cent increase imposed by Boris Johnson in 2012.

The increase in the number of PCSOs was unexpected. Their number has declined from 2,500 a decade ago to fewer than 1,200 by the end of last year.

But the Met has struggled to recruit enough police officers to keep pace with the number quitting or retiring, and PCSOs earn less – about £28,000 – and require just six weeks of initial training.

City Hall said the aim was for PCSOs to provide a “visible police presence” in high-crime areas, help to restore community relations and rebuild trust in the Met after a series of scandals.

Met assistant commissioner Louisa Rolfe said: “Achieving the strongest ever neighbourhoods policing for London is our priority and we are grateful to the mayor for his investment.”

City Hall said almost half of London households were in Bands A to C, meaning they would incur a lower council tax rise in cash terms.

But many households will face a total bill of £2,000 or more once their borough’s share is added – though people living in Westminster, which already sets the capital’s lowest council tax, have been told the council’s share of the total bill will be frozen.

Mr Khan said: “The last thing I want to do is increase council tax at a time when many household budgets are stretched, but the Government’s refusal to provide the funding our city needs means I’ve been left with no viable alternative but to help plug the gap by raising council tax.

“This will ensure we can protect and further improve our vital frontline public services, including the police, transport and the London Fire Brigade.”

He said single fares in central London had been deliberately increased by more than those outside zone 1 to keep costs “as low as possible” for Londoners travelling from the suburbs into work, and because journeys solely within zone 1 were “more likely to be made for tourism or leisure”.

He also recognised that car use in the suburbs is higher and wanted to avoid discouraging greater use of public transport.

He has abandoned plans to increase the qualifying age for the 60+ Oyster, meaning that the benefit will continue to start at age 60 – though with no free travel until after 9am.

Peter Fortune, deputy leader of the GLA Conservatives, said: “London is now facing a major cost of Khan crisis. Sadiq Khan’s council tax will have risen 57 per cent since he was elected, as he hits Londoners with another big increase in fares.”

Proposed Bus and Tram Fares

Current

March 2023

Increase

PAYG - Single

£1.65

£1.75

6.1%

PAYG - Daily cap

£4.95

£5.25

6.1%

7 day Bus and Tram Pass

£23.30

£24.70

6.0%

Zonal-Proposed Daily and Weekly Caps

Current

2023

Increase

Zones

Daily

Weekly

Daily

Weekly

Daily

Weekly

12

£7.70

£38.50

£8.10

£40.50

5.2%

5.2%

123

£9.00

£45.00

£9.60

£48.00

6.7%

6.7%

1234

£11.00

£55.00

£11.70

£58.50

6.4%

6.4%

12345

£13.10

£65.50

£13.90

£69.50

6.1%

6.1%

123456

£14.10

£70.50

£14.90

£74.50

5.7%

5.7%

Proposed Adult PAYG Peak TfL fares

Zones

Current

March 2023

Change

%

1

£2.50

£2.80

£0.30

12%

12

£3.20

£3.40

£0.20

6.25%

123

£3.60

£3.70

£0.10

2.8%

1234

£4.30

£4.40

£0.10

2.3%

12345

£5.00

£5.10

£0.10

2%

123456

£5.50

£5.60

£0.10

1.8%

2, 3, 4, 5, 6

£1.80

£1.90

£0.10

5.6%

23, 34, 45, 56

£2.00

£2.10

£0.10

5%

234, 345, 456

£2.70

£2.80

£0.10

3.7%

2345, 3456

£2.90

£3.00

£0.10

3.5%

23456

£3.30

£3.40

£0.10

3%

Proposed Adult PAYG Off-Peak TfL Fares

Zones

Current

March 2023

Change

%

1

£2.50

£2.70

£0.20

8%

12

£2.60

£2.80

£0.20

7.7%

123

£2.90

£3.00

£0.10

3.5%

1234

£3.10

£3.20

£0.10

3.2%

12345

£3.40

£3.50

£0.10

2.9%

123456

£3.50

£3.60

£0.10

2.9%

2,3,4,5,6

£1.60

£1.80

£0.20

12.5%

23,34,45,56

£1.70

£1.90

£0.20

11.8%

234,345,456

£1.80

£1.90

£0.10

5.6%

2345,3456

£1.90

£2.00

£0.10

5.3%

23456

£1.90

£2.10

£0.20

10.5%