Home Counties councils and politicians have slammed proposals by Sadiq Khan to scrap day travelcards in London, with some suggesting it could be worse than the Ulez expansion for residents.
Councils including Surrey and Kent County Councils have voiced their opposition to the plans, which if taken forward could be brought in before the end of the year.
Last month, Transport for London (TfL) announced that it was considering scrapping day travelcards, along with group day travelcards and child day travelcards.
The move would also see the end of commuters from outside the capital being able to add on travelcards to rail tickets into the city, heaping on additional costs.
Instead, travellers would have to pay separately for their rail tickets into London and for pay-as-you-go travel in the city.
For example, a single peak ticket from Farnham in Surrey to London including a travelcard for zones 1-6 currently costs £25.30.
However, under the proposed changes, travellers would have to pay up to £14.90 a day for pay-as-you-go travel in London on top of their ticket into the city, meaning some could be paying an extra £9.30 per day.
The move has been met with a wave of opposition, with councils calling for Mr Khan to rethink the plan.
The Telegraph has seen letters from both Surrey and Kent Council’s to TfL deploring the move.
Matt Furniss, cabinet member for transport at Surrey County Council, said he had deep concerns over the proposals, adding that it would have negative financial impact on Surrey residents, while worsening transport integration.
Buckinghamshire Council has also said publicly that it is “deeply unhappy” about the proposals, calling any scrap “deeply short-sighted”.
All three councils criticised TfL’s consultation process, saying the body had failed to directly contact them about the changes, despite most of their constituents being affected.
David Brazier, Kent’s transport lead, said the council only became aware when a neighbouring council alerted them.
TfL unveiled the plans earlier this year as part of an attempt to plug a £740m funding black hole at the organisation.
It comes after the mayor took the decision to end free morning peak travel for pensioners to save £40m per year.
The councils have been joined by politicians, who have said it goes against Mr Khan’s election pledge to keep fares low.
Ben Spencer, the Tory MP for Runnymede and Weybridge, claimed the decision could have a bigger impact on constituents than the Ulez expansion.
“I would argue the travelcard issue is potentially even worse for my constituents, because we’ve got so many people who go into London, on the train, whether that is daily, or a couple of times a week to go into work,” he said.
The MP, who has launched a petition to stop the plans, suggested that the policies went against the mayor’s aims of improving the environment.
“It’s ironic, he positions himself as some sort of climate change tsar, and yet he seems to me to be doing things which are counter-productive,” he said.
The Telegraph has also seen a letter from Bim Afolami, Conservative MP for MP for Hitchin and Harpenden, warning Mr Khan against the plans.
This is the second time those living outside of London have looked to intervene. Earlier this year, a number of Home Counties councils rebelled against the expansion of Ulez by announcing they would block any signage within their areas.
Motorists that live in the Home Counties but work in London would still be required to pay the £12.50 Ulez charges if their vehicle does not meet emissions standards. However, unlike some drivers that live in London, those outside do not have access to scrappage schemes.
‘The mayor is setting out to discourage people from coming to London’
Neil Middleton, director of the rail passengers campaign group Railfuture, said: “The scrapping of the day card would turn a nice simple product that everyone understands and offers great value, into something endlessly complicated and uncertain that most people don’t, most people don’t understand.
“The big point is the mayor is setting out to discourage people from coming to London, which is a bad outcome.”
A TfL spokesperson said: “Due to requirements of the Government’s funding settlements, we are having to consider proposals to withdraw from elements of the Travelcard Agreement, such as TfL’s acceptance of day travelcards. The existing daily pay as you go caps on contactless or oyster, which are used by the overwhelming majority of those travelling, would not be affected by these proposals.
“We are now in the process of reviewing the feedback from key stakeholders to help inform our equality impact assessment, which will form part of the mayor’s consideration of this proposal.
“The decision on whether to withdraw day travelcards is a mayoral decision. No decision has yet been made and there is not a set date for the final decision.”