Letter for publication : Northern Line
It is bizarre to see that the Conservatives, including Mike Freer MP, (Times 19/10/17) want to increase bus and tube fares dramatically, at a time when inflation in large part caused by uncertainty over Brexit is eating ever more into Londoners’ income and living standards. This is due to the Conservative Government’s mismanagement of the economy and mishandling of Brexit.
The Conservatives are also responsible for starving TfL’s budget through their phased complete withdrawal of all Government financial support for TfL. I don’t recall Barnet’s Conservative MPs voting against this or questioning their Government’s woeful ineptitude towards Brexit, which they also support.
London Mayor Sadiq Khan scrapped the 17% increase proposed by his predecessor Boris Johnson, an increase he was set to impose on top of the 42% increases he had already implemented, way above of inflation. Sadiq Khan’s fares freeze, which the Conservatives oppose, is saving the average London family £200 a year.
Sadiq is investing record amounts into the future of London’s transport infrastructure, including the biggest Tube capacity growth that London has ever seen.
Turning specifically to concerns of Northern Line passengers , the key issue is the frequency and comfort of the service, which has improved and is set to improve further in under three month’s time in January next year when the new, more frequent, timetable is introduced. This will benefit up to 100,000 passengers a day including an extra 11,000 at peak evening time.
This can be done because TfL engineers have confirmed they are able to increase the frequency of the trains without the need for the expensive purchase of extra ones. All Northern Line trains were refurbished in 2015 and TfL’s new combined engineering division has improved performance and reliability so as to boost frequency and extend peak periods.
It is ridiculous but typical of the Conservatives to suggest spending huge sums on trains when they not immediately needed – and in any event this shows their financial illiteracy, in that fares are revenue income whilst new trains would represent capital expenditure, which they should know is funded completely differently and not out of fares.
Andrew Dismore AM
Labour London Assembly Member for Barnet and Camden