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

City Hall