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TfL commissioner warns of “point of no return” in tariff increases UK News

The TfL chief said the tariff hikes in January were not a “predetermined outcome” despite being a condition of the government’s funding deal.

As part of the deal reached in June, TfL is required to increase tariffs in the new year in line with main rail tariffs at a rate of RPI (Retail Price Index) plus one percent.

Tariff increases of nearly five percent were expected in London after the 3.8 percent RPI was announced.

But speaking at town hall on Thursday, TfL commissioner Andy Byford said a tariff increase “has yet to be agreed”.

Mr Byford also warned that the increase in fares could discourage Londoners from using public transport and lead to car pick-up of the pandemic.

He said: “My general philosophy in terms of raising rates is that there is a tipping point beyond which you should not go. If you make public transport unaffordable, people are less likely to use it. They are going to migrate to their cars, which of course is doomed because we want people to use public transport.

“So, [a fare increase] has no shape or form a predetermined outcome. I think there is still a long way to go in these discussions.

Mayor of London Sadiq Khan also spoke at City Hall on Thursday.

He told Assembly members it was “unwise” to provide a “running commentary” on negotiations with the government, although he said he hoped ministers “would show some flexibility ”with regard to tariffs.

TfL tariffs were first raised under Mr Khan in March as part of the previous funding deal with the government.

The 2.6% increase was the first since Mr Khan imposed a rate freeze in 2016.

Passenger groups and think tanks have also warned that significant fare increases could hamper London’s economic recovery after the Covid-19 pandemic.

Reacting to the release of the latest RPI figure last month, Center for London chief executive Nick Bowes said the steep price hikes “are the last thing London needs” as encouraging people to using public transport will be “essential” for the capital’s economic recovery.

Since the release of the July RPI figure, the Transport Ministry has maintained that “no decision has been taken on national rail tariffs.”

A DfT spokesperson said: “The government is considering various options and we will announce our decision in due course. ”

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This notice was published: 2021-09-03 16:17:34

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