London commuters face 'staggering' New Year fare rises

Image caption,
Some Tube fare rises could be "staggering", say London TravelWatch

Commuters in London will face a "staggeringly large" fare rise in the new year, a transport watchdog said.

London TravelWatch said Tube, bus and tram fares will go up by an average of 6.8% but "behind these headline figures are some incredibly high increases".

Withdrawal of some travelcards will force people to buy the more expensive cards, which may be costlier than pay-as-you-go Oyster smartcards, it warned.

But London Mayor Boris Johnson said the hike was kept to an "absolute minimum".

Check fares 'carefully'

From 2 January a single Tube journey from zone 1 to 2 (central London) on an Oyster card would rise by an average of 10p from the current £1.80.

But the cap - which is the maximum that passengers could be charged in a day - will go up by 80p for peak times from £7.20, while the off-peak price will rise by £1 to £6.60.

Travelcard prices would also rise. For instance the cost of a zone 1 to 4 travelcard will rise from £6.30 to £7.30 - an 11% increase.

Some travelcards - like the zone 2 to 6 card - will disappear meaning people who paid £5.10 for a card will now have to buy a zone 1 to 6 card for £8.

Image caption,
Oyster fares could be cheaper than travelcards

On buses and trams, single cash tickets will rise from £2 to £2.20, on Oyster this will rise by 10p from £1.20. The daily Oyster cap will increase by 10p to £4.

On main line trains, travelcards will rise by an average of 5.8%, which Passenger Focus rail watchdog said could mean above-average rises and in some cases "double-digits".

Jo deBank, from London TravelWatch, said: "The complete withdrawal of the zone 2-6 Travelcard (avoiding central London), as well as the zone 1-3 and zone 1-5 Travelcards will mean a massive increase for some people, and will affect outer London and non-regular travellers particularly.

"Passengers need to check carefully before they buy: Oyster Pay As You Go is much cheaper on tube and buses for single fares, and may well be cheaper than through-tickets or Travelcards."

Mr Johnson said: "I have kept the fares for 2011 at the absolute minimum while still protecting the vital improvements that London's transport network needs.

"Those improvements include upgrades to the Tube, the delivery of Crossrail, and maintenance of London's bus network."

He added that free and concessionary travel had been protected.

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