Yeah. Yeah. We’ll get round (ahem!) to her in just a moment. For now, though:
Boris is likely to be burned, if only in effigy.
It’s those fare increases:
Bus and Tube fares will both rise by above-inflation rates in 2010, London Mayor Boris Johnson has announced.
Bus fares are to go up by 12.7% and Tube fares will rise by 3.9%. Oyster card pay-as-you-go bus journeys are to rise from £1 to £1.20.
Now the tasty bits for which you’ve been kept waiting
A lady after Malcolm’s own heart (in more ways than one if her pseudonym, Aphrodyte Kallipygos — Venus of the Bootiful Bum — is anything to go by) nailed it on, of all places, ConHome:
Wasn’t “it’s all Ken’s fault” the excuse last year? Now, this year, it’s Ken and PPP (which, I seem to recollect, was a bright idea from John Major’s time). Yes, there were “colossal costs” for the disaster that was Metronet (a disaster largely the fault of the companies involved), and for that the general taxpayer coughed £2 billion: yet Boris claims the cost lies on the back of TFL: strange.
Why can we not recognise what is happening here?
Tube fare increases are just (just? just!) under 4%: bus fares are up by nearly 13%. That is despite the “colossal costs” of Metronet (see above) being a charge against London Underground, not against the bus services. It is also a form of regressive stealth taxation: the outer London commuter (remind me: which way do the outer Boroughs vote?) gets off a heck of a lot lighter than the commuter from inner Boroughs (likely to be poorer, in less well-paid employment, and — of course — less likely to vote Tory and Boris).
When Boris claims those massive savings, he also ignores the additional costs he has himself committed. For one small example, shall we consider the de-bendyfied 507 buses in that context? We were told one thing wrong with the bendy was lack of seating: the 15 replacements fot the 9 bendies have 126 fewer seats in total, and cost £214,000 p.a. more.
There’s bits there that seem to have been “borrowed” from past postings on Boris Watch, but why let that get in the way of some noble sentiments? From Boris Watch, then, Malcolm feels entitled to note a useful thought by “Tom West”. He observed that, further on in that BBC report, Boris had dissed the fall in national rail fares:
“I am afraid that fares on national rail are being depressed artificially for election purposes. These fares will inevitably go up after the General Election.”
Now, Blasted Boris believes beatifically in the certain Cameron enstoolment. Should we then, naughtily, regard that utterance as a sure and definite assertion that a Tory government would force all fares up?
Meanwhile, the People’s Ken (chiming with the well-upholstered Cytherean above) nailed the bugger:
“Johnson has blamed his second year of inflation busting fare increases on ‘past mistakes’ and the ‘current economic climate’. That is patently untrue.
“They are the result of his own policies.
“His plan to abolish the western extension of the congestion charge to Kensington will cost £50m-70m a year.
“His decision to scrap the £25 charge on the worst polluting gas guzzlers, like Chelsea tractors, has cost another £50m a year.
“He is throwing away millions of pounds a year more with his stupid plan to get rid of bendy buses and turn the clock back with a costly new Routemaster bus.”
Actually, it looks as though Blasted B is procrastinating on the Western Extension. He seems to have found yet another reason to postpone making a decision. Johnson was clear enough in the run-up to the mayoral election:
The western congestion charge zone would be scrapped if London mayoral hopeful Boris Johnson won the election, the Conservative candidate has said.
In an interview with BBC London he said the western extension – introduced in February 2007 – was not working.
On being elected, that promptly became a five-week consultation and less definitive:
The Mayor of London, Boris Johnson, has announced that a five-week public consultation on the future of the Western Extension Congestion Charge zone will begin in early September.
Boris Johnson, the Mayor of London, said: “The previous Mayor made the decision to introduce the western extension in the face of overwhelming opposition. Unlike my predecessor, I am going into this with an open mind and this will be a genuine consultation.”
That “clarification”, in July, allowed Johnson to haver until after the “consultation”, which started in September. As Dave Hill pointed out (on 29th September 2009!), that amounted to the third consultation on the project.By then, even the Daily Mail was becoming disenchanted:
Boris Johnson was today facing a backlash from members of his own party after he admitted plans to scrap the western extension of the congestion charge zone are being shelved for up to a year.
Mr Johnson made the admission yesterday on his Twitter site after his transport director, Kulveer Ranger, said TfL was operating in ‘tough economic times’.
The extension brings in between £55 million and £70 million but last November Mr Johnson announced it would be scrapped after listening to public opinion.
One version today, on the International Business Times web-site, seems to be conclusive:
London Mayor Boris Johnson has said that the congestion charge will be increased and the scheme’s western extension is to be scrapped in an overhall of the congestion charge system.
The changes, which could take place from December 2010 …
Ah, that weaselling “could”!. So, let’s look at the official, Blasted Boris approved, version:
- The Mayor has made clear he is minded to remove the Western Extension of the Congestion Charge zone, following overwhelming public support during a consultation on it in 2008. Earlier this week (Monday 12 October), a three month public and stakeholder consultation began on the Mayor’s revised draft Transport Strategy. This includes a proposal to remove the Western Extension and sets out his reasons supporting the proposal.
- The Mayor will carefully consider all representations received in response to that consultation, and will comply with his legal obligations before making a decision on the removal of the Western Extension. The final version of the Transport Strategy is due to be published in spring 2010.
- another consultation;
- more faffing about;
- a “strategy” document, which will not be binding, in early 2010;
- a “decision” sometime later still — perhaps after the “strategy” has been submitted to further consultation?
Blasted Boris must be studying the Euro-form of the Czech President, another right-wing racist and bigot.
By the way, and by sheer coincidence, those discarded Bendies have reappeared: in Brighton. It seems that the owners of the buses taken off the 507 route in London and the monopoly operator in Brighton are closely related.