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Politicians in Islington and Hackney call for New Year fare hike to be scrapped

PUBLISHED: 10:19 19 August 2013 | UPDATED: 10:20 19 August 2013

Jenette Arnold, Labour London Assebly member, North East London

Jenette Arnold, Labour London Assebly member, North East London

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Transport chiefs have been slammed over “shock” figures showing prices for some of the most popular underground journeys have soared as much as 43 per cent.

Islington and Hackney rail users have been hit particularly hard with the steepest increases being seen in zones 1 and 2. Both of the borough’s politicians are now calling for New Year fare hikes to be scrapped.

The figures, uncovered by Islington and Hackney Greater London Assembly member, Jennette Arnold, show the price of a zones 1 to 2 Off-peak day travelcard has soared 43.4 per cent since 2008 – when Boris Johnson took over as Mayor.

Meanwhile, a Peak zones 1 to 2 travelcard has surged 34.7 per cent when the annual fare rise formula – the Retail Price Index plus 1 per cent – is implemented in January.

Islington South and Finsbury MP Emily Thornberry said: “London transport has always run on the basis of being paid for by fares and subsidies.

“London is the power house of the country, and given how difficult it is for people to make work pay, I think it’s wrong the fares are allowed to go up this much and not be subsidised more, rather than be paid with fares.

“The work aspect is the most important because travel fares are a huge factor in this and I have not met people who don’t want to work, it’s a case of getting the economy of it right and being able to afford fares so people can make work pay.

“This is the bread and butter of real life which really affects people.”

The figures also show zones 1 to 4 travel card prices have risen 41.2 per cent while zones 1 to 6 fares have shot up 32.4 per cent since 2008.

Ms Thornberry added: “A lot of people find themselves travelling across London in pursuit of a job or for a job over many zones and I think fares rising this much is wrong.”

Ms Arnold called for Mr Johnson to abandon the Retail Price Index plus 1 per cent formula, adding: “The Mayor must ease financial pressure and freeze Transport for London (TfL) fares at inflation this year.

“Boris needs to listen and not make life harder for Londoners who are struggling with the ever increasing cost of living.

“Residents living in London have already seen increases in TfL fares since Boris became Mayor in 2008.

“Figures obtained this week from the House of Commons library show average hourly wages have fallen 5.5 per cent since mid-2010.

“Wages are flat-lining and these inflation-busting fare rises amount to a tax on work.”

The Mayor is due to decide at what level fares should be from January later this year, but is currently committed to an RPI plus 1 per cent increase.

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