If you haven’t heard, the London mayoral election is just around the corner (5th May). It’s a moderate Clash of the Titans as Conservative MP Zac Goldsmith faces off against Tooting representative, Sadiq Khan. Who will take the (proverbial) throne that Boris was been warming since 2008?
With the debates (moderately) raging, it’s worth remembering that Sadiq Khan has came under fire earlier this year as his plans to freeze the increase of travel fare in London might crumble under the weight of some re-calculated mathematics.
As the BBC report, TFL says that Labour’s costing of its fares freeze was underestimated dramatically since it doesn’t take into account the impact of the oncoming surge of passengers following the opening of the Crossrail.
Sadiq Khan says that keeping fares increases at 0% will cost roughly £450 million over four years. The TFL ran the same numbers, with the Crossrail factor, and landed on £1.9 billion.
Like a GCSE student, Labour have come out to say that they didn’t account for this…
So why can’t fare increases drop to 0%? What’s the problem? Well, TFL has an annual turnover of £11.5bn, £2.8bn of which will be lost in government revenue by 2020. In order to combat this, TFL are trying to raise £3.4bn by that date through being more commercial. As a mayor who wants to reduce increasing fares, you have very little wiggle room.
But Khan has a plan. He’s not just freezing increases willy-nilly, there’s got to be some solutions on the other side. Namely, merging engineering function between underground and overground, clamping down on no-good fare evasions and putting the 600 acres of pan that TFL end to good use.
Sadiq Khan seems super confident that his plan will work. But only time will tell – good luck Sadiq, and godspeed.