Some overseas news. Transport for London is increasing fares for the TUBE by 8% as Transport for London is facing a financial crisis on a far grater scale than our TransLink. What this shows, in part, is that maintaining a large metro network is very expensive, due to many factors including wages, maintenance and renewals to the TUBE and Underground Lines. The £1.7bn or CAD $2.9 billion funding gap is staggering.
Also London’s famed congestion charges are rising, but not all is well with the congestion tax; residents in Manchester voted heavily against a congestion charging (with dire consequences for the politicians who supported it) and congestion is returning to London as it seems now the congestion fees area cost of doing business and being downloaded onto the consumer. What is not being released is the amount of subsidy (a per the congestion charging act) is being paid to merchants and stores negatively affected by the congestion fees, within the congestion tax area.
Could this be a portend of things to come in the region, where the aging SkyTrain (needing a $1 billion refit) is demanding more and more taxpayers money and the METRO area forces congestion charging or road tolls to gather more tax income. Is there danger that major businesses will look to relocate South to Seattle or Portland and the cost of goods and services will rise dramatically as the congestion charges or road tolls will be seen as a cost of doing business and be downloaded onto the consumer.
Just a note: Zweisystem filled up the family chariot in Point Roberts Washington, where the price of gas was CAD $0.81 a litre and lovely 1.66 litre box of Tillicum ice cream was on sale for $2.99 or three for $8.00.
London Tube and bus fares going up
By Peter Woodman, Press Association
Thursday, 15 October 2009
Travellers will have to fork out for above-inflation public transport fare rises in the capital in the New Year.
And the daily cost of the London congestion charge for vehicles is also going up soon, it was announced today.
He also announced that the £8 daily congestion charge fee would rise to £9 for those choosing to pay by a new automated account system and to £10 for those paying by existing methods, with the changes expected to take effect from December 2010.
Mr Johnson said that the decision to put up fares had “not been taken lightly” but a small rise was needed now to prevent huge rises in years to come.
He said the increases were necessary to protect Transport for London’s (TfL) large investment programme and that he had only sanctioned the increases after ensuring that £5bn efficiency savings were being made at TfL.
The rises on the underground and on the buses are in stark contrast to the situation for national mainline rail season ticket holders who will actually find their fares going down in January thanks to the retail price index inflation figure being in minus territory.
Asked about this seeming discrepancy between national and London fares today Mr Johnson said that national rail fares were being “depressed artificially for election purposes” and would inevitably rise after the General Election.
TfL is facing a £1.7bn funding gap which the rises in fares and the increase in the congestion charge will go some way towards closing over the next three years.
Mr Johnson said today: “Nobody wants to make an announcement like this, especially when Londoners are feeling the effects of the recession. It is not a decision that I have taken lightly.
“The mistakes of the past and the current economic climate have conspired to present us with a huge challenge. The crucial thing is that we safeguard the investment in our city’s future and that’s why I’m asking Londoners to accept this difficult decision.”