Thu, Jan 04, 2007 - Page 6 News List

London public transport fares climb by one-third

THE GUARDIAN , LONDON

The cost of travelling on buses and trains in London rose by 33 percent on Tuesday as the capital's public transport was declared the most expensive in the world.

London Mayor Ken Livingstone raised the cost of cash fares on the London Underground and the expanded bus network. The increases mean a single-stop train journey in the central London zone 1 area now costs ?4 (US$7.85) in cash. A single zone trip on the buses is now ?2 in cash.

Aims

The changes are aimed at raising finance for investment but also at forcing passengers to rely on the Oyster smartcard for their journeys. Those fares have been frozen.

The cash increases form part of a new pricing structure which will hit travelers across the country. As details of the London fare rises emerged, overland rail companies announced price increases of an average of 4.3 percent.

Unregulated fares, such as cheap day returns and long distance open tickets, will increase by an average of 4.7 percent.

Largest rises

The largest average price rises, 7.3 percent, will be charged on the Gatwick Express and Heathrow Express trains, which link London with its two main airports.

Passengers using the Virgin West Coast trains will see fares go up by an average of 6.6 percent, meaning a standard open return ticket from London to Glasgow will now cost ?240.

The smallest average increase, on Merseyrail trains, is still 3.2 percent. The train companies said the increases were needed to pay for improvements.

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