Scrap Phoney Fares Freeze and fund Police instead

In a dramatic intervention ahead of the Mayor for London’s budget, Lib Dem candidate Rob Blackie has pledged to scrap Sadiq Khan’s “phoney” fare freeze for tourists and give the allocated money to the Metropolitan Police instead.

The headline-grabbing fare freeze announced by the Mayor last month was previously criticised by Blackie as being an “election gimmick” due to its short shelf life and limited applicability.

The £123m pledge is due to run until just March 2025 and only applies to pay-as-you-go fares. Tourists are likely to be the only major beneficiaries. Meanwhile, the cost of Travelcards and the Daily and Weekly “Cap” are all set to rise by as much as 5.1 per cent.

That means the millions of Londoners who regularly make more than one pay-as-you-go journey in a day are likely not to feel the benefit of the limited fare freeze.

Lib Dem Rob Blackie has also called for the off-peak Friday trial to be scrapped but committed to maintaining the fare freeze for bus travel, leaving an estimated £117m unallocated in the budget.

Rob Blackie has said that this money, drawn from Business Rates and reserves, should instead go to the Metropolitan Police. The extra cash could be spent on the Met’s Turnaround Plan and almost 500 more police on the streets for the next four years.

Lib Dem Candidate for Mayor of London, Rob Blackie, said:

“The Mayor is not serious about London’s priorities. His phoney fare freeze is an election gimmick which will benefit tourists more than Londoners.

“While the headline sounds good, many Londoners won’t feel the benefit and will be shocked to find out after the election that their travel costs continue to rise despite Khan’s election promise. For millions, this will do nothing to address the cost of living.

“What Londoners do feel the effect of is the lack of police on our streets and the chaos surrounding the culture in the Metropolitan Police. That’s why I’ve pledged to reallocate that money to where it’s needed most.

“With this money, we can get almost 500 more police on the streets for the next four years and make up the shortfall in the Met Police’s Turnaround Plan.

“After eight years of Sadiq Khan’s mayoralty by press release, it’s clear that Khan can’t deliver for London. The Liberal Democrats are determined to hold him to account for his poor record and I’m determined to offer Londoners a serious, liberal challenger in this contest.”

Commenting on his pledge to maintain the fare freeze for bus travel, Rob Blackie added:

“We know that people that travel by bus tend to live in lower-income areas with less availability of public transport. Keeping fares low for these passengers is really important.

“Bus passengers also tend to make journeys well below the threshold of a daily cap, so the reality is that this specific measure can still make a real difference.”