Agenda item 8 of last Wednesday’s council meeting was left overs from the previous meeting held on 22 April and consisted largely of councillor Stefano Borella (Labour, North End) complaining on behalf of residents about the high cost of travel in the form of a Motion, the kernel of which was…
“This council considers the above mentioned increases excessive during this period of inadequate pay increments and a cost of living crisis.
Stefano ran through the recent history of fare rises and compared it unfavourably with wage increases over the same period and placed much of the blame firmly on Boris Johnson for extraordinarily steep rises in some TFL area fares.
Undoubtedly mayor Johnson’s record on fare increases has not been good.
Unfortunately for the Labour Group the record of the Labour government was rather worse with an annual price rise escalator which the Tory coalition felt obliged to reduce, so Bexley’s Conservatives lost no time in denigrating councillor Borella’s case and putting forward an alternative motion.
“This council resolves to make representations to the present and next Mayor of London and new secretary of State for Transport to stop above inflation increases that impact so adversely on residents, businesses and commuters in the London Borough of Bexley.”
It was proposed by councillor David Leaf (Conservative, Longlands) and referred in its opening paragraph to fare increases over a long period but intent on a bit of political tit for tat highlighted only Labour’s none too good record while in office. Annual rises of between six and seven and a half percent approximately throughout their last four years in office and not much better in preceding years.
Despite David Leaf referring to a long period he chose not go back to the early 1970s when local MP Edward Heath allowed rises four times higher than did the Labour government nor did councillor Leaf give GLC leader Ken Livingstone any credit for introducing the Zonal Fare system without which the current fare structures could not operate. Remember when every Underground station had its own fare chart?
When the vote was taken it was inevitably the Tories’ Motion which was adopted and it may well have been the better of the two. Personally I don’t think Bexley’s protestations, Tory or Labour inspired, will make a scrap of difference any more than protestations over the Splash Park tomorrow night will make a difference.