Transport For London is currently running a consultation on the abolition of cash payments on buses. They say this will save £24 million. So what?
The consultation has now been running for some time; it closes on October 11. Transport For London has an entire website dedicated to this sort of thing. Many of these concern changes to bus routes and the like, and it remains to be seen if the organisation takes or will take any notice whatsoever of any member of the public when such proposals or representations concern anything meaningful.
It remains to be seen too how the figure of £24 million this will save annually was arrived at, but what does not remain to be seen is the scandalous increase in bus, Underground and train fares over the past three decades, and especially since rail travel was ostensibly privatised.
This page shows how the cost of travel in the capital has risen since the Millennium, and we have already been promised more rises for January. The so-called privatisation of the rail network has given travellers but especially commuters the worst of both worlds, not simply in the capital but throughout the UK.
London is better served than the rest of the country, but only if you have deep pockets.
The really bad news is that the motorist needs even deeper pockets, and is now being treated by some London boroughs and provincial towns as a cash cow with scandalous parking charges and heavy fines for creative motoring offences.
The cost of travel affects us all, because virtually all goods and all but local services depend on transport.
It should be a priority for any government to reduce the scandalous cost of all forms of travel, even if it means some form of renationalisation. The rationale behind privatisation is that private companies can provide better services more efficiently and more economically than the public sector. With transport, this is clearly not the case, and as far as rail travel is concerned we do not have a private sector, what we have is a private sector that is subsidised by both taxation and in places local taxation, ie rates.