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NTIA Warns Destructive Transport Policies Threaten London Nightlife, Livelihoods and Tourism

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London’s vibrant community of night workers, commuters, and the tourism industry are facing an uncertain future, grappling with the challenges posed by the recent and pending transport policy decisions. A coalition of concerned businesses, representing a diverse cross-section of the city, has raised its voice against these measures that threaten the heart and soul of London.

At the centre of these contentious policies is the impending abolition of the day travel card in January 2024, accompanied by the introduction of a tariff for using the Blackwall Tunnel and heightened parking fine charges. Additionally, thousands of night workers are confronted with the burden of double payments as there shifts bridge the rigid midnight threshold. These changes coincide with the expansion of the Ultra Low Emission Zone (ULEZ), a move that couldn’t have arrived at a worse time, given the prevailing cost-of-living crisis. Campaigners have decried these actions as nothing short of “outrageous,” as they place the onus of bridging TFL’s funding gap squarely on the shoulders of everyday Londoners.

While the ULEZ expansion ostensibly targets air quality improvement, which in no way should be understated, it’s difficult to overlook that the removal of the day travel card appears to be framed as a revenue-generating initiative by TfL. Especially when data from Transport for London (TfL) suggests up to 20million journeys per year would be affected by the change, which would bring in an extra £40million of revenue per year..

This shift in priorities has garnered widespread criticism, particularly due to the clandestine manner in which these changes were unveiled. Alarmingly, tens of thousands of commuters remain unaware that in less than 100 days, the cost of their daily commute could rival their rent or mortgage expenses.

Michael Kill, CEO of the Night Time Industries Association, expressed his deep concerns, stating, “We are deeply concerned about the recent and ongoing transport policy decisions, which have significant implications for the capital. The proposed removal of the day travel card in January 2024, the expansion of ULEZ aswell as exposure of thousands of night time workers to a midnight threshold double charge under the scheme, has raised concerns amongst both workers, residents, and visitors.”

“These decisions, while ostensibly aimed at promoting eco-friendly measures, which cannot be understated, appear to place an undue burden on ordinary citizens, particularly at a time when many are grappling with a cost-of-living crisis. The impact on thousands of commuters, tourists, and night workers cannot be ignored.”

Kill continued, “Campaigners have rightfully described these moves as ‘obscene’ due to their potential adverse effects on everyday people. Moreover, the secrecy surrounding the removal of the day travel card is alarming, as it leaves many commuters unaware of the impending cost increases.”

The coalition of businesses stands united with those who demand transparency and open dialogue. London’s leadership must reconsider these decisions and actively engage with its constituents to find balanced solutions that prioritise the well-being and economic vitality aswell 

of our great city.

Katie Blake, Campaigner and Esher resident says, ”The removal of the day travelcard will trigger obscene price hikes for commuters like me who need to travel into London for work. Where is the big campaign ensuring commuters are aware of imminent changes that will increase household expenditure? Why wasn’t there a consultation to explore options? Does this Mayor only care about potential voters, and not the vast swathes of people who are facing fresh misery from his measures that are pricing commuters and tourists out of London?

FACTS AND STATS

MAIDENHEAD TO TOTTENHAM COURT ROAD (Elizabeth line)

     

      • Current price: £13.45 ( Off-Peak Travelcard, with Railcard)

      • New price: £21.75 (Anytime Return) or £20.10 (contactless card) 

      • Difference: 62% or 49% respectively

    A traveler embarking on an off-peak round trip from Maidenhead to Tottenham Court Road via the Elizabeth line, while benefiting from a 26-30 Railcard, currently pays £13.45 for an Off-Peak Travel card after applying the Railcard discount.

    However, if this discount were eliminated, the sole remaining paper ticket choice would be an Anytime Return ticket priced at £21.75, which does not include a Railcard discount. This represents an increase of 62 percent in fare.

    Opting for contactless card payment for both legs of the journey, which also does not offer the Railcard discount, would amount to a total cost of £20.10 for the round trip.

    SOUTHEND CENTRAL TO LONDON VICTORIA (c2c and District line)  

       

        • Current price: £19.05 (Off-Peak Travelcard, with Railcard)

        • New price: £23.75 (Off-Peak Day Return + Oyster with Zone 1-6 daily cap)

        • Difference: 25% 

      Passengers traveling from Southend Central to London Victoria during off-peak hours currently have the option of purchasing an Off-Peak Day Travel card for £19.05. This Travel card covers their journey on both the c2c National Rail service and the London Underground.

      However, if this option were discontinued, they would need to follow a different route. First, they would purchase an Off-Peak Day Return ticket to Fenchurch Street for £13.95. From there, they would transition to the Oyster system and continue their journey on the District or Circle line from Tower Hill to Victoria. Under this arrangement, they would encounter a daily cap of £5.30, allowing for unlimited travel within Zone 1. This alternative route would result in a total cost of £19.25.

      For passengers needing to travel further into Zone 6, which the current Off-Peak Day Travel card covers, they would face a daily cap of £9.80. When factoring in the Southend-Fenchurch Street ticket, the total cost would amount to £23.75, representing a 25 percent increase compared to the current price of £19.05.

      Another cost-effective option for travellers planning to explore Zones 1 to 6 throughout the day would be to purchase a return ticket from Southend Central to Upminster, which marks the beginning of Zone 6. At Upminster, passengers would disembark, pass through the ticket barrier using their ticket, and then touch in with an Oyster card to take advantage of the daily cap for Zones 1 to 6. It’s worth noting that this approach would result in a longer journey because performing these actions while the train is in the station might be challenging, and passengers would likely need to wait for the next train.

      ULEZ Midnight Threshold for Night Workers

      The midnight threshold problem for night workers has persisted since the inception of the ULEZ scheme, affecting thousands of individuals, and existing within similar schemes nationwide. TFL & GLA attribute this issue to a system limitation, and despite its impact on night workers, there is currently no readily available short-term solution or workaround.

      Download our joint letter to Sadiq Kahn 

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