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Calls for TfL compensation

PUBLISHED: 15:42 12 February 2009 | UPDATED: 15:55 07 September 2010

Charlotte Newton THE snow may have melted and the pavements thawed – but there is little sign of commuters anger dissipating after last week s travel chaos. Bus and rail users in Crouch End and Muswell Hill are demanding a full refund from Transport for

Charlotte Newton

THE snow may have melted and the pavements thawed - but there is little sign of commuters' anger dissipating after last week's travel chaos.

Bus and rail users in Crouch End and Muswell Hill are demanding a full refund from Transport for London because they were unable to get to work or their journeys were severely disrupted on February 2.

Haringey Lib Dem councillor Jonathan Bloch was just one of thousands of commuters whose journey to work was disrupted.

Cllr Bloch, a chief executive officer of a financial services company, said: "TfL should wipe out all Oyster charges for everything that day.

"Public transport last Monday was thoroughly unpleasant. What existed was overcrowded, unreliable and late.

"It showed a total lack of planning. This is a legacy of Ken Livingstone's rule and, frankly, Boris Johnson hasn't done much to change it."

A TfL spokesman said that motorists who paid the congestion charge had been reimbursed because many of them had been unable to complete their journeys. But TfL would not be able to reimburse bus and Tube users whose journeys were disrupted.

Now Joanne McCartney, London Assembly member for Enfield and Haringey, has called on Mr Johnson to give public transport users the same priority as car drivers and issue them with a full refund for disrupted journeys.

She said: "There's no good reason why London's bus and Tube users shouldn't receive the same goodwill from their mayor as private car drivers. A day's refund for those who had paid in advance but were unable to travel because of the mass cancellation of bus services would go some way to allaying my fear that Mr Johnson is someone who thinks motorist first, public transport user second.

"Given that the advice last Sunday was not to drive unless absolutely necessary, I would question whether it was wise to encourage more people to take to the treacherous, icy roads.

"But, for the minority who had no choice, I support a congestion charge refund alongside equal treatment for bus and Tube users."

But a TfL spokesman said: "Sunday and Monday saw the heaviest snowfalls for almost two decades in London, a truly exceptional weather event.

"Our staff and those of other agencies worked tirelessly to deliver the best transport service we could. We are sorry many passengers faced disruption.

"Given that this was an exceptional event, refunds will only be applied in accordance with our existing customer charters, which do not cover events which are outside of our control.

"Furthermore, with about 10 million daily bus and Tube journeys, the complexity of providing refunds on this scale would be a massive financial cost - one far in excess of the value of the journeys themselves.

"As TfL is a publicly-funded organisation, this is a cost which would ultimately only be borne by farepayers and taxpayers. The cost of implementing this would therefore far outweigh the benefit to Londoners.


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