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‘Abolishing London travel zones will be fairer’ says Highgate politician and London Mayor candidate

PUBLISHED: 16:28 06 January 2016 | UPDATED: 16:28 06 January 2016

The proposed Green Party flat fare system

The proposed Green Party flat fare system

Archant

A Camden politician, who hopes to be London’s next Mayor, says she plans to abolish transport zones and create one zone across the capital.

Camden councillor Sian Berry, Green Party leader Natalie Bennett and Highbury and Islington councillor Caroline Walker. Picture: Amy RomerCamden councillor Sian Berry, Green Party leader Natalie Bennett and Highbury and Islington councillor Caroline Walker. Picture: Amy Romer

Highgate councillor Sian Berry, the Green Party candidate in this year’s mayoral election, says the move will simplify TFL’s complex fare structure.

Her proposals include introducing a so-called “ONE ticket” that will let passengers change between any mode of transport on their journey, and will remove the costs currently faced by those who live a bus ride away from their nearest tube or overland station.

Cllr Berry said she believes everyone’s journey to work in London should cost the same, and that it is unfair to charge people more because they have to take two buses to get where they are going.

She said: “I think flattening the zone structure is the most revolutionary idea for London’s fares since the introduction of the Travelcard in 1983, and I’m delighted that Dave Wertzel, who was in charge of transport in London then, is helping me launch it.

“Our fully costed plan will reduce the number of zones to four from next year, and bring in a completely flat fare structure by 2025.”

She also believes it is unfair that part-time workers can end up paying more for their commutes than full-time workers, because they do not benefit from the savings which can be made by purchasing weekly or monthly travel cards.

She said: “To make things fair for part-timers, we’ll make the cost of the daily cap match what people save on a monthly travel card, so that people who only travel to work a few days a week don’t pay extra per day to get to their jobs.

“People who work part-time are often women, and more than half are paid less than the London living wage.”

Cllr Berry told the Ham&High that almost everyone she speaks to is in favour of her proposals.

“This isn’t just an issue which affects those living in outer London. If you speak to Camdeners, living in zone two, they are often clobbered when they have to travel further out of London.

“Inner Londoners who can’t afford to buy a home or struggle to afford their rents sometimes look to move to outer London to buy or rent slightly more cheaply, only to find they are hit by extortionate travel costs.

“The response I’ve had to this campaign so far has been overwhelmingly positive.”

Labour’s mayoral candidate, Sadiq Khan was also out on the campaign trail in Camden this week, with his own promise of a fairer deal for Londoners using public transport.

Former transport minister Mr Khan has pledged to freeze TFL fares for four years if he wins the election in May, and will pay for this by scrapping “vanity projects”.

The Tooting MP says he will introduce a new bus ticket called the Hopper, allowing passengers to make as many changes as they need within one hour for the price of a single fare.

Tory candidate Zac Goldsmith wants to “bear down” on fares, saying that he would regard it as a “reckless gamble” to pledge to freeze or reduce them before knowing the government grant to TFL.

Across TFL’s services, fares for 2016 have risen an average of one per cent, in line with inflation. Notable increases include the Off-Peak Zones 1-2 Oyster fare (£2.30 to £2.40), and the Anytime Zones 1-6 Travelcard (£17 to £17.20). Single bus fares remain frozen at £1.50.

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