In a move which officials claim will cost £14 million in lost revenue, Transport for London is to delay the increase of fares for a fortnight, bbc.co.uk reports.
A dispute regarding the physical amount by which travelcards could rise has meant the fares will be implemented two weeks later than the planned date on 3 January – which is good news for those enjoying a long, festive break in the city.
Mayor of London Boris Johnson initially announced a 4.1 per cent increase on 3 December, in line with the retail price index (RPI) plus an extra one per cent. However, on 5 December, George Osborne set the limit on rail travel fare rises to just the RPI alone, hence TfL must only add 3.1 per cent.
The subsequent confusion means that TfL is aiming for a 19 January introduction, instead. Londonist.com is already calling the grace period ‘Lower Fares Fortnight’ and urging commuters to renew their travelcards sooner rather than later.
Naturally the delay has frustrated those in charge of the purse strings. London Assembly member and chair of the Budget Monitoring Sub-Committee, John Biggs bemoaned the lack of communication between the government and TfL as ‘farcical’.
While this will bring a few weeks of relief to Londoners in the new year, it will leave a hole in TfL’s budget, one which the Mayor said fares needed to increase to fill.
Mr Biggs said: “He should be knocking on the door of 11 Downing Street demanding the Chancellor cough up that cash.”