Travel fare increases in London to be capped at 6% in 2012

There has been more focus on Monday on rail and Tube fare increases.

Tube and bus fares had been due to go up on average by 7% next year, but I have been told that Londoners can now expect fare rises of 6%.

Transport for London's (TfL) business plan had been based on inflation (RPI) + 2%, but due to £130m from the Treasury, fares will be increased by inflation + 1%.

That will mean a Zones 1 to 4 Travelcard will roughly be 10p cheaper than had been planned.

Rail travellers were going to be facing an 8% average increase next year; I'm told they will also be paying on average 6% extra instead.

Political battleground

It is not clear what will happen to the "flex" yet.

The flex means some train companies can increase fares on some routes by up to 5% if they reduce fares by the same amount on a similar route.

With a 6% increase, it could mean a season ticket holder to Reading will pay £80 less over the year than was planned at 8%.

Ken Livingstone had proposed to reduce fares by 5% if he was elected mayor next year. Does this reduction in the increase counter that policy politically?

And why wasn't this done two years ago?

Will a 6% increase on fares, as opposed to a 7 or 8% increase, make a difference to commuters?

I'm told the ticket departments at the Train Operating Companies and TfL are now going to be busy trying to get these new fares ready for January.

Fares remain a political battleground and more details are expected from the Chancellor in his Autumn Statement on Tuesday.

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