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Boris under fire from passengers and traders over fares and tolls

PUBLISHED: 16:00 15 October 2009 | UPDATED: 15:04 05 October 2010

BORIS Johnson has come under fire over his 20 per cent bus fare rises and 25 per cent daily Congestion toll increase. Lobbyists accuse him of abandoning passengers while letting motorists "off the hook," but traders fear the road toll increase from £8 to £10 will put many small firms out of business

By Mike Brooke

BORIS Johnson has come under fire this-afternoon over his 20 per cent bus fare rises and 25 per cent daily Congestion toll increase.

Public transport lobbyists accuse him of abandoning passengers while letting motorists “off the hook.”

But traders say the road toll increase from £8 to £10 will put many small firms out of business.

The Campaign for Better Transport’ is worried the fares are shooting up while services are being cut, with buses frequencies reduced and Underground trains cut in the suburbs.

“Bus fare rises will hit ordinary working Londoners hard,” the campaign’s London co-ordinator Richard Bourne told the East Lo0ndon Advertiser.

“Boris is saving £125 million a year, but is favouring motorists and letting them off the hook by scrapping the Congestion Zone western extension which we believe is still going ahead.”

But the Federation of Small Businesses fears traders are losing out with the Congestion Charge hype.

The federation’s policy chief Nick Winch said: “A 25 per cent increase will make many businesses go bust or move out of central London. That is not good for London or its economy.

“The Mayor needs to recognise businesses in the zone have to use a vehicle. They have no choice.

“He must give businesses the same discounts as residents.”

The Mayor’s package of fare rises for 2010 announced today includes Oyster pay-as-you-go buses journeys up from £1 to £1.20, traffic Congestion tolls up from £8 to £10 a day and Underground Zone 1 fares up by 20p.

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