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Higher fares will drive people off buses, warns transport boss

PUBLISHED: 13:00 22 October 2009 | UPDATED: 15:06 05 October 2010

THE success in reducing car traffic could come to an end with fares shooting up by as much as 20 per cent, London's transport commissioner has warned. Peter Hendy expects demand for bus services to fall up to three per cent over the next eight years

By Mike Brooke

THE success in reducing car traffic could come to an end with fares shooting up by as much as 20 per cent, London's transport commissioner has warned.

Peter Hendy expects demand for bus services to fall up to three per cent over the next eight years.

Fares are rising by an average 13 per cent from January with Oyster 'pay as you go' up 20 per cent from £1 to £1.20, announced by Boris Johnson, then increasing every year until 2017-18 by the Retail Prince Index plus two per cent.

Hendy's admission about a drop in demand for bus services brought a furious attack on Boris Johnson from London Assembly member Jenny Jones.

"The Mayor will be directly responsible for more pollution and more congestion by raising fares," she said. "Higher fares would push people off the buses and back into cars.

"He expects Londoners to pay increases above inflation while halting a 20-year bus service expansion."

Transport for London says it needs a 20 per cent increase in bus services by 2016 to relieve traffic congestion on the streets. Bus travel rose by 40 per cent in the five years up to 2005, which accounted for a four per cent shift from cars to public transport.

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