The Mayor’s press people seem to be a little slow on the draw. Yesterday in a press release he was complaining about an article by Andrew Gilligan in the Evening Standard on Monday. Gilligan was in turn complaining that the Mayor was exaggerating somewhat about the benefit to young people of his freebie bus passes. The Mayor says they are worth £350 and Gilligan says £280. Anyway the Mayor laboriously explained that there is no such thing as a young person’s concessionary annual travel pass at £280 so Gilligan is the one who is wrong. The Mayor then says that most young people used to buy weekly bus passes which would be £7 each at today’s rates. He manages to multiply the weekly rate by 50 to get to the £350 benefit he is quoting.
There are two problems with this. First is that the school year typically comprises 190 days or 38 weeks. If you think in terms of the young persons’ concession being made available to get kids to school then the concession is worth £266 which is even less than Gilligan’s figure.
It gets worse though because for young people not in education the actual weekly fare is £6 not £7. So 38 weeks at £6 is £228.
The bottom line is that the Mayor couldn’t brag what a boon to people his concessions were if the fares weren’t so stupidly high in the first place. Doh! The Mayor can’t have it both ways.