The contrast this week between the transport manifestos of Boris Johnson and Ken Livingstone was quite stark. On Monday Johnson produced a crunchy list of practical transport measures that build on his solid record of achievement in the transport realm.
Today it was Livingstoneâ€™s turn. He surprised many by taking a mild approach to drivers: no rise in congestion charge, no Western Extension and no Â£25 gas guzzler charge. We have had almost four years of friends of Ken telling us that millions could be raised by these charges. No more.
The centre piece of Livingstoneâ€™s plans are his 7% fares cut, now rebranded as a “travel voucher”. The photo is taken from this ITV piece.
Livingstone is taking people for a ride. His fares sums simply donâ€™t add up. He says that they will cost 3% of Â£9 billion Londonâ€™s transport budget. That is Â£270 million per annum. Or Â£1.08 billion over 4 years. At the same time he is saying that: â€œHe will make the average Londoner Â£1000 better off over four years.â€ The population of London is about 7.8 million. At Â£1,000 each that is Â£7.8 billion.
Livingstoneâ€™s pledge only applies to 1 in 8 Londoners. Or his pledge is only worth 1/8th of what he says. Either way it is nonsense. You choose.