Ken is terribly proud of his new newspaper ad calling Boris Johnson a “pickpocket” for raising fares. Once again the poor man has, I fear, scored an own goal: one of the key reasons he’s flopping so badly is that people see him as negative and nasty.
There’s another reason why the latest attack may backfire. On your behalf, I’ve been browsing through the fares vaults. And guess what? When Ken was mayor, London’s self-proclaimed Champion Of The Commuter in fact picked commuters’ pockets to – ahem – almost exactly the same extent as the blond Fount Of All Tory Evil.
Under Boris, between 2008 and 2012, the Zones 1-2 Travelcard – London’s most bought commuter ticket – has gone up by 20.7 per cent. Under Ken, between 2004 and 2008, the same ticket went up by (drum roll) 19.8 per cent.
There may be very little difference in the fare increases they imposed, but there are of course three other important differences between Boris and Ken over fares. First, Johnson has Crossrail to pay for. Second, he has £2 billion a year less in government grant to spend. Third, he does not make a habit of lying to people about his intentions and record.
Travelcard prices 2004- 2008- 2012
Zones 1-2 £20.20- £24.20- £29.20
Increase under Boris: 20.7%. Increase under Ken: 19.8%
Zones 1-3 £23.80- £28.40- £34.20
Increase under Boris: 20.4%. Increase under Ken: 19.3%
Zones 1-4 £29.20- £34.60- £41.80
Increase under Boris: 20.8%. Increase under Ken: 18.5%
Zones 1-5 £35.10- £41.40- £49.80
Increase under Boris: 20.3%. Increase under Ken: 17.9%
Zones 1-6 £38.30- £44.60- £53.40
Increase under Boris: 19.8%. Increase under Ken: 16.4%