London’s vibrant community of night workers, commuters, and the tourism industry are facing an uncertain future, grappling with the challenges posed by the recent and pending transport policy decisions. A coalition of concerned businesses, representing a diverse cross-section of the city, has raised its voice against these measures that threaten the heart and soul of London.
At the centre of these contentious policies is the impending abolition of the day travel card in January 2024, accompanied by the introduction of a tariff for using the Blackwall Tunnel and heightened parking fine charges. Additionally, thousands of night workers are confronted with the burden of double payments as there shifts bridge the rigid midnight threshold. These changes coincide with the expansion of the Ultra Low Emission Zone (ULEZ), a move that couldn’t have arrived at a worse time, given the prevailing cost-of-living crisis. Campaigners have decried these actions as nothing short of “outrageous,” as they place the onus of bridging TFL’s funding gap squarely on the shoulders of everyday Londoners.
While the ULEZ expansion ostensibly targets air quality improvement, which in no way should be understated, it’s difficult to overlook that the removal of the day travel card appears to be framed as a revenue-generating initiative by TfL. Especially when data from Transport for London (TfL) suggests up to 20million journeys per year would be affected by the change, which would bring in an extra £40million of revenue per year..
This shift in priorities has garnered widespread criticism, particularly due to the clandestine manner in which these changes were unveiled. Alarmingly, tens of thousands of commuters remain unaware that in less than 100 days, the cost of their daily commute could rival their rent or mortgage expenses.
Michael Kill, CEO of the Night Time Industries Association, expressed his deep concerns, stating, “We are deeply concerned about the recent and ongoing transport policy decisions, which have significant implications for the capital. The proposed removal of the day travel card in January 2024, the expansion of ULEZ aswell as exposure of thousands of night time workers to a midnight threshold double charge under the scheme, has raised concerns amongst both workers, residents, and visitors.”
“These decisions, while ostensibly aimed at promoting eco-friendly measures, which cannot be understated, appear to place an undue burden on ordinary citizens, particularly at a time when many are grappling with a cost-of-living crisis. The impact on thousands of commuters, tourists, and night workers cannot be ignored.”
Kill continued, “Campaigners have rightfully described these moves as ‘obscene’ due to their potential adverse effects on everyday people. Moreover, the secrecy surrounding the removal of the day travel card is alarming, as it leaves many commuters unaware of the impending cost increases.”
The coalition of businesses stands united with those who demand transparency and open dialogue. London’s leadership must reconsider these decisions and actively engage with its constituents to find balanced solutions that prioritise the well-being and economic vitality aswell
of our great city.
Katie Blake, Campaigner and Esher resident says, ”The removal of the day travelcard will trigger obscene price hikes for commuters like me who need to travel into London for work. Where is the big campaign ensuring commuters are aware of imminent changes that will increase household expenditure? Why wasn’t there a consultation to explore options? Does this Mayor only care about potential voters, and not the vast swathes of people who are facing fresh misery from his measures that are pricing commuters and tourists out of London?