Wednesday, 14 January 2009

Boris Johnson gives 1/2 price travel to job seekers

Fair's fair Boris, you've made a good decision here:

"Mayor of London, Boris Johnson, today announced that over the next year London's half-price bus and tram travel scheme will be extended to include thousands of unemployed Londoners in receipt of Job Seeker's Allowance (JSA) or the new Employment and Support Allowance (ESA)."

Well I have to say, I didn't see that coming

"The move, which is part of the Mayor's Economic recovery Action Plan, is designed to help people back to work by making it easier to travel to interviews, and access libraries, job centres, and other amenities. It means that from 1 April eligible Londoners in receipt of the allowances will be able to access the same half priced travel concession that those on Income Support currently benefit from."

Now it wasn't that long ago that things weren't looking so good. To the anger of many last year, Boris Johnson scrapped half-price fares for people on income support.

But in just a few months we have seen not only a u-turn of that decision but also this welcome extension of half-price fares to people looking for work.

Lib Dem Assembly Leader Mike Tuffrey, who campaigned for the extension, said today:

"No one should be forced to turn down an interview because they can’t afford a bus fare. Yet Boris Johnson has put up fares this month by 11% - three times the rate of inflation. At present an unemployed person on JSA, with a weekly income of just £47, will end up paying £2 for a return trip to an interview. If they pay their fares in cash the fares will be £4.

“When you are on such a low income cheaper travel can make a world of difference to getting back to work.”

Obviously this announcement would be more welcome if everybody's bus fares were not going up by 11 per cent at the same time.

But with today's decision at least, Boris has done exactly the right thing at exactly the right time. Can we have more of the same please?


Anonymous said...

Nice picture. I can't work out if he looks smug or tired.

Anonymous said...

Many years ago, in the late 1980s, down in the Medway Towns, in Kent, the unemployed got FREE bus travel. That is what is really needed!

Chris said...

So one minute targeted cuts are out and poverty can 'best be addressed by keeping the overall level of bus fares as low as possible' and the next minute he's hiked the overall level and made an extra targeted cut? Arse and elbow comes to mind.

AdamB said...

Well yes it is all a bit incoherent, and there was probably a need to counter some of the heavy criticism that he got for the fare rises. But still, whatever the motivation, he listened to some good advice and made the right decision. Now if he would only stop responding to the bad advice as well...

Letters From A Tory said...

Messy. Very very messy.

Anonymous said...

"Well I have to say, I didn't see that coming"

Likewise your sudden outburst of magnanimity and balance. Take a bow.


AdamB said...

Who to?

Olly said...

Can we run a sweepstake on what BoJo's next policy is going to be?

On current logic....

Legalise drinking on the tube - "to support our small high street shops in this economic downturn"

Abandoning the bendy bus replacement project - "we need to focus all our energies on expanding transport infrastructure"

(TT is right to applaud him though, keep the good policy coming BoJo)