Transport for London - Government Grants Fund War On Cash.

Posted on: 30/05/2013

It is not widely realised that over 40% of all Transport for London (TfL) revenue comes from Central Government Grants.

This is a very generous subsidy of a local transport undertaking and one not mirrored in any other town in the UK.

As our country's capital, there are of course arguments that can be put forward for giving London a special status.

However, one thing is clear. The wholly exceptional level of Government Grants given to TfL creates a need for exceptional monitoring of how the money is spent.

Sadly, this is not happening.

For years, TfL has been bribing the London Public - you and me- to use the Oyster Card as opposed to cash.

For example - and staggeringly - to travel one Underground stop by cash costs £4, whereas an Oyster card user pays only around £1.50.

This ludicrously high subsidy of Oyster Card use is effectively coming from the hard-pressed Central Government Purse. If it was eliminated, Government Grants could be substantially reduced - or even eliminated.

All of this, by the way, against a backdrop of the British Retail Consortium - which represents all the major retailers in the UK - producing statistics each year that cash is the most economic payment method for retailers.

So what is the justification for TfL's absurd subsidisation of Oyster Cards?

Well, for years TfL has been coseying up to various card issuers. Those card issuers make massive profits from card use, none at all from cash. So TfL has created a situation the card issuers love: cards being favoured over every other payment method!

Soon, all cards issued in the UK will be able to be used on every TfL service. Oyster will fade away, but what will be left is a massive subsidy for card use - and fat profits for the card issuers from the fees they charge for card usage.

This is the reality of the financial disgrace that is being acted out within TfL. The London Mayor is fully aware but does nothing.

A better way? Lothian Region Transport, which provides a bus service for Edinburgh that is widely-recognised as being the best in the UK.

On Lothian buses, you can still pay by cash, or you can buy your ticket beforehand using any payment method you please.


Come on Boris! Sort this out by removing the subsidy for card use - NOW!

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