Boris to hike prices for TfL and C-charge

LONDON Mayor Boris Johnson yesterday blamed the recession and the &ldquo;mistakes of the past&rdquo; as he unveiled sweeping hikes to Transport for London&rsquo;s (TfL) fare package.<br /><br />Johnson said tube fares would rise 3.9 per cent overall next year, while bus prices will jump by 12.7 per cent.<br /><br />The changes come alongside a proposed increase to the congestion charge, which will rise from &pound;8 per day to &pound;10 per day by December 2010, subject to a consultation process.<br /><br />The Mayor also announced plans to introduce a new automated payment system to make it easier for customers to avoid congestion charge fines. Fares for customers using the new system, provisionally called CC Auto Pay, would be discounted to &pound;9 per day.<br /><br />Johnson said the decision to increase transport fares was not one he had &ldquo;taken lightly&rdquo;.<br /><br />&ldquo;I have been persuaded of the need for fare rises only after ensuring that every efficiency possible, at least &pound;5bn in total, is being made at TfL,&rdquo; he said. &ldquo;However the mistakes of the past and the current economic climate have conspired to present us with a huge challenge.&rdquo;<br /><br />He added that the revenue generated by the fare increases would also contribute to delivering other London projects such as improvements ahead of the 2012 Olympics and the controversial Crossrail scheme.<br /><br />The Mayor has fought tooth and claw to keep plans for the &pound;16bn cross-City rail link on schedule in the face of opposition from the government. The Conservatives have also refused to rule out scrapping or delaying the scheme if they come to power next year.<br />