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August 2019
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Train hike is not fair for Freedom Pass holders, says London Councils

London Councils has reacted angrily to plans by the Association of Train Operating Companies (ATOC) to increase the cost of transporting Freedom Pass holders by 25 per cent. During negotiations over the cost of the Freedom Pass, ATOC has demanded London boroughs pay 25 per cent more for the train part of the Freedom Pass next year.

This would mean that the amount London’s boroughs pay to the train operating companies would jump from £12 million in 2009/10 to at least £15 million in 2010/11. The Freedom Pass costs the boroughs £270 million a year in total, the vast majority going to Transport for London. The pass allows Londoners aged 60 and over, plus eligible disabled residents to travel free on the capital’s buses, trains, London Underground, trams, and the Docklands Light Railway.

London Overground services are run by Transport for London and separate train operating companies (working through ATOC) provide all other train services. ATOC sent London Councils an initial proposal on 26 November but no supporting evidence was produced until Monday (30 November), little more than a week before a deal on the cost of the Freedom Pass was due to be agreed by London Councils’ Transport and Environment Committee at a meeting on 10 December. ATOC has not given London Councils access to detailed data on which it has based its current, ‘take-it-or-leave-it’ demand.

Councillor Mike Fisher said: -It is totally unacceptable that at this late stage, the Association of Train Operating Companies announces it wants to charge boroughs 25 per cent more than last year to provide the same train services. -This is outrageous considering that the current rate of inflation is 1 per cent and the average increase in train fares for passengers in 2010 will be 1.1 per cent.

-We have serious doubts about whether the evidence the Association of Train Operating Companies has produced to support their claim is valid. We urge them to use a more realistic figure as the basis for negotiations.

-We will not allow some of the most vulnerable travellers in the capital to be exploited in this way.

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