Wednesday, January 05, 2005

Expensive, overpriced, London and its Transport

London tube, train and bus fares went up in the New Year, by much more than inflation. I was furious, because Ken Livingstone, the Mayor (NightMare) of London, is a major self-serving hypocrite.

Everything went up in price. For a simple return (round-trip) journey into Central London, from where I live (which is in Zone 3 of the six concentric fare zones of London), my cheapest option is a one-day off-peak Travelcard costing £5.20. This is up 11% on the previous fare of £4.70. (NOTE, foreigners that this is "off-peak", which means you cannot even use it before 9.30 a.m on Mondays to Fridays). Also:

  1. He's gotten rid of the Weekend Travelcard, which used to save 25% on buying two single one-day travelcards.
  2. Bus Saver tickets, for a single journey on a bus, are up 57% from £0.70 pence to £1.00 each now.
  3. A one-day bus pass is now £3.00, up 25% from £2.40
  4. The cheapest adult Tube ticket for any kind of Underground (aka subway) trip is now £1.30, and that is outside zone 1 and within a single one of the other ring zones. In other words, it is only good for about 2 or 3 stops in the suburbs.

Ken Livingstone's ability to charm people is undoubted. The trouble with Ken is that he needs to throw around money in order to achieve change. And the people who are charmed by him are lemmings who need a Pied Piper.

Ken Livingstone is just like Napoleon the Pig from Orwell's Animal Farm. He's doing very well himself now, but he's done nothing for the Londoners who are paying their own way and earning low wages of £4.50 to £6.00 an hour. For part-time employees, the Transportation costs in London are particularly painful, since they cannot justify buying 7-day Travelcards, and have to buy expensive daily ones.


These annual above-inflation increases in London Transport fares are typical of how skewed is the British economy. Calculations of the Inflation Rate in this country are misleading, because Economists are unimaginative, unchallenged, and self-preserving. The inflation rate which they report takes into account basic commodities mostly. So remember that China and the Far East have allowed us to import piles of goods and commodities at prices cheaper than 10 years ago. Even more importantly, their monetary economic strategy is to keep their currencies near-to-worthless, which makes Western currencies fatly-overvalued. Our "low" inflation is substantially imported. There will be a massive price to pay for this, and it's not far off.


So why come to London, unless you're rich, or a package tourist just stopping over for a few days? At least you can leave, and go home. Pity the bastards who are born here, not rich, and don't have anywhere to go back to!

Imagine you work full-time in a shop in Central London, and you're getting £6.00 an hour (for which they expect you to be grateful and smiling, because some jobs only pay £4.50 an hour). You take home about £200 a week after taxes. You can only afford to live in Zone 3 in London, where you have struggled to find a reasonable room in a houseshare at £80 a week, even though it's in the poor part of London. Now your 7-Day Travelcard to travel to work costs you £25 a week, a whopping 12.5% of your take-home pay.

You're left with £95 a week, to eat, clothe yourself, and pay for your Mobile phone bills. When you consider that this is only £40 more than the Job Seeker's Allowance of £55 a week that the Established unemployed are getting on top of housing benefit and council tax benefit (by the way, if you can't speak English, it's a sure way of staying on the dole forever).

And this calculation doesn't even factor in what happens if you have children.

The most deprived class of person in London today is in fact the low-waged single, childless, male without family/community connections. Sadly, there are many more such men indigenous and born in this country who have no Social Network to help them out. Their better bet is the prison system. Even new immigrants fare better than the estranged low-waged, English-born single childless male. This is simply because most immigrants who arrive in London are following in the footsteps of friends and relatives, who are eager to offer them support. Many indigenous, English-born men are spurned as trash by their own countrymen. (And I hasten to add, once again, that even Lefties who read the Guardian will always heap scorn upon their compatriots who buy the Sun/Star newspaper, even though the Tabloid reader does so out of desperation and illiteracy that is sometimes psychiatrically beyond correction).

No, no, no. It would really have been a proper Boxing Day if the Tsunami had killed 150,000 dogs and cats. Then you would have seen England at its most ridiculous: fucked up and celebrating its piety.

1 comment:

Joules *Dances with Haddock* Taylor said...

Just found your blog through Blogging Brits [random] and thoroughly enjoyed reading. Have bookmarked to check regularly.