Monday, July 12, 2010

Good news for London cycling

It's an ill wind that blows no-one any good.

The Standard today reports that London transport is in the firing line for cuts. And given the Government's commitment to keeping Council Tax rises down, and Boris's abolishing the congestion charge western extension zone, that can only mean one thing: fare rises. The other side-effect is investment in the Tube will likely be cut, so no air-conditioning and cuts to station, signalling, track or rolling stock upgrades.

All of which makes cycling relatively more attractive. A 7-day Zone 1-3 travelcard currently costs £30.20. Let's factor in a 20% rise, just for fun: that would make £36.24.
If you bought a £300 bike on a cycle-to-work scheme, after tax relief the cost would be about £150 - £200 (depending on tax rates). That would take only about 5-6 weeks to pay down from travelcard savings, if you cycled every day. Even if you only cycled once a week, the break-even period would be 6 months or so.

Maybe the government's cycling strategy is, rather than making cycling better, making the alternatives worse?

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