Boris bites the bullet to keep services

Big fares rises, especially on buses, are going to be announced on Thursday morning by Transport for London. Boris Johnson, the mayor, has chosen to impose the massive increases in order to retain services, rather than announcing a series of cutbacks.

It is the right decision, though it must be galling for the Tory blond bombshell.  He probably realised that keeping the £600m subsidy for buses was important for the outer London voters on whose support he will rely if he seeks re-election though rumour has it he wants to return to Westminster politics.  Even if that were true, it would still look terrible for the Tories to impose drastic reductions in bus services.

Nevertheless, there has been considerable handwringing in City Hall about how to deal with the impending financial crisis. Watch for Boris blaming Brown though the truth is that he has partly dug his own hole by proposing the scrapping of the Western Extension of the congestion zone, eschewing council tax rises and kicking wider road pricing into the long grass.

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