Tube prices increase 50% 'to deter cash users'

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The Independent Online

The Mayor of London, Ken Livingstone, is to increase the price of Tube tickets by up to 50 per cent in an attempt to discourage passengers paying by cash.

Customers paying at ticket offices will see the price of a short London Underground journey rise from £2 to £3, but the fares for those using the pre-paid " Oyster" cards will be cut. Oyster fares in central London will be reduced from £1.70 to £1.50 - half the cash fare.

Single bus journeys will rise from the present £1.20 to £1.50 as part of the strategy to discourage passengers paying by cash.

The approach will almost certainly mean that visitors to the capital will pay considerably more than Londoners because they are less likely to buy the pre-paid cards. Those who commute into London are unlikely to benefit because rail companies refuse to accept the cards. It is an experiment that is likely to be repeated in other British cities.Mr Livingstone said the new fares structure would raise an estimated £80m on bus fares and £50m on the Tube.

Mr Livingstone said: " Too many people are paying cash, causing long queues." The objective was to speed up the system, he said.