Thursday, November 15, 2007

Bus Fare Calculations

An interesting exchange at yesterday's Mayor's Questions.

Me: Following the latest increases, what is the cheapest ticket you can buy?

The Mayor: 80p

Me: And what is the average bus fare?

The Mayor: 53p

Me: So the average fare is 27p less than the cheapest fare - that's a novel concept...

I suspect that TfL includes some of its free tickets in the calculation, which undermines the veracity of the figure, because it creates an 'average fare' which can't be paid by anyone. It certainly makes the result of fare increases look rosier than it actually is.

TfL will be coming to see me to explain how they arrive at this figure and what they use it for.


weggis said...

obviously taking into account the number of passengers who do not pay on bendy Buses.

Phil Taylor said...


The Mayor himself said:

"For buses, gross operating costs were reported as £1643.4m and gross revenue £1026.8m, with 1,880m journeys. Hence the average cost per bus journey was 87.4p, with 54.6p raised from fares, leaving a difference of 32.8p."

This was in response to Andrew Pelling's question 2065/2007.

This 54.6p figure is calculated simply by dividing bus income by number of journeys. Bus income includes travelcards and Freedom Pass levies from councils.

I don't know if their method of calculating journey numbers includes fare dodgers or not. I would imagine it would as TfL would be keen to push up journey numbers to make arguments about modal changes. More riders, even if they have not paid, would also help make their pathetically low ridership (15 per bus) numbers look better, ie greener.

Unless the TfL statement of accounts is wrong the Mayor is wrong.

You are right and the Mayor is wrong. His staff don't understand TfL's finances.