Friday, November 16, 2007

Livingstonomics

So how can the lowest price be 80p but the average be 53p?

Was it because fare evaders were included - as suggested by Weggis and Andrew Gilligan? No...

Was it because free travel was included as suspected by me in the last post? No...

The Mayor has explained, very swiftly, by press release! The full text is here:

www.London.gov.uk/view_press_release.jsp?releaseid=14532

Amidst the hyperbole, the key paragraph tells us:

The reason the average is lower than the cheapest single fare is that many people travel using period tickets such as Travelcards or weekly bus passes. In these cases the cost per journey is less as the passenger makes more trips. For example the average number of trips per week on a weekly bus pass is 28.25. For a cost of £13 this is 46p.

Well, yes. What if the average number of trips rises? The average cost per trip then falls, but can the Mayor use the new lower figure to claim that he has cut fares? Because that is how the average figure has been used.

Can a passenger who only uses the card 10 times a week get a rebate????

To illustrate the way this works:

Example 1: Mayor Truthful promises to freeze fares for a year and does so. However an economic downturn reduces the number of journeys made on public transport. The average fare per journey goes up and Mayor Truthful decides not to press release it - because it will mislead people.

Example 2: Mayor Untruthful promises to pin fares to inflation but after the election he breaks his promise and imposes inflation busting increases over three years, only desisting as the next election looms. Over the same period the number of journeys increases as London is doing well. The average fare per journey therefore falls and Mayor Untruthful decides to press release it - because it will mislead people.

Neither of these examples is intended to resemble any living person - however for an official view of the truthfulness of TfL advertising, see the following from the Advertising Standards Agency:

www.asa.org.uk/asa/adjudications/public/TF_ADJ_43472.htm

1 comment:

Daniel said...

The entire British economy is doing well, but bus usage outside London has fallen. The reason why bus ridership is up is that Ken has a good bus policy.