§ Mr. Austin-Walker
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what information he has on the level of commuter fares in London relative to other EC capital and major cities; and if he will make a statement on Government policy with regard to this situation.
§ Mr. Norris
It is difficult to compare fare levels internationally because each transport system has a different fare structure and few European cities are as large and complex as London. In 1991–92 fares on London Buses and the Underground were 17 per cent. and 7 per cent. higher in real terms than 10 years earlier; Network SouthEast fares were 19 per cent. higher. Over the same period, average real weekly earnings have increased by 40 per cent. in London. So fares increases have been more than matched by increased ability to pay. The Government believe that it is right to strike a balance between contributions from users, and subsidy from taxpayers. If one pays less, the other of necessity pays more.