A political row has broken out over who is to blame for rising train fares despite the Mayor of London’s pledge to freeze the cost of travel until 2020.

The Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, made the announcemnt on Transport for London (TfL) ticketing during his election campaign.

On Tuesday, January 3, national rail fares increased by an average of 2.3 per cent, causing some opponents to accuse Mr Khan of breaking his promise.

The Mayor’s Office has said Mr Khan only has the power to set fares on TfL services. The Government sets national rail fares in agreement with the private train operating companies, which includes the price of travelcards, travel on rail lines including Southern, Southeastern and South West trains and daily and weekly caps.

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The Mayor’s Office added that TfL fares will be frozen for the next four years, so that the price of travelling by bus or tram or other TfL services will remain at the level it was in 2016.

In a statement, Mr Khan said: "As someone who has relied on London’s public transport system all my life, I’m hugely proud that we’re freezing fares for millions of Londoners and making our city a better and more affordable place to live and work.

"As I said in my manifesto, we had to put a hold on the rocketing fares Londoners faced under the previous Mayor, and our landmark TfL fare freeze will save an average household £200 over the next four years.”

He added:"While I’ve kept my promise on TfL services, Londoners will rightly be furious that on the same day, the Government have allowed the private train companies to increase their fares by more than two per cent – and on some journeys up to five per cent.

"Given the train companies’ woeful record of delays, cancellations and overcrowding, it’s scandalous that the Government are letting the train companies off the hook again. The Government must match my fares freeze next year."

The leader of the Conservative Greater London Authority group, Gareth Bacon, accused Mr Khan of breaking his promises and letting down commuters across London.

Mr Bacon said: “Just days into the New Year and Londoners are already feeling the pinch of Sadiq Khan’s broken promises.

“He said you will not pay a penny more in 2020, but just like all the other promises his fare freeze is not worth the paper it is written on – and ordinary working Londoners are paying the price.”

Liberal Democrat London Assembly member, and former mayoral candidate, Caroline Pidgeon, also criticised Mr Khan, saying: “Sadiq Khan’s manifesto specifically said that Londoners won’t pay a penny more for their travel in 2020 than they do today. There were no ifs, or buts, in that statement.

“Yet the reality is that at the start of 2017, many Londoners are already seeing increases in their daily and weekly caps as well as their travelcards.

“Instead of peddling the claim that he has frozen all fares, the Mayor must now consider bold measures to help commuters and tackle the chronic problem of overcrowding.”

However, a spokesperson for the Mayor of London said: “The Mayor promised to freeze TfL fares for four years and is now delivering on that promise – with the cost of around four million TfL journeys being frozen every day.

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Transport Secretary Chris Grayling insists the tickets are a fair price

"The Mayor has frozen the fares he controls – and the Government should do the same."

In a statement, Transport Secretary Chris Grayling argued the increase in fares was justified, and insisted that an average of 97p in every £1 paid in train fares was reinvested back into the railway.

Mr Grayling said: "Thanks to action by the Government on train ticket prices, wages are growing faster than regulated fares. This commitment to cap regulated fares in line with inflation will save annual season ticket holders an average £425 in the five years to 2020.

"To improve services, we are investing more than £40 billion into our railways. This will provide passengers with better trains that are faster and more comfortable. We are delivering the biggest rail modernisation programme for more than a century, providing more seats and services.

"We have always fairly balanced the cost of this investment between the taxpayer and the passenger."

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