"It’s another nail in the coffin for small businesses locating themselves in central London," says Huddle.net co-founder Alastair Mitchell. "London is already one of the most expensive cities in the world to do business, and transport costs in the UK are generally hundreds of per cent higher than on continental Europe or in the US."
Mitesh Soma, founder of £20m-turnover online pharmacy ChemistDirect.co.uk, agrees that the hikes are a nightmare for SMEs but doesn’t believe the Mayor had any other option. "Boris Johnson is stuck between a rock and a hard place," he says. "While there seems to be no other alternative to raise funds to pay for the capital’s crumbling transport network, small businesses will be rightly angry as these fare increases come at a time when we should be trying to entice people to work."
The entrepreneur continues: "They are simply being stung more and this may result in demands for higher wages which can’t be met, leading to depression and negativity. Just what we need!" Boris Johson admitted that the new hikes would be “tough medicine” for Londoners. But more expensive transport could in fact prove beneficial to some businesses. As Huddle.net’s Mitchell explains: "The rise in the Tube fair and congestion charge combined with the advent of new technology that helps people work remotely such as www.Huddle.net mean that more and more small businesses are choosing to locate themselves outside of London or work virtually from home."
On the day that Johnson announced the bad news, public opinion of Transport for London also took a further blow. Blogger Jonathan McDonald posted a video of an elderly man being abused by a Tube staff member called Ian at Holborn station. Following the post, Twitter was afire with criticism for the Tube worker and the organisation. You can watch the video below.
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