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Sadiq Khan Starts with Facilitating Transportation for Low-Income Citizens - ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive
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London- On a bicycle, former Mayor of London Boris Johnson left the City Hall headquarter allowing the new Mayor, Sadiq Khan, who arrived by bus to start his new job.

After one day of being Mayor of London, Khan announced new measures that have been taken to reduce public transport costs; thus, issuing a free hour “Hopper” bus ticket which will allow passengers two journeys within a 60-minute window starting from September.

Spokesman for London’s Mayor told Asharq Al-Awsat that “improving transportation in the capital is a priority for Khan, and it is in the framework of his electoral promises and reforms; in addition to providing affordable housing prices, clean air, and safe streets.”

The Hopper fare will automatically be given to all pay-as-you-go passengers with “Oyster” cards or contactless payments and for most, will mean an end to paying two fares when changing bus.

Khan is hoping to save millions of Londoners money with the new move, particularly residents with lower incomes who often rely on the bus network to get around.

Khan’s childhood played a major role in his reforms’ program, he said in his speech on Tuesday to announce his new transportation plan.

“My dad drove the number 44 bus, and transport in London has always been a big part of my life.”

“The cost of a fare in London has risen for eight years in a row and now that I’m Mayor I am determined to prevent the cost of travel from becoming a barrier to work.”

London’s Transport Commissioner Mike Brown said the new move would “enable us to better meet the needs of those Londoners who live or work in areas which aren’t as well served by Tube or rail services”.

In 2015, an estimated two and a half billion bus journeys were made across the capital. Around 600 million of these were pay-as-you-go journeys, of which an estimated 86 million went on to make another bus journey within the hour, according to data from the Mayor’s office.

“This is just the start of my plan to ensure that travelling around London is affordable for everyone, a commitment that includes a freeze on Transport for London Underground, DLR and Overground fares for four years, with a first-year cut and then freeze to London bus fares.”

In a common matter, Khan’s office issued a statement on Tuesday responding to the U.S. Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump, who has called for a temporary ban on Muslims entering the United States and said he would make an exception for London’s newly-elected Muslim mayor, the “New York Times” reported.

“There will always be exceptions,” the Times quoted the real estate billionaire and presumptive Republican nominee as saying when asked how his controversial proposal would apply to Sadiq Khan, the son of a Pakistani immigrant bus driver and a seamstress, who was sworn in as London’s mayor on Saturday.

Khan replied telling the “Evening Standard”: “Donald Trump’s ignorant view of Islam could make both our countries less safe – it risks alienating mainstream Muslims around the world and plays into the hands of the extremists.

“This isn’t just about me – it’s about my friends, my family and everyone who comes from a background similar to mine, anywhere in the world.

“Donald Trump and those around him think that western liberal values are incompatible with mainstream Islam – London has proved him wrong.”