London Tube and bus fares will soar over the next five years to help fund a £10bn transport investment programme unveiled yesterday.

A month after mayor Ken Livingstone announced sharp rises in transport fares in 2005, he said it would continue for another four years.

Bus fares will increase by 10% above inflation for three years before it will drop to inflation plus 2% in the remaining two years of the programme. Tube passengers will pay 1% above inflation throughout the five years.

An announcement on a possible increase of the £5 congestion charge is expected by next month.

Air-cooled Underground trains, extensions of the East London Line and Docklands Light Railway and a Thames road bridge are on the long list of projects. Many are due to be completed by 2009.

Plans include:

  • £850m East London Line extension
  • Air-cooled Tube trains
  • Thames Gateway Bridge at Greenwich
  • New DLR links to Woolwich, Stratford and Barking
  • 3 extra DLR cars on the Bank-Lewisham branch, adding 50% capacity
  • Possible Western extension of the congestion charge zone
  • Pushing out the Metropolitan Line to Watford Junction
  • Extending the Croydon tram line to Crystal Palace
  • Upgrading the showcase Wembley Park Tube station
  • Refurbishing 200 Tube stations
  • Widening the North Circular
  • Banning polluting vehicles from Greater London

A "ground-breaking" agreement with government to ensure a steady flow of funds for five years makes their go-ahead a near certainty. However, the plans are still subject to public consultation and the approval of Transport for London (TfL) later this month.

The programme will be funded by £3bn from new borrowing, £4bn from public private partnerships and £3bn in government grants.

The mayor believes the investment plan, the biggest since the Second World War, will propel London's transport system into the 21st century.

"I think most Londoners will make a rational calculation that nobody wants a fare increase any more than they want to pay tax," he told a media conference at City Hall.

"But we just can't keep on putting these things off. I'm not going to pass the buck to my successor. I'm going to take the difficult decisions."

He warned Londoners to expect a decade of weekend delays on the Underground. To replace tracks, trains and signalling "will require a degree of inconvenience".

Around 200 Tube stations will be refurbished, including the completion of the showcase Wembley Park station. One in four is due to be step-free by 2010.

Sub-surface trains on the District, Circle and Hammersmith and City Lines will be air-cooled. Pilot projects to cool deeper lines with underground water pipes are also scheduled.

Another ambitious project is the Thames Gateway Bridge between Greenwich and Newham, which will be the first new road bridge over the river in 70 years.

But the list omits some key plans. Crossrail, the proposed east-west rail link, is not part of the programme, as it is a joint partnership with government requiring legislation.

Also, Transport for London does not yet have enough money for either the 20km long West London tramline between Uxbridge and Shepard's Bush or the Cross River tram between Peckham and Camden.

London Transport Minister Tony McNulty welcomed the programme. "Real and lasting improvements are on the way." It should give Londoners "real confidence" to back the 2012 Olympic bid, which will benefit hugely from the improvements.