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Monday 26th March 2012 | 16:52
Boris Johnson, Mayor of London, today launched his Transport Manifesto with a speech in Euston.
‘Investing in Transport’ details points 8 and 9 of his 9 point plan for Greater London, explains his transport pledges in addition to those listed in the 9 point plan for Greater London, and shows how they link in with the whole plan.*
In his speech he said:
These have been tough times for London and for Londoners. And yet the London economy has shown a remarkable resilience. We export tea to China; cake to France; TV aerials to Korea. London remains the financial, artistic and cultural capital of the world.
And throughout the downturn passenger numbers have continued to grow -on the tube, on the buses, and in private vehicles as well, including bicycles.
With the population set to grow by another million to 2025and with rail ridership alone expected to rise by 30 per cent in the next 8 years, we face an intensifying crisis in which we are asking the economy of the greatest city on earth to expand and grow; to lead the UK out of recession- as it will- in the creaking corsets of Victorian infrastructure. And where we must simultaneously cope with a sudden reduction in the budgets available to modernise that infrastructure.
My record of delivery
And people forget that –yes, we got a great settlement for London in the CSR – but it was only in comparison with what might have happened. Because people forget that we were being offered the loss of Crossrail OR the Tube upgrades. And people forget that though we protected both we have been forced to accept cuts of £2.2billion, and in order to deliver our programmes we have to continue with savings of £4.7billion.
We cannot go back to the old profligate way of spending that got this country into trouble. So we have brought a completely new approach to the management of our budgets. We have cut and are cutting huge sums in waste - 25% of TfL’s directors have found alternative employment and 23 buildings have been disposed of.
And we have stopped the haemorrhage of funds on what were effectively make-work schemes for transport consultants – like the £34m spent on plans for a West London tram. Do you notice a West London tram anywhere? Neither do I.
And we have scrapped the unbelievably wasteful PPP by which private sector companies were effectively given a licence to steal from the taxpayer, and which was only instituted by Gordon Brown because Labour did not trust the previous Mayor to handle the programme himself.
And we have cash to work on the things that will get Londoners to work as quickly and comfortably as possible.
And keeping our promises at the same time.
We said we would put Oyster on the overground; and we did.
We said we would tackle bus crime; and we did, with 697 extra police on public transport.
We gave free travel to war veterans.
We promised a 24 hour Freedom Pass to Londoners over 60. And I maintain that promise today- 100 per cent guaranteed for as long as I am Mayor.
But it has been the distinctive feature of this Mayoralty that we have delivered our promises in the most cost efficient way we can. And let me give you one example of our frugality and take on my critics directly.
We have a new bus for London which is now running in growing numbers on the 38 route. But we have developed that bus for not much more than the cost of one year’s fare evasion on the bendy buses; and less than a third of the cost of Ken Livingstone’s non-existent West London tram.
We have the patents. We have elegantly restored the hop-on hop-off platform with a masterpiece of 21st Century British design that is delivering British manufacturing jobs. And above all that is helping us to deliver on air quality standards with fuel consumption 40per cent lower than a current hybrid.
And when they are rolled out – we will begin with an order of about 600- they will cost the London taxpayer no more than a current hybrid bus.
We have gone ahead with the greatest bike hire scheme in the world. But we have substantially defrayed the costs with sponsorship of £50m from Barclays. And those who criticise that deal have to answer the question: where would they have got the money from? The RMT?
And I would respectfully point out that you are unlikely to drum up much sponsorship from banks if you are offering to hang a banker a week.
And we are going ahead with Crossrail- every leg of it- from Maidenhead to Shenfield and Abbey Wood. But we have relentlessly value engineered that project in order to take out cost so that we can do all that this city needs: Crossrail AND Thameslink AND the Tube upgrades.
We are going to deliver a massive increase in capacity and you will see a total transformation of those interchanges at Tottenham Court Road, Victoria, Bond Street and Bank.
Honesty over fares
It would be total lunacy to put those projects at risk with some short term, politically motivated promise of a fare cut; when history shows that such promises are either broken, or, if they are temporarily honoured, they are then followed with a whopping series of increases way above the rate of inflation to pay for new infrastructure. And that expense is all the higher for having been delayed. It is the politics of the loan shark and I will have nothing to do with it.
And if you want vindication for a steady, consistent and honest approach, and for junking the PPP, look at what we are achieving on the Jubilee line. Although the figures may not yet accord with the experiences of some Londoners – and of course I apologise – we are now going up to 30 trains an hour.
It is a fact that we not only have the safest underground system in Europe, but Tube delays have gone down by 40 per cent in the last four years. In the next four years we can cut those delays by a further 30 per cent.
A metro- style system
I want to very quickly sketch out the next steps: how to expand and improve our transport system in a world where the public sector is no longer flush with cash.
It is time to build on the success of Oyster and push for a more fully integrated underground and overground system. In the next few months I will be campaigning for train and platform lengthening on all overground services, taking our overground up to five cars. We want to lengthen the trains from Bromley South and Victoria up to twelve cars on most services. We want to lengthen trains at selected peak services between London Bridge and Norwood Junction ad Crystal Palace to twelve cars on most services.
And I want to work with the Train Operating Companies (TOCs) so that we improve the stations, the lighting, and the security. So that we deliver the same quality of service as on the Overground, and we have trains arriving at least four times an hour.
In other words a genuine metro – style service.
I believe we can win the argument with the Treasury and the Department for Transport to finance these improvements, because the benefits to the London economy are eight times the cost.
And I have no doubt that if we can work with the TOCs to improve suburban rail, then we will also be able to hold fares down below the levels at which they have been increasing.
21st Century Tube
It is precisely because we need to take out cost and to bear down on fares that we must go ahead with modernising the Tube.
I want a new mandate from Londoners to automate the Tube network – to improve journeys, cut delays, drive down costs and keep fares low.
Over the next four years I will no longer buy a Tube train with an old-fashioned driver’s cab.
By 2014 we will have capacity for automatic trains on 48 per cent of the network- and now is the time to take that programme further. It is time to get London to learn from other metro networks and get the benefits of automatic train control. It is time to move forward with ‘train captains’- along the lines of the DLR – and with absolutely no loess of safety.
With automatic trains we will be able to expand and improve the service – and that will be good from London Underground (LU) employees as well as for passengers. It may be that some hard line union barons object, as they have traditionally objected to many technological improvements. But I am convinced that most members of LU’s workforce will see the merit of what we are doing. We have already begun the process of explaining the plan to staff, and once certain myths are exploded the response is positive.
And I am requesting a mandate from Londoners to push again for changes to national strike laws, so that industrial action can no longer be triggered by a small minority of union members.
Our investments in new technology give this city a huge opportunity to modernise the oldest tube system in the world.
Investing in the road network
This manifesto contains imaginative plans to modernise not just the Tube and rail, but our road networks as well. We have brought in Lane Rental to cut the delays from road works that affect everyone who drives a car or who rides a bus – and I am talking about 2.5bn journeys a year.
We are not only investing in new river crossings, including a second tunnel at Blackwall. We are beginning a major programme of investment in the pinch points and gyratories as we have done at Henlys Corner to make life better for pedestrians and cyclists as well as for motorists.
And yes, in the next four years I want to go on with a cycling revolution so that we can truly claim to be one of the most cycle friendly cities inEurope.
And if we can continue with these programmes then we will not only help drive the creation of 200,000 jobs over four years in transport and housing; but we can build the platform for economic growth for generations to come.
We are the first generation since the Victorians to be facing up to the challenge of our transport infrastructure. We have a huge opportunity to get it right over the next four years. It would be madness to put that at risk.
It is time to take London forwards – not backwards.