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London-wide + Greenwich stories

Questions over Thames Cable Car still remain

Caroline Pidgeon, Leader of the Liberal Democrat London Assembly Group, commenting on the announcement that the Thames Cable Car will open from midday on Thursday 28th June said:

“It is welcome news that the Thames Cable Car will be open before the Olympic Games, as additional forms of transport will be helpful in dealing with the exceptional pressures the capital will face later this Summer, and help spectators travel between the Excel and O2 venues.

Thames cable car - we need answers on costs and fares

Speaking to the Evening Standard about the Thames cable car that is shortly to open, Caroline Pidgeon said:

“After misleading Londoners and claiming two years ago that the Thames cable car would not cost a penny of taxpayers’ money it is time the Mayor provided some honest answers.

“Not only do we need to know when it will finally open but the Mayor must also tell us how much a ride will cost and whether Oyster will be accepted from the start.”

Greenwich to be a flagship for cycle-friendly spaces

Greenwich Lib Dem Chris Smith writes on his blog to welcome the news that - after questioning from Caroline Pidgeon in the London Assembly last week - the Mayor has identified Greenwich, Vauxhall Cross and Croydon as pilot areas for new combined cycle and pedestrian spaces which will be separated from motor traffic. The London Cycling Campaign has been strongly making the case for this in its "Love London, Go Dutch" campaign.

You can read Chris's full article here.

Out and about in Greenwich

Caroline was joined by local Assembly Candidate John Russell, Lib Dem leader in Lewisham Cllr Chris Maines and Greenwich Lib Dem campaigner Chris Smith out and about in Greenwich on Friday afternoon, knocking on doors and talking to local people. The team got a great response and ended the day with a wonderful ice cream at Black Vanilla in Blackheath!

Cable car is an impractical way to spend taxpayers' money

Speaking to the Guardian about the costly project to build a cable car link from North Greenwich to the Royal Docks, Caroline Pidgeon said:

"While the cable car will be an attractive addition to London's skyline I question whether it will provide a practical transport link for many people on a daily basis."

Jubilee Line needs urgent action as reliability falls

Commenting on another major disruption to the Jubilee line during the rush hour on 22nd March, Caroline Pidgeon said:

"This line is critical to ensuring London keeps moving during the Games, but far from seeing improvements, reliability has been falling.

"The Mayor and Transport for London need to detail actions that will be taken in the next three months to turn this round."

And just 4 days later, hundreds of passengers had to walk out of a broken down train and through a darkened tunnel to safety.

Caroline said:

Greenland Pier boat service campaign - update

Local Liberal Democrat Councillors Lisa Rajan, David Hubber, Paul Noblet, Simon Hughes MP and myself have been inundated with emails from concerned passengers in Surrey Docks about the future of Greenland Pier. This also affects people who use the service and live just over in Lewisham.

We held a meeting on Monday morning with Gill Davies, Southwark Council's Director of Environment and Leisure. Our main aim for the meeting was to get Southwark Council to stop the temporary closure of the pier on 28th February, and instead keep it open for the Thames Clippers boats to use. We know how vital and valued the commuter boat service is and how many people rely on it. We also wanted to ask for a temporary pontoon to be installed if the existing one really does need to be removed for repairs.

We divided the pier issue into two parts - the immediate future, following the official Notice to Quit served on Thames Clippers, and the longer term future of the pier.

As far as the immediate situation is concerned, the Notice to Thames Clippers was, we were told, a legal requirement to enable the pier to be inspected and repaired as necessary. Thames Clippers should be granted a temporary licence to enable them to continue to use the pier until such time as it may be removed temporarily for any works. We have stressed that there should be no discontinuance of the service on 28 February, nor until it is essential for the pier to be closed, and we were led to believe that this would be the case. We also asked that users should be given one month's notice before the pontoon is actually removed.

Time for honesty over Jubilee line fiasco

As news emerges that TfL has had to pay £25m to the company that owns Canary Wharf in compensation for the major delays to the Jubilee line upgrade, Caroline Pidgeon commented:

"Users of the Jubilee line have faced years of misery as the upgrade programme over-ran. To learn now that millions of pounds has been shelled out to Canary Wharf Group, while passengers have not been compensated, adds insult to injury.

"It is time the Mayor and TfL were honest with Londoners over the real cost of this long-standing fiasco. We are entitled to know the details of every penny that has been spent."

You can read full coverage in the Evening Standard, the Docklands & East London Advertiser and the Wharf website.

Blackheath Bonfire Night passengers should check for overcharging

The South London Press reports on the overcharging suffered by many passengers who travelled from Blackheath station after the fireworks display on 5th November - when station staff taped over the card readers at the station.

Caroline commented:
"Many would be unaware they had been overcharged and, for those who were, the onus was on them to collect the overcharged amount.

"It beggars belief Southeastern merely taped over the Oyster readers leading to so many people being overcharged on their Oyster cards."

You can read the South London Press article here.

River Thames is a great opportunity for transport

The River Thames is a forgotten highway, a tube line effectively, across the centre of London and yet under-resourced in terms of transport.

In January, the London Assembly Transport Committee is looking into river transport services - so Caroline and other Committee members spent a chilly morning in early December out and about on the river with Thames Clippers from Putney to Erith, looking at the challenges and opportunities to really expand river transport services for Londoners.

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