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Oyster overcharging scandal continues

Caroline continues to urge both the Mayor and Transport for London to address the issue of Oyster overcharging, which still affects many honest passengers, especially by train and tube.

The Evening Standard recently reported that in 2011 the level of "incomplete" journeys was £66.5 million, compared to £63 million in the previous years.

Although some minor changes have occurred to the way Oyster operates the Mayor and TfL have failed to address the main causes of Oyster overcharging, which is when every passenger is automatically charged the maximum fare, which regularly occurs when the machines are not operating or the stations are very crowded.

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:

Strata cycle hire station - 2 months and still unavailable!

The London SE1 website reveals that after questions to the Mayor by Caroline Pidgeon, TfL have admitted leaving a cycle hire docking station outside Elephant and Castle's Strata building unrepaired - since the end of January.

Read the full story here.

Olympic transport - impressive but TfL needs to reassure us

Speaking to the Independent about the challenges of the Olympics for London's transport network, London Assembly Transport Committee chair Caroline Pidgeon said:

Given the scale of the challenges, some disruption to the transport network is inevitable.

Keeping the capital moving smoothly during the Games will be nothing short of a Herculean task.

The amount of work that is going in to getting our already overburdened transport network ready to carry millions of extra athletes, officials and spectators is very impressive.

We are, however, keen to get some reassurance about the few areas - like the Jubilee line, local parking arrangements and the Olympic Route Network - that are still letting down what are otherwise very robust preparations.

Read the full article here.

Every Londoner owed £8 by embassies dodging Congestion Charge

The amount of unpaid Congestion Charge and penalty charge notices owed by embassies and diplomatic missions that evade paying the Congestion Charge is now more than £60 million, according to new figures obtained by Caroline Pidgeon, Leader of the Liberal Democrat London Assembly Group. Every single Londoner is owed more than £8 by non paying embassies and diplomatic missions.

Fairer Fares - affordable proposals that would make an immense difference

Writing for the London Loves Business website, Caroline Pidgeon discusses the areas where Transport for London needs to treat Londoners fairly - including returning the £55m held on dormant Oyster cards, and stopping the overcharging of passengers for "incomplete" journeys - and outlines the London Liberal Democrats' key transport policies:

There really are policies which can make fares fairer, which are affordable and will not undermine TfL’s much needed investment programme.

The Liberal Democrats are advocating a one hour bus ticket, so people can make two or three short bus journeys for the cost of a single fare. You can do this on the Tube, so it is only right bus users can do the same. Time limited bus fares are actually quite common in other European cities. It is time London caught up.

TfL is sitting on £55m of unused Oyster cash

Commenting on figures showing that Transport for London has retained £55m in cash balances on Oyster cards that are no longer used, Caroline Pidgeon told the BBC:
"Transport for London is now sitting on a cash pile of £55m which should be returned to passengers.

"TfL claim people can easily reclaim their money from dormant Oyster cards but the evidence suggests otherwise. If it really was simple for passengers to reclaim their money, why has the amount left on dormant Oyster cards doubled in the last two years?"

RNIB backs campaign for accessible crossings

The Royal National Institute of Blind People (RNIB) is campaigning for all pedestrian crossings in London to be made accessible to people with visual handicaps. At present - as highlighted by Caroline Pidgeon's investigations - there are 347 crossings that still do not meet minimum standards of accessibility.

Caroline commented:
"It is shocking that in the year 2012 so many pedestrian crossings are unsafe for so many people."

"I have long called for the minimum safety standards to be met at every pedestrian crossing across the whole of London. The RNIB campaign has my total support."

You can read more here on the RNIB website.

Mayor still will not give timetable for dangerous junction review

The King's Cross Environment blog covers this week's Mayor's Question Time - where under questioning from Lib Dem London Assembly Leader Caroline Pidgeon, Boris Johnson would give no commitment to a timetable for reviewing the most dangerous junctions for cyclists.

Blogger William Perrin comments:

The Mayor (and also Chair of TfL) is questioned by Caroline Pidgeon AM about his sudden conversion to cycle safety, from 40 minutes in. Caroline Pidgeon AM gently mocks the Mayor’s giant flip flop on a review. But despite repeated questioning the Mayor gives no timetable for his review of dangerous junctions. At 43:30 she tried to pin the Mayor down to specific actions, timetables and commitments from his panicky review – but the Mayor just dodges sideways refusing to give any hints on a time table or guarantees that work will happen following the review.

Read the full article here.

And you can watch the webcast of Mayor's Question Time here on the London Assembly website - Caroline Pidgeon's questions start at around 43:30.

Routemaster admission exposes the Mayor's real record on buses

Commenting on the news that the introduction of Boris Johnson's replacement for the Routemaster bus has again been delayed, Caroline Pidgeon commented:

"We were promised that the new Routemaster bus would be up and running in 2011, but the harsh reality is that just one of these incredibly expensive buses will be on our roads before this summer. This latest admission exposes once and for all Boris Johnson's real record on bus services.


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