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Charlie Brown's roundabout needs urgent safety action

Caroline joined local Councillors Ian Bond and Gwyneth Deakins out and about in Redbridge on Saturday. The team met local residents and highlighted the terrible problems crossing the main road by the Charlie Brown Roundabout. Cllr Richard Hoskins and other local residents and campaigners joined the team to support the crossing campaign.

Speaking to the Wanstead & Woodford Guardian about TfL's failure to install pedestrian crossings and traffic lights at the roundabout, Caroline said:

"People shouldn't have to take their lives in their hands just to get across the road. It's absolutely staggering.

"We need to make sure something is done urgently to make it safe. The crossing needs to be up to minimum safety standards and this is a big issue at this election for me."

Read more here in the Wanstead & Woodford Guardian and in the Yellow Advertiser.

What does "free" Tube wifi really mean for passengers?

Tube stations across London will soon start to provide access to mobile internet services at the platform level ahead of the 2012 Games. The initial roll-out will deliver free unlimited Wi-Fi at 80 stations for all Tube passengers. Connectivity will not be available in the tunnels.

Caroline has raised concers that whilst it is being extended to 120 stations by the end of 2012, it appears that passengers will only be able to use this service for free if they are on a Virgin media contract. The costs if you are not on a Virgin media contract remain unclear.

Lib Dems help fundraise for Irish Cultural Centre in Hammersmith

Caroline recently joined Liberal Democrat mayoral Brian Paddick at a fundraising event for the Irish Cultural Centre in Hammersmith. She was also joined by Steve Bradley, a Liberal Democrat London Assembly candidate and Lambeth Councillor.

A year ago the centre was struggling to raise funds to buy the premises in which it is situated. Now following a grant by the Irish Government and other fundraising the management of the centre are planning to demolish and totally rebuild the facility, including residential housing.

A full report on plans for the centre can be seen at the Shepherd's Bush blog.

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?"

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