London-wide + Camden stories

Passengers and London’s economy pay a heavy price for unnecessary strike

Speaking ahead of the industrial action starting later this evening on the London Underground network, Caroline Pidgeon, Leader of the Liberal Democrat London Assembly Group and Deputy Chair of the London Assembly Transport Committee, said:

“This is a strike that should not be taking place. Both London Underground and the unions are guilty of failing to put passengers first.”

“For too London Underground have tried to claim that most ticket offices provide no useful purpose and that many stations sell fewer than 10 tickets an hour. In reality this only applies to eight stations. The savage reduction of office opening hours at 90% of ticket offices on the Tube network will inconvenience many passengers, especially disabled people and visitors to London. Some vulnerable people might even be deterred from using the tube.

“However the TSSA and RMT unions are failing to make their case to Tube passengers. Strike action will not help keep ticket office hours open. By striking they are just throwing away a great deal of goodwill from the traveling public.”

High Speed 2 concerns in Primrose Hill

Caroline joined local Camden Lib Dem Cllr Chris Naylor on Friday 3rd September on a visit to look at the possible route for High Speed 2 from Euston north, under many homes in the Primrose Hill area.

Chris and Caroline met some local residents who are active in the Primrose Hill HS2 Group to discuss the plans and hear their many concerns about the lack of consultation, the depth of the proposed tunnels and the quality of the proposal to date, which appears to have little evidence base.

"I believe that High Speed Rail is a good development in terms of cutting reliance on internal flights and those over to the continent. However, we have to ensure that the impact of high speed rail on local communities is minimised. I am concerned about the potential impact this will have on Primrose Hill - both in terms of planning blight and actual physical damage - if it goes ahead as planned” commented Caroline Pidgeon AM.

Put passengers first – Caroline Pidgeon urges both sides to back down over dispute on ticket office closures

Caroline Pidgeon, Leader of the Liberal Democrat London Assembly Group and deputy chair of the London Assembly Transport Committee, commenting on the news that talks have broken down between London Underground and the unions with a series of strikes now expected to start on Monday, said:

“There are legitimate concerns about TfL's plans to slash the opening hours at so many ticket offices across the Tube network, but taking strike action is not the way forward. The unions are running the risk of losing all public sympathy on this issue.

London Underground ticket offices facing savage reduction of 7458 hours every week

Research by Caroline Pidgeon, Leader of the Liberal Democrat London Assembly Group, has revealed London Underground are planning to close ticket offices across the underground by 7458 hours every week.

Responding to London Underground’s defence of the reduced hours and their repeated claim that all tube stations with a ticket office will continue to have one, Caroline Pidgeon said:

“London Underground and the Mayor are playing with words when they keep peddling the claim that no ticket office will actually close. The harsh reality is that if you can’t access a ticket office for most hours of the day it is effectively closed.

“Ticket office staff carry out many tasks to help customers, with their duties going far beyond just serving tickets. If staff numbers are severely reduced at 9 out of 10 stations it will become far more difficult for staff to help disabled and vulnerable customers and other people who need assistance including visitors.

“London Underground's simplistic portrayal of many ticket offices being quiet places where few tickets are actually sold overlooks the vital service and safety that staffed ticket offices provide. If the plans were to allow ticket office staff to go in and out of the office, depending on the needs at a station, and without a reduction in staff numbers that would help to improve customer services. But to simply cut ticket office hours and take away so many frontline staff makes no sense. In the end it is passengers who will lose out.”

Mayor must be open about plans for 2011 fare rises

Caroline Pidgeon, Leader of the Liberal Democrat London Assembly Group and Deputy Chair of the London Assembly's Transport Committee, commenting on the publication today of July’s inflation rate which is used as the basis for setting fares on London's transport network for the next year, said:

“Although the slight easing in the UK inflation rate for July is welcome I am seriously concerned that the Mayor of London could use this figure to hike up fares on London transport next year.

Bike hire scheme is tremendous - but Boris and Ken should be honest

In an article for the Liberal Democrat Voice website, Caroline Pidgeon warmly welcomes the new London bike hire scheme as a "tremendous idea", while pointing out that Boris Johnson and Ken Livingstone are eager to take more credit for it then they deserve:

Despite its launch being associated with quite a number of problems – including a highly complex registration process, and a number of cyclists being overcharged – no one can deny that the scheme is proving incredibly popular. And let’s be realistic, no major scheme ever starts without at least some minor teething problems. Of course I will be chasing hard until these glitches are resolved, and they certainly must be, but the bottom line is that the bike hire scheme is a tremendous idea. Especially if the scheme is expanded it has the potential to help reduce congestion and pollution as well as making it easier for Londoners, visitors and tourists to get around the capital at very little cost. Most significantly it could play a vital role in transforming the status of cycling...

Jubilee Line fiasco must lead to new policy on tube upgrades

Caroline Pidgeon, leader of the Liberal Democrat London Assembly Group, commenting on today’s apology by London Underground for the years of suffering faced by passengers on the Jubilee Line and the announcement that there will still be 15 weekends of full or partial closures before Christmas, said:

"This is grim news for all the Jubilee Line passengers who have suffered so much disruption over months and years. There is no light at the end of the tunnel just more and more closures.

Poorest children in London must not be penalised by new Oyster fees

Caroline Pidgeon, Liberal Democrat London Assembly Leader and transport spokesperson, commenting on the Mayor’s plans to introduce a one-off £10 fee for Zip Card concessionary travel for children, teenagers and students, said:

”I understand that TfL have to look at cost savings but any change needs to be fair. Given that two fifths of children across London live in poverty TfL should exempt this charge to children and young people who are entitled to free school meals."

The MayorWatch website covers the story here.

Are plans to get Londoners walking on the right track?

The Mayor has declared his intention to make 2011 the ‘year of walking’ and allocated millions of pounds to the cause, but will his proposals see more Londoners making their journeys on foot?

Caroline Pidgeon AM will lead an investigation on behalf of the Assembly’s Transport Committee to assess the effectiveness of current plans to get people walking and look at what more could be done.

Almost a quarter of all journeys in the capital are made on foot – nearly 6 million trips every day – making up nearly a third of the total time Londoners spend travelling. The Mayor’s Transport Strategy states that he wants to see the share of all journeys made on foot increase to 25 per cent by 2031 – an extra million journeys a day.

To help meet this target, the Mayor and Transport for London have allocated over £200 million over the next three years to ‘Better Streets’ - which includes schemes ranging from de-cluttering streets to pedestrianisation - and ‘Better Green and Water Spaces’ to improve access to London’s parks, rivers and canals.

Caroline Pidgeon AM said:
“The Mayor wants 2011 to be the ‘year of walking’ but to encourage more Londoners to make their journeys on foot he will have to carefully tailor his proposals and investment.