London-wide + Greenwich stories

Assembly demands answers over passengers' Southeastern ordeal

The London Assembly’s Transport Committee, led by Caroline Pidgeon has written to Southeastern trains seeking an explanation for the severe delays yesterday evening, and how passengers – some of whom left the train and walked along the tracks to escape the sweltering conditions – will be compensated.

A broken down train in Dartford caused significant delays to Southeastern services during the evening rush hour, and left passengers on one train stuck just outside Bexleyheath for almost two hours on the hottest day of the year.

Mayor has no idea of cable car costs to the public

The BBC reports on Boris Johnson's inability to confirm how much the Greenwich to Newham cable car will cost the taxpayer, when pressed by Caroline Pidgeon at June's Mayor's Question Time session.

Responding to Caroline's question, the Mayor was vague:

When pressed by Liberal Democrat Caroline Pidgeon, who asked him to guarantee that all the money would be recouped from the private sector, Mr Johnson said that private funds "may well cover the total cost over time.

But he added: "Whether it will cover every penny of the set up costs I can't guarantee.

The cost "may very well be zero to the public sector, but I can't tell you what it will be yet", he told the assembly.

You can read the report - and video coverage - here on the BBC website.

Since that time, construction has begun on the cable car, but - as Mayorwatch reports - there is still no guarantee it will be ready for the 2012 Games.

As of September 2011, the costs of the cable car have now risen to £60m - and TfL is taking over part of the rail budget to pay for it. Read more here at Londonist, the News Shopper, Liberal Democrat Voice and on the BBC website.

Passengers losing too many hours down the Tube

Speaking to the London Assembly Transport Committee, the Managing Director of the London Underground has publicly acknowledged that problems on the Tube over the past year have resulted in an increase in lost customer hours on almost every line.

Chair of the Transport Committee, Caroline Pidgeon AM, said:

We recognise the challenges London Underground is facing as it works to deliver an extensive upgrade programme while carrying more and more passengers, but the past year has seen an unreliable service for passengers who are exceptionally frustrated by their daily commute.

While we heard today that if you go back several years things are generally improving, the recent performance of the Tube has undoubtedly deteriorated and is not good enough.

With major upgrade work about to start on the Northern line we hope lessons have been learned so that passengers who use it will not have to deal with the levels of disruption seen on the Jubilee and Victoria line upgrades.

Greenwich Council lets down pedestrians and cyclists with yet more delays

The full reopening of Greenwich foot tunnel has been delayed once again, with users facing night time closures and no lifts throughout the Summer until September. At the same time work on the Woolwich foot tunnel, which has been completely closed since last year, is not set to be finished until August.

Caroline Pidgeon, leader of the Liberal Democrat London Assembly Group, discovered this information buried away on Greenwich Council’s website. The explanation for the six-month delay to the Greenwich foot tunnel is put down on the website to “additional works and problems with materials used in the repairs.” At present, no information at all has been provided by Greenwich Council about why the works at Woolwich foot tunnel are so far behind schedule.

Making London's roads safer for cyclists

Caroline Pidgeon is continuing to support action to tackle the high number of accidents and fatalities that face cyclists on London's roads. London faces an especially serious problem with accidents involving collisions between lorries and cyclists at junctions.

A recent question asked by Caroline to the Mayor revealed that in 2009 six cyclists were killed on London's roads in accidents involving a Heavy Goods Vehicle (HGV), and with a further two cyclists killed in accidents involving a refuse lorry and a cement mixer. In 2010 there were two cyclists killed in accidents involving vehicles and two further two fatal collisions including a skip lorry and a cement truck.

Caroline has already given her full support to the campaign by the London Cycling Campaign (LCC) for better training for lorry drivers and recently received the petition that had already gathered more than 10,000 signatures. Read more information about the campaign here.

Another day of rush hour Jubilee line chaos

The Evening Standard reports on the rush-hour chaos on the Jubilee line yesterday, with a loose screw on a platform door at Westminster causing major delays along the line.

Caroline told the Standard:

The ongoing problems and delays on the Jubilee line cannot be dismissed as isolated incidents. There is something seriously going wrong with one of London's most important transport links.

It is time that the Mayor provided proper answers and not just excuses over the running of the Jubilee line.

Mayor must get on top of the cable car project

Caroline Pidgeon, Leader of the Liberal Democrat London Assembly Group, commenting on the Mayor’s reply to her question at today's Mayor Question Time, asking when the Thames cable car will be open to passengers, said:

"For the Mayor to state that the cable car will be completed when 'it’s good and ready' is totally unbelievable.

"It is simply staggering that the Mayor is throwing around £57 million of public money at the Thames Cable Car yet is totally incapable of giving any assurance as to when it will be open. The Mayor should get on top of this flagship project.”

Mayor’s unbelievable latest broken promise over Jubilee Line

Caroline Pidgeon, Leader of the Liberal Democrat London Assembly Group, commenting on the Mayor’s admission made today at City Hall that substantial improvements in capacity on the Jubilee Line will only be completed by the Autumn, said:

“Passengers will find it truly unbelievable that there is yet another delay to when the Jubilee Line will be operating at full capacity, seven days a week.

“Today’s admission is the fourth broken promise made by the Mayor as to when improvements to the Jubilee Line will finally be completed.

Southeastern's Olympic cuts to train services challenged

Caroline Pidgeon has sharply criticised Southeastern's plans to scale back local train services during the 2012 Games. Commenting on Southeastern's proposals to reduce the frequency of some train services and to even remove some stations from their timetable, Caroline said:

"Ensuring more people can get into London to visit Olympic venues will of course create challenges for Southeastern, however Southeastern's approach to tackling these challenges is completely wrong. Putting on extra carriages and extra staff at stations is the best way to ensure that the needs of local commuters and visitors are both met, while ensuring a reliable service is also maintained.

"Southeastern must listen to the outrage they have created amongst residents in Greenwich and Deptford and back down over their completely daft proposals."