London-wide + Harrow stories

Crossrail go-ahead is great news for all Londoners

Caroline Pidgeon, Leader of the Liberal Democrat London Assembly Group, commenting on the announcement in today’s Comprehensive Spending Review that Crossrail will go ahead, said:

“This is good news for London and Londoners. When difficult short term decisions are having to be made in so many areas it is excellent news that long term plans to improve transport in London have not been compromised.

Assembly urges Mayor to rethink Tube ticket office staff cuts

The London Assembly has called on the Mayor and Transport for London (TfL) to rethink plans to cull up to 800 jobs on the Underground because of the adverse affects for passengers.

The Assembly believes the proposed cuts will damage customer service and leave passengers feeling less safe at stations where only one member of staff is present, particularly early in the morning and late at night.

Ticket office hours will be reduced, forcing people into long queues for ticket machines. This will especially disadvantage passengers with disabilities who find it difficult to use the machines and who rely on Underground staff for assistance when travelling by Tube.

Jubilee line upgrade cost up to £12m

The Harrow Observer, the News Shopper and the Docklands24 papers all report on the revelation that the Jubilee line upgrade works have led to up to £12m in lost ticket revenue, as Boris Johnson admitted when responding to a question from Caroline Pidgeon.

In the News Shopper, Caroline says:

The upgrade of the Jubilee Line has turned out to be a case study in exactly how not to upgrade the tube.

There is now overwhelming evidence that carefully planned blockades of short sections of the tube for two or three weeks would be a far better way to upgrade the tube than the expensive fiasco of literally years and years of weekend closures.

You can read full coverage in the Harrow Observer, the News Shopper and at Docklands24.

Just what is the real cost of the Jubilee Line upgrade fiasco?

After years of disruption on the Jubilee Line further evidence has now come to light revealing some of the real costs from years of weekend closures on the tube line.

Following extensive questioning by Caroline Pidgeon, leader of the Liberal Democrat London Assembly Group, the Mayor has admitted that Transport for London has already lost between £10 to £12 million in ticket revenue due to the saga of continual weekend closures. Incredibly the Mayor is unable to even estimate what the final bill in lost ticket revenue will reach before the upgrades are ultimately completed.

Questioning the Mayor on cycle hire glitches

The BBC reports on the Mayor's responses to questioning from Caroline Pidgeon AM, the London Assembly Lib Dem leader, revealing the impact of glitches in the launch of the cycle hire scheme.

Question: Has any money been returned to Barclays since the start of the scheme for any reason?

Answer from the Mayor: The Barclays Cycle Hire sponsor agreement does incorporate measures to reflect the success of the scheme. The precise details however are commercially sensitive.

Why is the Mayor paying £500 a second for celebrity bike videos?

The BBC report on their website that written questions from Lib Dem London Assembly leader Caroline Pidgeon forced the Mayor to admit that TfL has paid celebrities £5,000 each for 10-second appearances in videos to promote the cycle hire scheme.

Caroline says:

It is scandalous that the Mayor is splashing out our money on frivolous celebrity videos, paying them £500 a second, when Londoners are facing huge hikes in fares.

The Mayor needs to get a grip.

Read the full article here.

Transport for All’s protest against ticket office closures

Caroline joined members of Transport for All outside City Hall on Wednesday 8th September as they protested against the proposed cuts to staff at tube stations. The Mayor is looking to reduce ticket office opening hours by around 7500 hours every week across the capital, and up to 800 staff may lose their jobs.

“For many people with disabilities and those with other mobility issues, the idea of reduced staffing at stations is simply unacceptable. The suggestion that machines can substitute someone in a ticket office when, for example, you might have a problem with your Oyster card, or need a boundary ticket, is just wrong. I am very supportive of flexible staff who can be out in the ticket hall helping passengers and then go into the ticket office to issue a ticket and help with fares advice as needed. The Mayor and TfL need to rethink their plans now” commented Caroline Pidgeon AM.

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.”

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.