London-wide + Harrow stories

Dial-A-Ride service is still inconsistent and unreliable

As the London Assembly's Transport Committee publishes its report on the shortcomings of TfL's Dial-A-Ride service for people with disabilities, the committee's deputy chair, Caroline Pidgeon AM, has commented:
"It cannot be right that Dial-a-Ride is providing fewer journeys than it did eight years ago but is spending 70 per cent more on the service.

"The improvements to some aspects of the service are welcome, but it’s disappointing that people are still experiencing some of the same old problems with the booking system.

"People rely on Dial-a-Ride and are entitled to expect a consistent and reliable service. I urge Transport for London to take the necessary steps to make this a reality."

Caroline visits Met Specialist Training Centre

On Friday 25th June, Caroline joined other members of the Metropolitan Police Authority on a visit to their specialist firearms training centre in Gravesend.

The Centre includes two mocked up towns with housing, shops and businesses, as well as a train carriage, to allow police officers to be trained in all aspects of incidents which may involve the use of firearms. There are also several ranges for testing skills and for mocked up incidents, as well as a high tech interactive system.

“The level of intensive training that Met Police Officers receive in order to become firearm officers is incredibly high. The day at the centre really showed me how quickly officers have to assess situations and make decisions on how best to act” commented Caroline Pidgeon.

Caroline highlights 300 unsafe pedestrian crossings

Caroline Pidgeon, leader of the Liberal Democrats in the London Assembly, writes in a letter to the Evening Standard:

Anyone reading your story on the trial of countdown indicators at pedestrian crossings might think that crossings routinely allow more time than necessary for pedestrians to cross. The reality is often very different ...

Read the full letter here.

Stanmore station needs real action on step-free access

Lib Dem London Transport Spokesperson Caroline Pidgeon AM joined Harrow East Lib Dem campaigner Nahid Boethe at Stanmore station in the run up to the General Election to look at the serious issue of step free access. Harrow Liberal Democrats were collecting signatures for a petition to make the station properly step free. Despite the station being described as 'step free' the reality is that at Stanmore Tube station wheelchair users not only face a very long journey to access the ramp but they also face a step between the platform and the trains.

"It is just disgraceful that at present there are no plans to improve access at Stanmore tube station until 2016 at the earliest. This situation is totally unacceptable, especially as the station is widely used by patients from across London who need to visit the Royal National Orthopaedic Hospital" commented Caroline Pidgeon.

End of PPP is welcome, but the Mayor must now put passengers first

Caroline Pidgeon, the Liberal Democrat London Assembly Transport Spokesperson, commenting on the Mayor’s plans to end PPP for the London Underground, said:

“I welcome the end of the PPP deal, which has proved to be a huge mistake for both the taxpayer and travellers.

“More details are now desperately needed. Instead of warm words the Mayor must now step up to the plate with a detailed plan as to how he will deliver on tube improvements.

Boris's broken promise over later Tube opening

In an Evening Standard article on Boris Johnson's failure to meet his election pledge to extend Tube opening hours on Friday and Saturday nights, Caroline Pidgeon comments:

Extending Tube opening hours across the whole underground on Friday and Saturday nights was one of the most high-profile promises that Boris Johnson made to Londoners to secure his election. Yet so far he has not added a minute to the opening hours of even one line.

Visiting Tubelines to review the Northern line upgrade

Caroline joined fellow Liberal Democrat parliamentary candidates at a visit to Edgware on Thursday 1st April to see the upgrade works for the Northern line trains. Run by private partner Tubelines, the delegation talked to Tubelines staff about the problems with the proposed closures to the Northern line whilst it is upgraded and discussed other options such as closing smaller bits of the line for a week or two at a time to get the works done quickly and without damaging business for many traders as well as local residents.

“It was very interesting to see the upgrade works to the trains, in particular the huge amount of cabling that is hidden behind the walls of the trains! I hope that Tubelines and Transport for London will get together and find a way forward so that we can get the upgrades done as quickly and painlessly as possible for the sake of Londoners” added Caroline.

Roadworks make Londoners' journeys unpredictable and horrendously slow

The Evening Standard reports on the disruption caused to drivers and bus passengers by the major roadworks which affect thousands of roads in London every day.

Caroline Pidgeon is quoted saying:

London's road network has probably never faced so much disturbance. For too many people their daily journeys are both unpredictable and horrendously slow.

As well as bridge and tunnel closures, thousands of roads are being dug up by Thames Water, not to mention other utility companies.

The Jubilee Line deserves later opening hours

The Mayor has been urged to deliver on his pledge to Londoners to extend the tube’s opening hours on Friday and Saturday nights, starting with the Jubilee Line, at today’s Mayor’s Question Time (Wednesday 17th March).

Caroline Pidgeon, the Liberal Democrat London Assembly Transport Spokesperson, reminded the Mayor of his specific election pledge to extend the opening hours of the whole tube network for one hour later on both Friday and Saturday nights.

Speaking after her question to the Mayor she said:
“The Mayor was elected promising to extend the opening hours of the whole tube network. It is now time he honoured his pledge, starting with the Jubilee Line, where the upgrade works be completed this year.

“Everyone who uses this line has already faced months of inconvenience and many traders that rely on weekend and evening business have been hit for six. If there is one line that deserves to benefit from longer hours it must be the Jubilee Line.

Oyster passengers overcharged £500,000 a month

In an article for the Lib Dem Voice website, Caroline Pidgeon describes how anomalies in the Oyster card system result in Londoners being overcharged by £500,000 a month when they travel on National Rail services:

This week at City Hall I was accused by Boris Johnson of being a “negative Liberal Democrat” when I dared to question him over some of the problems that have happened as a result of the extension of Oyster Pay as You Go to national rail services across London.

Well I stand by my questioning of the Mayor as there is no doubt that a huge number of Londoners are not getting the best deal that Oyster could deliver. There are serious anomalies in how the system operates, and the full benefits of the technology are simply not being delivered. Most significantly many people using Oyster on the trains, whether they are Londoners or visitors, are being overcharged, sometimes by quite large amounts. This January alone it is estimated that 32,000 passengers were overcharged a total of half a million pounds.

Read the full article here.