London-wide + Harrow stories

Rail companies must improve their response to snow

Following the chaos on London's railways during this winter's snow, the London Assembly Transport Committee has written to the Secretary of State for Transport, asking for a national review of the rail industry's performance in bad weather to cover:

  • Rail operators’ and Network Rail’s contingency plans
  • Modification of trains and tracks so they can cope in icy conditions, for example using 'third rail' technology
  • Better information and compensation arrangements for passengers, with a consistent and transparent industry-wide standard

Every Londoner now owed £5 by embassies evading the Congestion Charge

Caroline Pidgeon, the Liberal Democrat London Assembly transport spokesperson, has revealed that each and every Londoner is now owed £5 by embassies that evade paying the Congestion Charge. For the first time ever the total unpaid bill for non-payment of Congestion Charge and Penalty Charge Notices now exceeds £40 million.

Through repeated questioning, Caroline Pidgeon has obtained figures from the Mayor showing that the amount owed by embassies soared during 2009 by more than 40%, with the unpaid bill rising by £1 million every month. At the very start of the 2010 the total unpaid bill from embassies stood at £39 million, compared to an unpaid bill of £26 million at the same time last year.

Commenting on these new figures, Caroline Pidgeon said:
"It is shameful that a minority of embassies continue to evade paying the Congestion Charge. British diplomats respect the law of other countries and it is only right that diplomats do the same in this country.

London Assembly calls on Mayor to guarantee the future of London's buses

The London Assembly Transport Committee has launched a report, The Future Of London's Buses, setting out a number of questions to the Mayor about how he will guarantee the future of the capital’s world-class bus service despite large cuts to the bus subsidy.

The report captures a range of views expressed at a seminar hosted by the Committee to debate both the benefits of the bus service and how any changes to it would impact on Londoners.

Buses are by far the most popular mode of public transport in London, catering for nearly two billion journeys each year. However, despite a growing population, and for the first time in several decades, the bus network is not anticipated to expand at all between now and 2012. Over the next eight years, the bus subsidy will be cut by a third, from £700 million in 2008/09 to £450 million in 2017/18.

London Assembly criticises government cuts to Freedom Pass plans

The London Assembly has called on the Mayor to persuade the Government to meet its original commitment to contribute funds to London boroughs to help them meet the costs of extending off-peak free bus travel to people who do not live in London.

A motion agreed today deplored the government's decision to halve this contribution, and urged the Mayor to put pressure on the government to abandon their U-turn and honour the agreement they originally made.

The Mayor just doesn't understand bus travel

The Mayor of London has rejected the proposal of a One Hour Bus Ticket despite recent unanimous support for the proposal from the London Assembly.

In response to a letter from Caroline Pidgeon, the Liberal Democrat London Assembly transport spokesperson and Chair of the London Assembly Transport Committee, the Mayor has stated that he has “no plans to introduce such a scheme”.

London Lib Dems slam the government on Freedom Pass cuts

London Lib Dems have reacted angrily to news that the concessionary fares scheme in London will be cut by £29m this coming year.

It is yet another clear sign that Gordon Brown has given up on London, choosing to sacrifice capital seats for marginals elsewhere in the country.

London taxpayers have always paid for the Freedom Pass, which covers pensioner travel on all forms of transport. But when the Government introduced the national free bus scheme, they agreed to contribute to the cost and cover journeys made by tourists and neighbours.

Petition to save the threatened Freedom Pass

Plans uncovered by London Councils show Government proposals to cut funding for the popular Freedom Pass - the scheme that gives older people and disabled residents free travel across London.

The government plans to seize £50 million from London to shore up funding gaps in other parts of England. Unlike other parts of the country that receive 100% of the costs of the free travel scheme, in London local council tax payers pay a third. These government cuts would reduce that support to 50%.

London Assembly calls for One Hour Bus Ticket

The London Assembly today overwhelmingly agreed a motion calling on the Mayor to explore a proposal to introduce a ‘one hour bus ticket’ to be available on ‘Pay As You Go’ Oyster cards.

The proposal, which would enable passengers to use more than one bus during a 60-minute period without paying more than £1.00, would be more affordable and convenient for Londoners using public transport.

Caroline Pidgeon AM, who proposed today’s original motion, said:
“You can already switch from tube to tube on the same ticket, so it makes real sense to allow people to do the same with buses. It really is unfair that people who use Oyster pay as you go have to pay a new fare every time they change buses.

"One hour bus tickets already operate successfully in Paris, Rome and Brussels. It is now time London caught up and gave bus users a fair deal.

The Mayor hits the wallets and purses of millions of Londoners

Caroline Pidgeon, the Liberal Democrat London Assembly Transport Spokesperson and Chair of the London Assembly Transport Committee, commenting on the Mayor’s fare package for 2010 which is hiking up tube and bus fares and cutting bus and tube services in outer London, said:

"For the second year in a row the Mayor is punishing Londoners with an inflation busting increase in fares. Incredibly even a short bus journey involving just one change will set people back £2.40.

"People in outer London will be particularly aggrieved to be paying even more for a poorer service.

Dial-a-Ride fails disabled people across London

Disabled and elderly people across the whole of London have faced a growing number of refused trips from Transport for London’s Dial-a-Ride service.

Following extensive questioning by Caroline Pidgeon, the Liberal Democrat London Assembly Transport Spokesperson, the Mayor has been forced to release figures showing that over the last two years there has been more than a 50% increase in the number of trips refused to disabled and elderly people who rely on the Dial-a-Ride service.

Commenting on the figures, Caroline Pidgeon said:
“Three years ago Transport for London promised disabled Londoners a far better deal from Dial-a-Ride. They specifically promised that the number of refused trips would halve in just two years. Yet instead of falling the number of refused trips have actually gone up by more than 50%. It is simply appalling every day of the year more than 400 trips are now refused to Dial-a-Ride users.

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