London-wide + Hounslow stories

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.

Caroline campaigns with Ealing and Hounslow Lib Dems for better Turnham Green services

Caroline Pidgeon, Lib Dem London Assemly Member, joined local Liberal Democrats for a large 'demo' outside Turnham Green Tube Station, continuing the Lib Dems' their campaign to get Piccadilly Line tubes to stop there all day.

Councillor Gary Malcolm handed a document to Caroline Pidgeon, which she will pass to the Mayor of London asking for a meeting to discuss the possibilities of a 6 month trial to extend the short early morning and late evening stops at the station (which are often unannounced so customers either get to the wrong destination or miss out).

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.

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.

Caroline backs court challenge over Heathrow third runway

Caroline Pidgeon has backed a High Court action launched by local authorities, green groups and residents' groups, challenging the government's decision to approve a third runway and sixth terminal at Heathrow Airport.

The coalition’s lawyers will be claiming in court that the consultation process was fundamentally flawed, that the decision to expand Heathrow is at odds with the UK’s overall climate change targets, and that the number of measures introduced to pass the plans through Parliament mean the expansion is fundamentally different to the proposals on which the Government consulted the public in 2007. The Transport Department’s lawyers are now claiming the new measures were not part of the decision to expand Heathrow.

If the coalition wins, the decision to proceed with the runway may be overturned.

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.

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