Scrutinising the Mayor articles

Brent still has three of London's worst bus routes

Through questions to the Mayor in the London Assembly, Liberal Democrat Caroline Pidgeon AM has revealed that around a third of the capital’s worst bus routes run through Brent.

The 220, 452 and 228 all fell within the ten worst performing routes in London, according to independent watchdog TravelWatch. The service on the 228 was singled out for particular concern by the Chair of London Travelwatch.

Are plans to get Londoners walking on the right track?

The Mayor has declared his intention to make 2011 the ‘year of walking’ and allocated millions of pounds to the cause, but will his proposals see more Londoners making their journeys on foot?

Caroline Pidgeon AM will lead an investigation on behalf of the Assembly’s Transport Committee to assess the effectiveness of current plans to get people walking and look at what more could be done.

Almost a quarter of all journeys in the capital are made on foot – nearly 6 million trips every day – making up nearly a third of the total time Londoners spend travelling. The Mayor’s Transport Strategy states that he wants to see the share of all journeys made on foot increase to 25 per cent by 2031 – an extra million journeys a day.

To help meet this target, the Mayor and Transport for London have allocated over £200 million over the next three years to ‘Better Streets’ - which includes schemes ranging from de-cluttering streets to pedestrianisation - and ‘Better Green and Water Spaces’ to improve access to London’s parks, rivers and canals.

Caroline Pidgeon AM said:
“The Mayor wants 2011 to be the ‘year of walking’ but to encourage more Londoners to make their journeys on foot he will have to carefully tailor his proposals and investment.

£8,000 wasted on unused Help Points at Neasden station

Caroline Pidgeon, Lib Dem leader in the London Assembly, has joined Brent Lib Dem councillors in criticising Transport for London's waste of £8,000 installing Help Points at Neasden tube station - and never putting them into use for passengers.

The Mayor recently confirmed in answer to a question from Caroline that Neasden is the only tube station to have had Help Points fitted which are then not used. He also confirmed that "on average the cost is £4,000 for the unit. The two disused Help Points at Neasden could have cost around £8,000 of taxpayers’ money.

The national Public Accounts Committee found that £410 million had been wasted by the former Labour Government by failing to properly risk manage of having various parts of the management of the Tube leased to the private sector on 30-year leases.

Parents of twins need space on buses!

The charity TAMBA (Twins and Multiple Births Association) has an article in its newsletter Multiple Matters, highlighting a question Caroline Pidgeon asked the Mayor on behalf of parents of twins:

Caroline Pidgeon:What instructions are bus drivers given about permitting buggies for twins to be taken on board London buses and for them to use the space for wheelchairs – as it is reported that many drivers are refusing to take such buggies until they are folded?

The Mayor:TfL advises drivers that passengers with double buggies can board by the centre doors, as it is too difficult for them to get on at the front. Passengers must ask the drivers permission first and show their ticket/pass or touch their Oyster card on the reader. Single buggies must board by the front door only. There may be occasions when it is necessary for a driver to ask a passenger with a buggy to fold it – for example if the bay is already occupied by another buggy or is required by a wheelchair user. Please forward any reports of drivers not allowing double buggies on board to TfL.

You can read the full article here.

Caroline questions the Mayor on motorcycle issues

The London Bikers website has a story on the questions Caroline has asked the Mayor about parking charges for motorbikes, and TfL's trial allowing motorcyclists to use bus lanes.

Caroline Pidgeon:
"What do you personally think about Westminster Council’s parking charges for motorcycles?"

Answer from the Mayor:
"My particular concern is about central London traffic congestion arising from recent demonstrations by motorcyclists congregating at Trafalgar Square. I would like to see the dispute resolved through common ground being found between WCC and motorcyclists around the operation of parking schemes in Westminster."

Caroline questions Mayor on shoddy Shepherd's Bush Market work

Local Shepherd's Bush blogger Chris Underwood covers Caroline Pidgeon's questions to the Mayor on the unsafe and defective work that Transport for London commissioned at Shepherd's Bush Market, which is sited on TfL-owned land.

19. “Shoddy” work in Shepherds Bush (1)
There have been recent media reports regarding the market traders in Shepherds Bush being furious about “shoddy” works carried out on TfL land which runs through Shepherds Bush market. What action has TfL taken in rectifying this?

20. “Shoddy” work in Shepherds Bush (2)
Will you investigate why the market traders in Shepherds Bush seem so unhappy about the expensive works that have been carried out on the path that runs through the market, and also investigate why the costs were so high for this job in the first place?

You can read Chris's full article here.

TfL payoffs are unjustified and unnecessary

The Evening Standard today quotes Caroline Pidgeon's criticism of the £6m that Transport for London under Boris Johnson has paid out in redundancy money to senior staff:

When TfL are facing such difficult financial challenges it is incredible that they are offering such generous redundancy payments to senior staff.

Making redundancies is never easy but such incredibly large pay-offs are neither justified or necessary.

You can read the full story here.

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.

Caroline backs 110 bus rerouting through Whitton

Caroline Pidgeon is backing a campaign by Vince Cable MP to reroute the 110 bus route through Whitton. Caroline has already received a huge petition of over 2000 signatures from local residents which she will present at Mayor's Question Time in May. In the meantime, she has also written to the Mayor urging him to consider extending the bus route.

Vince Cable has also this week met a delegation from Transport for London to persuade them of the case for the extended bus route.


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