Scrutinising the Mayor articles

Boris says No to Brentfield bus petitioners

Caroline Pidgeon AM has joined Liberal Democrat councillors in Brent in expressing deep disappointment at the news that Boris Johnson has refused to act to provide more buses in the Brentfield Road area.

A huge petition from local residents was submitted to the Mayor by Liberal Democrats at a formal Question Time session last month.

Brentfield Road runs between Brent Park Tesco and Harlesden Station and is also home to the prestigious Neasden Temple, but is currently served by only two buses, the 206 and the PR2.

Transport for London also admitted recently that the frequency of buses on the PR2 route had deteriorated significantly in recent months.

Nevertheless, Mayor Boris Johnson replied to the Liberal Democrat-organised petition with a letter concluding: “TfL consider that Brentfield Road is adequately served by these routes and there are no plans at present to provide further bus services here.”

Lib Dem assembly member Caroline Pidgeon, the Chair of the Assembly's Transport Committee, said:
"There is clearly a huge demand for a bus in the Brentfield Road area and it is very disappointing that the Mayor refuses to listen to local people."

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.

More delays on 24-hour Freedom Pass for National Rail

In response to a question from Caroline Pidgeon, the Mayor has admitted that Freedom Pass users will not have free travel at all times of day on National Rail services by his target of January 2010. In fact, he does not even expect TfL to begin negotiating this with the train companies until Easter 2010!

Caroline Pidgeon said:
"It is very disappointing that there is still no end in site for Freedom Pass holders to be able to travel on rail before 9.30am. The Mayor promised a 24 hour Freedom Pass. He has not used his considerable influence to date to negotiate hard with the train companies, working with London Councils. He now needs to deliver it so that pensioners across the capital can all enjoy equal travel benefits."

More details of the story are on the MayorWatch website.

Disabled people should not be second class citizens on Ilford buses

The Mayor of London will soon be hearing about access problems facing wheelchair users on Ilford buses following a recent visit to Ilford by Caroline Pidgeon, the Liberal Democrat London Assembly Transport Spokesperson and Chair of the London Assembly Transport Committee.

On Wednesday (16th December) Caroline took up an invitation from Councillor Shoaib Patel to visit Ilford and find out at first hand some of the specific problems facing wheelchair users in using local buses, with a detailed briefing provided to her by wheelchair user Max Reid.

The issues raised with Caroline Pidgeon and Councillor Patel included ramps frequently not working or being too steep and also the lack of space on some buses for wheelchair users. Caroline Pidgeon and Councillor Patel also heard about the unhelpful attitude of some drivers towards disabled bus passengers.

Following the visit Caroline Pidgeon has promised to raise all the issues raised in Ilford with Boris Johnson through a series of written questions at the next Mayor’s Question Time in January.

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”.

Assembly urges Mayor to chase embassies for unpaid congestion charge fees

The London Assembly today called on the Mayor to demand payment from embassies in the capital owing outstanding fees and fines for the congestion charge.

A motion agreed by the Assembly urged the Mayor to write to the Head of State for each country that is refusing to pay the congestion charge and invite Ambassadors to explain their reasons for the refusal. The motion calls for responses to be published on the Greater London Authority website.

Proposing the motion, Caroline Pidgeon AM said:
"The American and other embassies that dodge payment of the congestion charge are insulting their host city and denying a valuable source of income to Transport for London."

"The congestion charge is not a tax and the vast majority of embassies clearly recognise this. The minority that decide to not follow the rules of this country must now explain in writing how they can justify their actions."

Caroline has "remorselessly pursued pedestrian safety issues" - Dave Hill

Dave Hill, in his blog on the Guardian website, discusses the lack of focus on pedestrians in Transport for London's planning. He praises Caroline Pidgeon's efforts in pressing Boris Johnson and TfL to uncover the number of London pedestrian crossings which are not up to standard:

Here are some useful facts. There are 2,244 signalled junctions in Greater London that include pedestrian crossing facilities, and 2,477 "stand alone" pedestrian crossings that have lights. Eleven percent of all signalled crossings lack either bleeping noises or tactile aids, which make them less safe for blind or partially sighted people. At the last count around 400 did not comply with the Department for Transport's most recent design standards, which TfL adopts, though work on correcting this seems to have accelerated in recent months.

These stats have been unearthed thanks largely to the persistence of London Assembly Liberal Democrat Caroline Pidgeon, who also chairs the assembly's transport committee. She has remorselessly pursued the issue of road-crossing safety with TfL and Boris Johnson.

You can read Dave Hill's full article here.

London Assembly takes a stand against Heathrow night flights

The London Assembly today sent a clear message that they are totally opposed to any attempt to allow night flights during the 2012 Olympic Games or at any other time.

A unanimously agreed motion urged Mayor Boris Johnson to write jointly with the Chair of the London Assembly to the Secretary of State for Transport and his relevant counterparts in the opposition parties to express their concerns.

Caroline Pidgeon AM, who amended the motion, said: "Many more Londoners than you might expect are affected by night flights. For example recent research from HACAN suggests that half of the top 12 boroughs affected by night noise are in east or south London.

“If night flights are allowed for the Olympics, it could set the precedent for the future. This motion sends a clear message that the London Assembly is against the derestriction of night flights and relaxation of noise controls.”


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