Scrutinising the Mayor articles

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.”

Cycle Friday - a costly flop

Just 436 people took part in the Mayor’s Cycle Friday events - costing the taxpayer nearly £70 per cyclist, according to answers provided by Boris Johnson to Caroline Pidgeon, the Liberal Democrat London Assembly Transport Spokesperson. Some rides saw only two or three cyclists turn up!

In a written answer to Caroline Pidgeon, the Mayor has admitted that the Cycle Friday events attracted only a handful of people over the eight weeks that they ran. Even a belated attempt to revive interest through the launch of a prize draw was a complete failure, with just 43 people entering the Londonwide competition. Attendance at the Cycle Friday events was also lowest at the end of the eight weeks.

Caroline Pidgeon commented:
"Cycle Fridays have sadly been a costly flop. The Mayor boldly predicted that thousands of commuters would take part but in the end only a few did.

London press covers Dial-a-Ride failures

The London press has given wide coverage to the failures of TfL's Dial-a-Ride service, revealed by Caroline Pidgeon's questioning of the Mayor.

Caroline commented then that:

“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."

The story has been covered in:

'Fares' is the one word Boris dare not utter

Caroline Pidgeon, the Liberal Democrat London Assembly Transport Spokesperson, commenting on Boris Johnson’s speech at the Conservative Party Conference, said:

“Boris Johnson can try to peddle the line in Manchester that he is controlling costs and giving Londoners a good deal. However, there was one vital word missing from the Mayor’s speech – fares.


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