Transport articles

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.

Dial-A-Ride "relaunch" leaves users cut off

Recently Caroline Pidgeon highlighted failures in TfL's Dial-A-Ride service for disabled Londoners.

In October, TfL "relaunched" the service - and published a new phone number to report any problems. But two weeks after the relaunch, this feedback line still has not been connected, leaving users with no way to tell TfL about any issues with Dial-A-Ride.

Caroline Pidgeon said:

If the Mayor simply ensured that Dial-a-Ride users were listened to he would not make the insulting claim that Dial-a-Ride's service is continuing to improve.

It is already bad enough that Dial-a-Ride users face extensive delays in booking trips but now every day 400 trips are refused to Dial-a-Ride users across London - a figure far higher than two or three years ago.

Freedom Pass cuts - a double whammy for Londoners

Caroline Pidgeon, the Liberal Democrat London Assembly Transport Spokesperson and Chair of the London Assembly Transport Committee, commenting on the Department of Transport’s new consultation on the national bus concession in England, which proposes to remove almost £29 million of funding for London’s Freedom Pass, said:

“After Boris Johnson’s decision to hike bus fares by 20% Londoners now face a double whammy with this savage cut in funding for the Freedom Pass.

“London is the only major city in the country to be hit by these Government proposals. Hard up London council taxpayers, who are already facing a steep rise in fares, will now have to pay even more in their council tax to maintain London’s Freedom Pass.

“This is an outrageous proposal by the Labour Government who are insulting London’s pensioners, disabled people, as well as council taxpayers across the capital."

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%.

Metronet needs an independent watchdog

Responding to this morning's announcement that the Mayor of London will appoint a panel to monitor the progress of London Underground in managing the Metronet contracts for upgrading the Tube, Caroline Pidgeon AM, Liberal Democrat Transport spokesperson and Chair of the London Assembly's Transport Committee said:

"It is appalling that Boris Johnson will be judge and jury in this case by being allowed to appoint all the members of a supposedly "independent" panel to monitor London Underground's work. These Panel members will have to be approved by the Transport Minister, but if in a few months the minister happens to be a Conservative, where's the independence in that?

Caroline joins cross-party campaign for better access to Finsbury Park station

Caroline joined local campaigners in Islington on Monday 26 October to support the launch of their access to Finsbury Park station campaign.

The Mayor of London has announced the deferral of many step free access schemes at various tube stations all over the capital including Finsbury Park in Islington.

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.

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.

Caroline joins cross-party campaign against Lewisham rail cuts

Caroline Pidgeon joined a cross party group to speak out against planned cuts to Lewisham's local rail services, and to take their campaign to Government ministers.

The South London Press reported on the campaign here.

The group have also written a letter to the South London Press, setting out their stance:

Dear Sir,

We are deeply concerned by the proposed deep cuts to already overcrowded train services run by Southern Railways via Sydenham, Forest Hill, Honor Oak Park, Brockley and New Cross Gate. Passengers are rightly outraged by these cuts and concerned that an already overcrowded and unpleasant commute will turn into a daily nightmare.

Caroline puts pressure on TfL over dangeorus Clapham Common junction

Caroline Pidgeon AM recently visited the dangerous Cavendish Road Junction with Clapham Common Southside with local campaigner Chris Nicholson, Lib Dem Cllr Darren Saunders and Transport for London engineers.

“We witnessed people trying desperately to cross this complicated and busy junction without a clue as to which way traffic might move next” commented Caroline.

“The whole junction just does not work and means residents have to take real risks just to get across the road. TfL have agreed to see if the cones on the traffic lights can be reduced in length so at least pedestrians can see the colour of the traffic lights and to look to rework the whole junction to make it easier for pedestrians. This will take a while for the various options to be worked up. We will keep up the pressure to make this area safer for local people” added Caroline.


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