Tag Archives: tfl

Baroness Sal Brinton writes…Why we should be concerned about the Uber app

Taxis on Oxford StreetThere’s been much in the media today about the Hackney Cab blockade/strike in London this afternoon, protesting to TfL and Boris Johnson about the licence that TfL have given Uber to set up an app for hailing minicabs.

This isn’t a turf war. It’s much more serious than that, and there are some highly political issues here too that affect anyone who uses a taxi.

photo by: sermoa
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London Liberal Democrats – helping those with the smallest pockets get to work

Last week Brian Paddick and I launched a fairer fares package ahead of this year’s London Mayoral and Assembly elections.

Boris Johnson has been Mayor of London since 2008. In just four years he has increased the cheapest bus fare from 90p to £1.35 – and he had planned to raise fares even further until the Coalition Government stepped in and helped limit the rise. As well as bus fares, the cost of travelling on the Tube, the Docklands Light Railway, the Croydon Tramlink and the London Overground have all soared under Mr Johnson’s mayoralty.

Of course there …

Posted in London and News | Also tagged , and | 10 Comments

Questions left hanging over Boris’s cable car

Conservative politicians spend much of their time criticising their Labour counterparts for the often-inefficient way in which they spend public money. This is often quite justifiable: the many billions wasted through disastrous PFI schemes, abandoned IT projects and expensive-but-pointless gimmicks under Labour are a shameful legacy.

But the gap between this Tory rhetoric and reality is often rather stark, and nowhere is this more evident than with the Mayor of London, Boris Johnson.

Take, for example, one of Boris’s pet projects of a cable car to transport people between the O2 arena and the Excel exhibition centre (both Olympic venues). Sounds like …

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Oyster Card survey shows heavy interest in cutting coverage or raising prices

During the week I got an email in my inbox asking me to take part in a survey on behalf of the Passenger Demand Forecasting Council (“a body consisting of Transport for London and other industry bodies”) about the future of the Oyster touch in/touch out travel card used in London.

The email went a little overboard in emphasising that the survey was just about finding out people’s attitudes and possible future behaviour and that there are no current plans etc etc. To which my obvious response was to wonder why they would be so keen to say this…

And looking through …

Posted in London | Also tagged and | 4 Comments

A tale of two holes – and a £39m price tag

In principle, I have no objection to people digging holes in the ground. Even very expensive holes. Potholes? Bad. But lift shafts, underground tunnels and other such excavations? Good. A big hole that loops back on itself and could* end the universe? That’ll do nicely. The combination of a hole, Bernard Cribbins and Lego? Excellent.

If I had to postulate a general theory of holes, I’d say that a hole that is not used is a bad hole. And two holes that are not used are doubly bad.

Which brings me to the question of the £39 million spent …

Posted in London | Also tagged , , , , and | 13 Comments

Transport for London offers up more data for free

Over the summer we reported the welcome news that Transport for London was making more of its data available for others to reuse:

It’s a smart move because it means the emphasis on working out how to make best use of the data shifts from TfL to the wider commercial sector. That means people can experiment (and fail) in a way that is much harder when politicians, media (and yes, bloggers) are looking over your shoulder waiting to shout “Waste of public money!” if an idea doesn’t pan out. It also means that Transport for London can concentrate on what it is (or should be) good at – running transport services, whilst letting those who are good at developing data services and marrying up different commercial ideas can do what they’re good at.

Posted in London | Also tagged | 6 Comments

Welcome news as London transport data opened up

As Wired reports:

Transport for London has announced that it’s lifting all restrictions on the commercial use of its data. The move could fuel an explosion in mobile apps that need access to the datasets, making them more attractive to developers who want to charge for their apps.

Currently, TfL offers up a selection of datasets, including live traffic cameras, Oyster card top-up locations, pier and station locations, cycle hire locations, and riverboat timetables. Some new data has been issued, including live tube travel info and departure boards, and the transport giant also plans to release further information on bus stops,

Posted in London and News | Also tagged | 9 Comments

London congestion charge: 2 August deadline for consultation

Transport for London is running a consultation on Mayor of London Boris Johnson’s plans to axe the western extension to the congestion charge zone, increase the daily charge, change the exemptions and introduce a discount for automated payments.

At heart this is the sort of consultation which gives the word a bad name: the big political decision to axe the western extension has been made, the public had their chance to cast a verdict on it via the ballot box and now this ‘consultation’ is a bit of process that no-one really believes could change Boris Johnson’s mind.

However, there are also …

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Glenda Jackson: Labour’s worst ever transport minister?

Current Secretary of Sate for Transport, Lord Adonis rightly gets praise from across the political spectrum. Although there’s by no means cross-party agreement on some transport issues (think Heathrow for a start), Adonis is generally respected even when he is disagreed with. Whilst he has an extremely strong claim to have been the best Labour transport minister since 1997, some of the competition for that accolade is not exactly stiff.

Indeed, the publication a few days ago of another cross-party Select Committee report into the failings of part-privatisation on the London Underground reminds me of just how bad Labour MP Glenda …

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Road safety advice for Londoners: avoid Boris’s bike

You might expect the Chair of the Metropolitan Police Authority and the Chair of Transport for London to be a law-abiding, safety-conscious example to the rest of us.

Not when it’s London Mayor, Boris Johnson. At the recent “People’s Question Time” in Croydon, this was his answer to the decline of the traditional English pub:

“I have just one idea, if more people rode bicycles and fewer people drove cars you would not have to worry about the drink driving laws and I sincerely believe that. I have absolutely no prohibition about drinking a pint of two of beer

Posted in London and News | Also tagged , and | 2 Comments

Why giving out your web address may not be such a good idea

Over the last few months, Transport for London has been running a series of adverts, principally on tubes, buses, stations and shelters encouraging people to behave responsibly when using their services and encouraging people to visit their site www.togetherforlondon.org.

However, the website side of the campaign has been criticised for getting only derisory amounts of traffic with, for example, only 12 ideas posted up during December. Or as an Evening Standard story put it before Christmas:

An official website hailed as “Facebook for commuters” was branded a disaster by experts today.

Together for London was billed as a forum where travellers could work together to improve the capital’s transport system. Yet two months after a high-profile launch by Transport for London, the site is a virtual ghost town.

So what went wrong? And what are the lessons which also apply to advertising political sites?

Posted in Online politics | Also tagged | 6 Comments

Bus prices go up – Transport for London runs posters saying they’ve gone down

A quiz question for you: back in September last year, Transport for London increased the price of a single bus ticket using an Oyster from 90p to £1. So what would you expect to see on posters on London buses during the last week?

(Pssst: the headline to this post may give you a clue.)

Yup, they are running a series of posters (spotted on more than one bus) saying Oyster single tickets have gone down in price:

Bus prices have gone up, but the posters say they've been cut

Posted in London | Also tagged and | 3 Comments

Opinion: Boris Johnson’s transport strategy – a flailing mass of contradictions

A quick journey into the fantasyland that London’s City Hall has become leaves one quite simply lost for words. When in the past under Livingstone there was a degree of discipline, vision and planning (tempered of course by a slight whiff of the unusual) backing up the policies of Transport for London, we now have confusion, contradiction and incoherence flowing out of every orifice, from Boris’s mouth and advisers to TfL’s own offices.

The most amazing part of this farce is the manner in which Londoners seem to passively sit by and watch while London’s transport policy falls apart at the hands of a Conservative Mayor egged on by indifferent Tory Greater London Authority members representing the vested interests of Outer London. In City Hall, the only concept relevant is political mileage – even if the cost is throwing away the future of London by killing years of necessary investment and replacing it with a mass of spin, nonsense and re-launches.

The most dangerous part of London’s new transport policy is the very fact that it makes no sense whatsoever. Boris may portray himself as a man of some intelligence, but it is deeply unfortunate that his policies seem to spell out intellectual and logical bankruptcy. What Boris has managed to achieve in his time in office so far is to reduce future capacity and increase fares at a time of soaring demand for public transport. He has cancelled alternatives to the Tube and Bus in the form of the Oxford Street and Cross River Tram lines- promising extra bus services – while at the same time making this virtually impossible by ‘brooding’ over the scrapping of the congestion charge.

He has committed himself to regenerating East London and the Thames Gateway while at the same time scrapping nearly every single project that would help achieve that aim. When taken one at a time, his new ‘vision’ for transport in London sounds rather terrific – fewer cars, more bikes, improved Tube. However, when aggregated together, it becomes a flailing mass of contradictions.

How, I might ask, are we supposed to reconcile more bus services and a possible lack of a congestion charge with increased bicycle use? Or, alternatively, how on earth will London cope with massive population growth without improving its capacity to move people from A to B? Put simply, TfL is now advocating a policy of zero expansion in the face of rising demand, preferring instead to ‘spin’ new capacity out of nowhere rather than actually pick up tools and spend money to build it.

Not that you would hear this from TfL, if you actually bother reading the spin that comes out of that particular part of Boris’s empire. Apparently, new Tube upgrades will result in capacity increases of up to 40% on some lines. This forms one of the key arguments made against projects that the Liberal Democrats and Liberal Youth support like the Cross River Tram – there is no need for it, as Tube capacity is going to ‘increase substantially’ thanks to ‘improvements’ to the Northern line. Boris seems to completely miss the plot here. Given the fact that the Tube is already overcrowded and full to the brim, surely this is merely expanding capacity to cover demand that is currently unmet?

Posted in London and Op-eds | Also tagged and | 1 Comment

Boris Johnson and Transport for London’s financial secrecy over Oyster

An interesting little question and answer from the London Assembly:

Q. What has been the cost to the taxpayer of TfL buying ownership of the Oyster brand? (Caroline Pidgeon)

A. Under the terms of the recent agreement between TfL, Electronic Data Systems and Cubic Transportation Systems TfL agreed to treat this information as being commercially confidential.

Certainly getting ownership of the Oyster brand could bring lots of benefits (though it raises the question of how it ended up in private hands in the first place and on what terms).

Spending 50p on it would be  a bargain. Spending £500 million would be a …

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Brian Coleman’s record on road safety

Brian Coleman, a Conservative member of the London Assembly and Barnet councillor, is known for three things: his huge taxi bills claimed on expenses, his frequent controversial outbursts (such as here, here and here) and his dislike of road humps and other road safety measures. The first two get most of the attention, but how does his approach to road safety stack up?

First up: Partingdale Lane, where I’ll let Wikipedia do the talking as its piece (at the time of writing) has the detailed, sourced story:

Coleman

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Wards Corner: another u-turn from Boris Johnson

Wards Corner in Tottenham is the site of one of those markets, deeply rooted in the local community and highly distinctive, that add so much to its surrounding area. This gem of a market, with a strong Latin American flavour, is not that well known, and as a result the plans to demolish it haven’t got as wide regional attention as they would have for its more famous cousins around London. (You can, though. watch a BBC TV report here.)

However, that may now change with a dramatic u-turn from London Mayor Boris Johnson, dropping his previous support for opponents …

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Boris Johnson loses another Deputy Mayor

As the Evening Standard puts it:

Tim Parker stood down as chief of staff when Mr Johnson stripped him of his role of running Transport for London from next month.

Mr Parker is the second of Mr Johnson’s deputies to leave since May and the third senior aide to go. Deputy mayor Ray Lewis was forced to stand down after wrongly claiming he was a magistrate and senior political strategist James McGrath quit over a race row. The appointment of Mr Parker, 52, one of the City’s most successful private equity businessmen, was seen as a

Posted in London and News | Also tagged | 1 Comment

What’s the party up to? Peter Riddell thinks he knows

Peter Riddell writes today,

If you want to understand what the Liberal Democrats are up to, look outside London. Over the past fortnight several local papers have published almost identical stories in which the Lib Dems say that they are shifting resources to target Labour seats in their area. Nick Clegg is quoted as saying that if only x voters shift from Labour to the Lib Dems (usually less than 10 per cent), they will win Swansea West, Derby North, Hull North, Norwich South, Liverpool Wavertree, Warrington South, City of Durham, Blaydon, Newcastle North

Posted in News | 4 Comments



Recent Comments

  • User AvatarNorman Fraser 21st Aug - 10:46pm
    Caron, the Liberal Democrats in government have done a good number of things that make my "liberal collies wobble". In fact, they've done a considerable...
  • User AvatarCaron Lindsay 21st Aug - 10:06pm
    Lin, I respect you and John both. We're all liberals and we have to come to our own conclusions on this very important vote. Because...
  • User AvatarCaron Lindsay 21st Aug - 10:02pm
    John, you just need to read anything I've written on welfare reform or immigration to know that I agree with you on that. But what...
  • User AvatarJohn Barrett 21st Aug - 9:48pm
    Allan - you have got it completely wrong. If I had wanted to be elected anywhere I would have remained at Westminster where I had...
  • User AvatarLin Macmillan 21st Aug - 9:41pm
    I too have a great deal of respect for John Barrett, and I know that he has thought long and hard before he has come...
  • User AvatarRichard Dean 21st Aug - 9:25pm
    For instance, the LDFI might have responded with something like this ... http://www.conservativehome.com/platform/2014/08/dr-rachel-joyce-hamas-are-working-against-the-interests-of-the-palestinian-people.html Is it true?