Conference: fast-track Britain

Liberal Democrat Voice at Conference

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I have two confessions to make.

(1) I am a dabbling transport nerd (favourite London bus route: the 91/N91, and did you know that when the Piccadilly Line was extended in the thirties a public board was put up on the site of the now-Arnos Grove station inviting the public to make suggestions for the name – wouldn’t get that in top-down 21st-century Britain)

(2) Despite (1) I didn’t actually manage to watch the debate with anything like the attention it deserved as I was busily engaged in mainlining Day Nurse.

This is a shame, because the two amendments to the all-singing, all-dancing policy paper were both very interesting.

Amendment 1 would have altered the proposal for maintaining and refining  the train operator franchise system, instead allowing existing franchises to end and then, well, nationalising the railways again. It’s not often an amendment makes that bold a stroke to policy fundamentals. This was moved by Mick Taylor, who spoke, I think, from much the same ideological convictions as he did in support of the Make it Happen amendment yesterday.

Amendment 2 sought to tackle women’s fear of using public transport, by encouraging redesign and modification of public spaces on the transport network, ensuring availability of emergency phones and piloting schemes to allow women (and vulnerable individuals, though I am unclear what criteria this might involve) off buses in between designated stops at night.

Jo Christie-Smith didn’t get to speak in support of the amendment, and her planned speech is here.

Both were defeated – amendment 2 being a close call with two shows of hands – and the motion was carried.

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This entry was posted in Conference.


  • Oooh… yuk! How can the 91 be your favourite bus route? Go 38!

  • dreamingspire 18th Sep '08 - 8:04am

    As only a visitor to London, the 11 is impressive.
    If you don’t have enough space to terminate buses in the city centre, the operator needs to have additional buses available nearby to launch when there is a gap, instead of just whinging (and getting away with it) about congestion.
    Talk of moving much of the country closer to contract services as in London but with a reduced cost burden is gaining ground – but not with the present DfT managing it, and the current Transport Bill doesn’t look good enough to support it.

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