Thursday, 18 November 2010

Boris Johnson's "waterborne tube line" sinks at a rate of knots

I'm glad to see that a rare bout of common sense has broken out in the Mayor's office.

Asked by Caroline Pidgeon yesterday whether he would fight against dramatic cuts to the evening river service, Boris Johnson replied that:

"I don't propose to do anything to intervene here with Thames Clippers or to pour public subsidy into keeping the service going after nine o'clock"

Before explaining to a Tory enthusiast that:

"we are already subsidising passengers on the river quite considerably. We're subsidising more for instance than we are passengers on the buses. There is a limit to the amount of taxpayers money that you can pour into the River Thames."

Which is exactly what I have been arguing here on this blog for some time:

The river service whilst great fun to use, will never be a mass transport option for the simple reason that it is a far more expensive, slow and meandering option to get into town than the alternatives.

And when the government are slashing transport subsidies, the last thing the Mayor should do is pour even more money into a little used and inefficient service.

Of course being a politician, the Mayor has occasionally pandered to a number of special interest groups, not least of which is the "riverbus" lobby.

And amongst that group there are those who naively believed him when he told them that he backed a "dramatic expansion of the Thames Clipper commuter riverboat service."

Why they allowed themselves to believe this I can only guess although I suspect it may have something to do with a deep dislike of using the buses and trains with the rest of us.

So while I wish them well in their lobbying efforts, it seems the most they can hope for is a few extra signs and the occasional pat on the head from the man holding the purse strings.

1 comment:

greg tingey said...

All well and good ...
But what then, about the completely bonkers and expensive and STUPID idea for a cable-car not-quite-connecting North Greenwich with Prince Regent?