Tuesday, 6 December 2011

Why Boris Johnson isn't trusted on transport

The latest Mayoral poll while generally good news for Boris Johnson shows that when it comes to transport, most Londoners simply don't trust him.

The reason for this should be obvious. Just take a look at his manifesto from 2008:

"after eight years of a Labour Mayor, we too often spend our mornings and evenings in cramped, overcrowded carriages or sitting for hours in traffic, and we pay the highest fares in Europe."

And after almost four years of a Tory Mayor we still spend our mornings and evenings in cramped and overcrowded carriages, and now pay even higher fares than before.

"We have had to watch as vital reports and fresh ideas have been suppressed, while this Labour Mayor has pursued far-flung projects, completely out of touch with Londoners’ concerns."

Unlike Boris's totally in-touch airport in Kent and totally down-to-earth cable car over the Thames.

"I will also re-instate tidal flow in the Blackwall tunnel at the earliest opportunity."

"I will commission a trial of orbital express bus routes for outer London."

Trial commissioned. No new buses.

"I will vigorously oppose the Government’s plans to increase the Dartford crossing toll, and campaign for residents in neighbouring London boroughs to be given a discount"

No discount given.

"I want the Tube to open for one hour later on Friday and Saturday nights, so Londoners can get home safely late at night."

"I will also fight for the long-term investment that London needs, for projects such as a tram for Oxford Street"

"I will look to reduce the disruption caused by strikes on the Tube by negotiating a no- strike deal, in good faith, with the Tube unions."

A ludicrous promise which he hasn't even tried to implement.

"I will stop the planned ticket office closures"

"We will broker a deal with a private company to bring thousands of bikes to the capital at no cost to the taxpayer."

Total cost to taxpayer so far: £140 million and counting.

Is it any wonder that Boris isn't trusted on transport?


Helen said...

I wouldn't call doubling the frequency of an existing bus route from hourly to half-hourly a trial!

AdamB said...

Well yes fair point.

Damian Hockney said...

One of the problems with the way in which the London Mayor campaign is covered by the media - vast and dull - is the tendency to avoid politics and to concentrate on personality and photo opportuntities of the three "main" candidates. And because of the terror of issues, which are covered in soundbite terms, each campaign rolls on through the established media as if all those covering it were clung to the side of a train hurtling along at 80mph. Trite and formula.

And it is against this type of background that history is forgotten (or really simply ignored as "boring to the viewers/readers").

Here's hoping that more people will check out new media for the real news because otherwise the next campaign really is going to be the dullest yet - we've never yet had a 50% turnout.

AdamB said...

Well there's no better example of that than the fact that yesterday's biggest Boris-related news was that he met Peter Andre in a library:


What came first, the idea for the photo shoot or the 'scheme' I wonder?

I've written about this before:


Anonymous said...

It could be argued that some of these projects were not progressed as they weren't viable and the Mayor saved the taxpayer money by ceasing them. Equally you could argue that he has made promises he was unwise to do so.

However his opponent Ken Livingstone has committed a far more painful series of lies. He has repeated promised Londoners that he will freeze or cut fares. Going in to the next election he is promising the same. Do we believe him? We certainly shouldn't:

In his May 2000 manifesto Ken Livingstone promised to "freeze bus and tube fares in real terms for four years".

With inflation at just 2.6%, and with the confusion of the Oyster launch as distraction, January 2004 saw the single bus fare (outer London) rise from 70p to £1 and the weekly bus pass rise an eye-watering 26% (from £7.50 to £9.50). Tube fares increased by an equally whopping 25% on average.

He notes in his memoirs (Page 491) that he "decided to increase the fares before the [2004] election and then promise that they wouldn’t rise by more than inflation.” A promise made is his Mayor's Report To The Assembly at the time.

Phew, no more broken promises! Well until a few months later in January 2005, when the single Oyster bus far rose 14%. Unbelievably it then rose again a month later by a further 25%.

I could go on and on, but the London press has been, and continues to be, filled with dozens and dozens of broken Livingstone promises on fares.

Chris M said...

Personally I wouldn't say that Ken Livingstone has done much to help matters either. Didn't he instigate free bus travel for under 16's, which as a result has meant increased adult fares (almost instantly after the free travel scheme was implemented) and increased disruption on popular routes (kids trying to board without photocards, or boarding for one stop and getting off again, increased public disorder)?

He also introduced a congestion charge that is (a) a ridiculous idea in the first place and (b) had far too wide a catchment area, and left those who commuted from outer London with no choice but to use overpriced privatised rail systems and otherwise difficult routes to inner-London workplaces. Congestion in London hasn't changed much at all as a direct result of the charge, but left people poorer.

Since Boris came into power we have seen an alcohol ban on public transport which has done nothing but good, especially on those forms of transport that lack conductors (tubes, trams).

I'm not saying he's a saviour, because you make some damn good points here, but Red Ken is no angel either, he will go down in history for his distinctly anti-motorist attitude.