London desperately needs better public transport but Crossrail is not the better public transport it needs. There is an improved Crossrail proposal called Superlink, but it might be better to scrap the whole scheme and build the long-envisaged Underground from Chelsea to Hackney or, better yet, to spend the money on more piecemeal improvements. There is wide but privately lukewarm support for Crossrail, only because no one can bear the prospect of going back to the drawing board and beginning another 20 years of inconclusive discussion.
The imperative requirement is for processes that both require and allow elected politicians to make choices and implement them. Institutions that have no effective processes for making good decisions drift into bad ones. There is a real danger that through two schemes whose costs are disproportionate to their benefits – Crossrail and the 2012 Olympics – London in 2020 will have spent £25bn without getting the infrastructure that a 21st-century city needs.
Mr Kay makes a valid point. Is CrossRail really the scheme which a modern, growing, London needs or is it the solution to a problem that has moved on since it was first envisaged?
Oyster Cards on Rail by 2009
ITPro reports that Oyster cards will be available to use on the main rail services runnning through London by 2009.
The article quotes the Mayor on the new service:
London mayor Ken Livingstone said: "It is most welcome that train companies have finally agreed to introduce Oyster on their services. This means we will have a fully integrated ticket system. Passengers will be able to move easily between rail, Tube, Docklands Light Rail, tram and bus using an Oyster card."
2012 Bullet Train on Display (in brief)
The BBC reports that the Bullet Train, to be used in the 2012 Olympics, in on display in Kent.
Bendy Bus Boost for Boris?
24Dash is reporting that the fire on the number 25 bendy-bus as a potential boost for the Boris Johnson mayoral campaign, one of whose main policies is the replacement of those services.