LondonUnlocked

London's transport news: the pre-purdah edition

LondonUnlocked, The NewsEditorComment

The latest transport newslinks are below. If we've missed something, please get in touch.

With the London mayoral election slipping into purdah on 20th March, we've seen a flurry of transport-related announcements in the last few days. The highlights below.

Hustings

Thursday saw a hustings between the Mayor, Ken Livingstone, Brian Paddick and Jenny Jones. Transport was high on the agenda, as the BBC reports:

"Conservative Boris Johnson attacked Ken Livingstone for his promised Tube fare cut, but the Labour candidate accused him of "sitting on money" rather than helping hard-pressed commuters.

"Lib Dem Brian Paddick urged "smarter" use of Heathrow to increase capacity, while the Greens' Jenny Jones suggested a congestion charge around the airport."

The Standard focusses elsewhere:

“There’s a massive opportunity now to take London Underground forward, to automate it, to modernise it, to carry possibly everybody with us except possibly the union barons,” [The Mayor] said. “I am absolutely ready over the next four years to take historic decisions that will modernise and automate our trains and enable them to be driverless.”

In other news, transport is the 3rd most important issue to London votes, after the economy and crime.

Announcements

TfL has been in overdrive, pushing out announcements ahead of purdah. A sampling from the day before:

Mayor announces innovative technology is helping traffic flow more smoothly and cut disruption

Plans for London 2012 Games transport legacy unveiled

Mayor welcomes improvements to key piers in time for the 2012 Games

Airports

Sir Richard Branson has called on the Government to expand Heathrow [BBC]. Unsurprisingly, the MP for Sittingbourne and Sheppey has backed his proposal.

Meanwhile, the PM has been pondering Britain's infrastructure. As the FT reports, this may mean he's interested in an estuary airport. The Times (£) is in favour while the PM may be keeping stum on his plans to ensure that the Mayor is returned to office at the election.

Strikes

Staff on the Heathrow Express service are set to strike over disciplinary action taken over two employees [BBC].

And Unite and the TSSA have rejected the £850 offer (over the demand for 'total flexibility 's LU workers during the Olympics and Paralympics [BBC]

- all Election 2012 stories are also added to our running tally of the candidates' policies, here -