London's Transport Policies are Failing


Two articles highlight exactly where London is going wrong with its transport policies. Firstly, The Times details exactly how the congestion charge has failed:

IT WAS intended to get London moving, but after five years of Ken Livingstone’s congestion charge, and more than £800m of tolls and fines, traffic jams are almost as bad as they were to start off with.

As a new cadre of charge bureaucrats prospers, overheads are now so high that they burn up the equivalent of almost £4 of a standard £8 charge. Money raised to improve public transport has been cut by 10% in the past year.

The scheme’s poor value for money risks undermining the government’s efforts to push through congestion charging in 10 other areas around England.

Cambridge and Manchester, both cities which are planning a form of congestion charging, are using the model as a base for wildly different schemes, which aim to change behaviour and cost the taxpayer far less. Money raised will go into transport projects rather than to pay off a PFI debt.

Meanwhile, the London Business Survey details that two-thirds of business leaders believe that an under-invested transport network is hurting the City:

"To shine as a global city, London needs a first-class transport network system but the current system is struggling to cope," said Ian Barlow, London senior partner at KPMG.

It is excellent news that the Government intends to go ahead with CrossRail. However, by the time of its implementation the next CrossRail will need to be under development in order to simply keep up with the growing demands on our network.

If we really want, as our elected leaders state repeatedly, to head towards a low-carbon, public transport oriented, pedestrian friendly London, then priorities need to change and investment needs to grow substantially. LondonUnlocked has argued from its inception that the Olympics offer an opportunity for a sea-change in our outlook towards transport in the capital.

In May 2008 we will have the opportunity to put our elected officials to the test, and for us to give a mandate for investment to a true leader who looks to London's future. We look forward to seeing such plans being laid out in the New Year.