Livingstone Announces Transport Policies

Election 2008, LondonUnlockedEditor

The London transport news has been dominated by the launch of Ken Livingstone's transport programme.

The BBC, ePolitix and Transport Briefing all have excellent coverage of the launch, and of the policies listed.

The Evening Standard gives a breakdown of Mr Livingstone's key announcements:

• Taking over the operation of the Southern trains franchise to complete his plan for an overground rail orbital by linking the extended East London line to Clapham junction via West Croydon;
• A single bus route down Oxford Street and, after 2012, a tram for shoppers;
• Giving injured Army veterans free travel;
• A major investment in clean vehicle technology by putting 500 hybrid buses on the streets by 2010 and all new buses being hybrid by 2012 at the latest;
• Doubling the number of countdown signs at bus stops to 4,000 with a new state-of-the-art GPS tracking system;
• A new congestion charge system so drivers can have payments automatically debited when entering the charging zone, avoiding fines.

Central to the launch was Mr Livingstone's rubbishing of Boris Johnson's plan to put conductors on a fleet of new routemasters, and the alleged "£100million a year error" in his financial planning for this scheme.

Overall, it was a solid launch for a Mayor who has been bold on transport in the past.

Noticeable however are the policies which match up with those of Mr Johnson's already launched manifesto. Prof Tony Travers argued last week that Mr Johnson's transport manifesto was "more of the same". With Mr Livingstone's manifesto launch it now proves even more difficult to find areas of disagreement between the two frontrunners.