The Verdict on Boris

Articles, LondonUnlockedEditorComment

200811050803.jpgChristian Wolmar has delivered his verdict on Boris Johnson's transport policies. It is not good:

While it may seem a bit unfair to judge the administration on six months' performance – transport is a long-term policy area where little can be changed quickly – one would have expected some clear sense of direction.

But there has been none, and the most newsworthy policy change was his alcohol ban on the Tube which, though eminently sensible, is pretty much unenforceable since Tube trains no longer have guards.

The entire article is worth reading, not least to see Mr Wolmar's detailed analysis of City Hall's failure to define a direction for transport. Find it here.

Mr Wolmar's article comes against the backdrop of an uncertain funding future for TfL. In the latest of the war of words between City Hall and the Government, Ministers have once more made it clear that they have no intention of plugging London's funding gap:

"TfL got a large injection of funds from the government. How it prioritises funding from that is a matter for TfL, not for us," said Lord Adonis. He added: "We don't accept that TfL does not have the money." The minister added that the funding settlement included a provision for higher-than-expected tube costs.

If Mr Johnson's direction of transport is vague now, it can't be expected to get better when placed under greater financial strain. The Mayor needs to let Londoners know that if the Government does not plug the gap, then he has a plan. In his own words, not meeting the funding gap would be a disaster for London.

So, what does our elected head of TfL propose to do?