Newslinks | 1st August 2007

The NewsEditor

Transport in London Ken Livingstone made the headlines yesterday for criticising the management of Heathrow airport. Meanwhile, the Independent carries a thorough examination of the prospects for Terminal 5, which the Mayor and TFL oppose:

Mr Ziebland [Retail Strategy Director at BAA] believes Terminal 5 will transform the Heathrow experience by relieving congestion at other terminals. "Terminal 5 has been designed for the number of people who are going to be using it," he said. "The number of toilets, seats, shops have been designed by the number of people in mind. This will also take the pressure off the older terminals at Heathrow."

Terminal 5 is expected to reach its capacity after a couple of months, he said. Its annual traveller capacity will be 30 million. British Airways will transfer to the new terminal, with almost all BA flights leaving from T5. Terminal 2 will also be demolished at a later date to make way for Heathrow East, which is scheduled to open in 2012. The other terminals will also undergo a revamp.

Meanwhile, This Is Hertfordshire carries a story about the lamentable transport links to The 02. Given that this is a world class venue, LondonUnlocked believes that transport to an from the centre should be a priority. This is an idea run for an event such as the Olympics, and it is important that TfL steps up to the challenge. LondonUnlocked applauds The 02 in working with Thames Clippers and TfL to get a late-night river service working, but more can, and should, be done.

Finally, the BBC also reports that the DLR's capacity is to be extended by 50% by 2012.

Mayoral Contest

ConservativeHome reports on a YouGov survey which gives Boris Johnson a 46% - 40% lead over Ken Livingstone in a one-to-one race.

Also, Pink News interviews Andrew Boff, one of the four Conservative candidates through to the final selection. His comments on transport in London make interesting reading:

"A lot of the problems we've got with transport at the moment are really more about public perception.

"An awful lot of people would be better off coming in by public transport, they just don't perceive that at the moment, and it's because the system is still not reliable.

"Certainly, the tube isn't reliable, and buses are better, but not that much better, there is a feeling about personal safety on buses."

"It's about returns, it's pretty much the same argument about the National Health Service, huge amount of money thrown into it, but only a couple of percent improvement in performance.

"When that happens, you have to start thinking perhaps the very way in which we're spending the money is wrong, the way in which we are providing the service is wrong.

"This will be talked about so much in the next few years: the bendy bus.

"There's an example of wanting to tick that box, about providing more buses, and getting more people on buses. So what did they do?

"They went all around the world, to look at all the cities in the world - none of which are like London, because there is no place like London – and they buy a bus in, which all of a sudden starts to blow up, burst into flames, force cyclists off the road - I know this from personal experience, so I'm not making this up - and it's an appalling thing to impose upon Londoners.

"What is it about the decision-making process that led us to believe that something which might work in Amsterdam would work in London?

"What I'll be doing is saying let's do what we did with the Routemaster.

"I'm not saying, 'lets bring back the Routemaster,' because the Routemaster was dangerous, and it was not accessible for disabled people – it was an icon of exclusion to disabled people.

"Let's take the process we adopted when we got the Routemaster, and do it again, and that is, build a bus for London.

"Don't just import something. Actually design a bus for London. For goodness sake, we're big enough to be able to justify the expense of designing something specifically for this city."

Metronet Crisis

The Times reports that Metronet could soon be crippled by strike action:

"The RMT and the TSSA, which represent more than 2,600 workers, said that they would ballot for strike action after the administrator failed to give assurances that there would be no job losses, forced transfers or cuts to pension entitlements."