26 March 2012

My Transport Manifesto

"Investing in Transport" - Boris Johnson's Transport ManifestoToday I am launching my transport manifesto. It's a critical part of my 9 point plan for a Greater London.

A world class city should have a world class transport system that is safe, efficient, economical and reliable. A transport system that uses modern technology to meet the changing needs of Londoners and to guarantee long term sustainable lower fares.

There are now approaching 3.5 billion passenger journeys annually on our buses and Tube trains  – equivalent to half the global population – which means we simply must keep investing in our network to keep up with demand.

In 2008, I inherited a creaking public transport system that had for years been starved of investment. Under my predecessor, Londoners were subjected to record increases in fares (as high as 43%), despite two election promises that they would not increase. And he left the finances in chaos, with tens of millions of taxpayers’ pounds wasted designing unpopular projects that he had no money to deliver.

That was the mess I had to turn around when I came into office. I ended the waste and secured a far better deal out of No. 10 than my predecessor ever could, including securing £22 billion to deliver Crossrail and the Tube upgrades, creating 32,000 jobs.

The benefits of this hard work and investment are already being seen:

  • Delays have been cut by 40% since I was elected;
  • Stations are being transformed - King’s Cross and Green Park are complete, while Victoria, Tottenham Court Road and Bond Street are in hand and I am working on plans for major improvements to Bank station;
  • New trains have recently been introduced on the Victoria line and the first of 190 new air-conditioned trains have started to arrive on the Metropolitan line;
  • The network is now much safer with crime down by 20% on the Tube and 30% on the bus network thanks to my policy of banning alcohol and introducing 697 more police;
  • And, as I pledged I would, I scrapped the bendy buses and am delivering a New Bus for London, with world-class fuel-efficiency, elegant looks and an open platform at the rear.

But there is more to do and my manifesto sets out my vision for transport in London:

  • I will cut delays on the Tube by a further 30% by harnessing new technology and introducing new working practices to ensure problems are fixed urgently;
  • I have maintained free or discounted fares for the most vulnerable, including the Freedom Pass for older people, which I extended to 24 hours, and for disabled people. If elected I will go further and reverse the last Labour Government’s decision to stop Londoners getting their Freedom Pass at 60;
  • Londoners should no longer be held to ransom by union barons. I will pave the way to driverless (although not unmanned) trains within a decade by accelerating a programme to introduce automation on the Tube;
  • I will seek a fresh mandate from Londoners at this election to argue our case for a minimum turnout rule which will prevent the RMT and Bob Crow calling strikes with a minority of supporters, disrupting hard-working Londoners and undermining the capital’s economy;
  • I also have plans to improve rail services for Londoners who live in the suburbs. I will support the extension of the Docklands Light Railway to Bromley, and I am calling on the Government to allow the Mayor to start taking over suburban rail services, so we can tackle overcrowding, make stations safer and hold down fares;
  • And I recognise, unlike my predecessor, that London’s transport is not just about rail, tube and buses, but about our roads too. I will launch a Congestion Busting Plan, including funding for immediate improvements to London’s worst congestion hotspots. I will use the income from Lane Rental, which will tackle road works, to ease the congestion they cause. And I will enact the first comprehensive review of the road network for a generation, with detailed plans to end London’s worst congestion points – seeking improvements for drivers, cyclists and bus passengers. I will also expand our hugely successful Cycle Hire scheme to many new parts of Greater London.

We have made progress despite difficult times. But at the Mayoral election on 3rd May this progress is at risk. The choice at this election is between investment in our transport system - or cuts in investment at the worst possible time.

I hope I can count on your support on 3rd May.

Boris Johnson

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