Sixty-Eighth Mayor’s Report to the Assembly




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Sixty-Eighth Mayor’s Report to the Assembly


Author: The Mayor


This is my sixty-eighth report to the Assembly, fulfilling my duty under Section 45 of the Greater London Authority Act 1999. It covers the period from 30 November 2006 – 16 January 2007


Transport


New Year’s fares


New Year fares mean passengers can make big savings by switching from cash to Oyster, with many bus and Tube Oyster single fares frozen and many now half the cost for the same journey if paying by cash.


From 2 January passengers have seen a single journey on the Tube in Zone 1 frozen at £1.50 when using Oyster and peak bus fares with Oyster frozen at £1. All Oyster single fares have been frozen across London and the Oyster daily price cap for adults remains 50p below the One Day Travelcard price.


As in previous years the new fares package is designed to encourage people to switch from cash to Oyster in order to speed up buses and reduce ticket queues at Tube stations. Cash use on buses has already halved over the last year.


Two years ago I announced that bus fares would rise by 10 per cent above inflation for three subsequent years to help fund the biggest investment programme on London transport since the second world war. This year the third ten per cent increase in fares has in fact been significantly cut back. This is possible because Transport for London’s finances have been boosted by good management and big efficiency savings, including new advertising contracts.


There are now huge savings to be made by using Oyster. We have been able to freeze many Oyster pay-as-you-go bus and Tube fares this year. Many now cost half the same journey paid by cash.


Examples of Oyster savings include:

  • A single journey on the Tube in Zone 1 is frozen at £1.50 when using Oyster. The same journey using cash will be £4.

  • Peak bus fares with Oyster are frozen at £1, which now becomes a single flat Oyster fare throughout the day. Cash users will pay £2 for the same journey.

  • All Oyster single fares are frozen across London and the Oyster daily price cap for adults remains 50p below the One Day Travelcard price


Over the course of the last year we have expanded the number of schemes to help make travel in London easier for young people.

  • Under 16s free bus and tram travel were introduced September 2005.

  • Under 11s off-peak free travel on Tube and DLR when accompanied were introduced Easter 2006. From Easter 2007 free Tube and DLR travel will be available for under 11s at any time

  • Free bus and tram travel for 16-17 year olds in full-time education and resident in London was introduced in September 2006


These schemes have benefited thousands of families across London by improving young people's access to education, sport and leisure. These schemes encourage young people to use public transport, helping to continue London’s move away from car journeys. They also help to cut congestion, pollution and accidents by reducing the school run.


The main gap in payments on Oyster card remains on surface rail where the Train Operating Companies are yet to accept Oyster pre-pay. This affects 180,000 passengers a day.


In May 2006, I offered a funding package of £20 million to the train operators, which will finance the technology to accept the pay-as-you-go system to be bought and installed at every station in zones 1-6. The companies have until 31 January to accept this offer. With the introduction on the rail system of the familiar six zones already used for Underground and Travelcard tickets London can move to a unified ticketing system based on the Oyster smart card.


Around three quarters of journeys on London's buses and underground are now paid for by Oyster card compared to only five per cent by cash - bringing huge time savings to passengers and the transport system. Ten million Oyster cards have now been taken out by the public.

But most of the train operating companies still continue to deprive their passengers of the benefits of Oyster payment for single journeys with pre-pay. With the introduction of a zone system for rail fares in London, and my offer to train operators to pay them £20 million to install Oyster equipment, there is no reason why the Train Operating Companies cannot sign up to our proposals by 31 January. Oyster has already proved itself to many millions of Londoners and it seems amazing that these companies have not yet agreed to a deal which would meet their capital expenditure and would save their customers time, money and inconvenience.


The Train Operating Companies are in talks with TfL about adopting Oyster and particular progress is being made by some towards selling Oyster products outside of London but what London travellers really want is to be allowed to use Oyster pay-as-you-go on their rail services.


Only five per cent of journeys on the tube and bus are paid for by cash, but the continued lack of availability of Pay-As-You-Go on a large proportion of the National Rail network in the capital means that Londoners who rely on rail services are missing out on the cheaper fares and easier journeys that are available on Oyster.


Silverlink


On 5 December Tim O’Toole, Managing Director of London Underground and I announced that from November 2007 eleven stations, currently managed by Silverlink Metro will become the operational responsibility of London Underground when Transport for London takes over the North London Railway.

This move means that an important part of the overland rail network in London, along with staff currently employed by Silverlink Metro, will pass into the public sector, bringing investment and safety improvements for passengers and staff alike.


The stations have suffered from a lack of investment and are felt by many passengers to be extremely unwelcoming. Modernisation plans are now being developed to improve staffing levels, and station safety and security. I am committed to ensuring that all stations will be staffed at all times while trains are running, and better lighting, CCTV and help points are to be fitted at all stations.


The stations to come under London Underground control are Queen’s Park to Harrow & Wealdstone on the Bakerloo line, excluding Willesden Junction; Kew Gardens and Gunnersbury on the District line; North London Railway platforms at Blackhorse Road, Highbury & Islington and West Brompton stations.


The transfer of these stations to London Underground in 2007 will allow TfL to invest in better staffing and security for passengers. Public sector control of these stations will mean real improvements - including putting staff back into stations where the public want to see them, giving passengers a more visible and reassuring presence throughout opening hours.


Network Rail will retain ownership of the stations and will still own and maintain the track north of Queen’s Park and along the length of the North London Railway.  A station refurbishment programme is planned to commence during 2008.


Following transfer, stations will be staffed throughout the operating day leading to immediate improvements in safety and security.


Croydon Tramlink

On 9 January, I called on the operator of the Croydon Tramlink, Tramtrack Croydon Ltd, to improve the services for passengers and improve their maintenance record, following their consistent refusal to do so.


Despite a big increase in demand on Sundays, Croydon Tramtrack has shown no initiative and willingness to improve capacity through an increase the number of services. Recent changes to the timetable have also seen a reduction in the number of services for passengers on the New Addington branch of the network.


The Croydon Tramlink has been a great benefit to the people of Croydon, Wimbledon and the areas of south London it serves, carrying around 24m passengers a year, but this has been despite of, rather than because of, its operator, Tramtrack Croydon Ltd.


I have asked TfL to provide extra bus services to help alleviate overcrowding on some of the busiest sections of Croydon Tramlimk. Extra buses on route 130 to and from New Addington will start in May, and TfL will also, later, put on extra buses going east from Croydon. In both cases this will give shorter distance passengers an alternative, so making space for New Addington residents to get to and from work and leisure in Central Croydon.


Longer term, I have asked TfL to consider all possible options to ensure that passengers get the Croydon Tramlink service they deserve in future.
 
Trams can make a major contribution to London’s transport network.  It is essential that we see London’s only current tram network serve passengers properly.


Mass Participation Bike Ride


I have agreed that the GLA organise and deliver a Mass Participation Bike Ride event in London on 23 September 2007, International Car Free Day for 15-20,000 participants. I have also approved the allocation of a total budget of £1 million to the event, which will be met by a £1million contribution from TfL and that the GLA to enter into sponsorship arrangements with suitable corporate sponsors for the event and to undertake and manage the marketing and promotional aspects for the event, including the design and construction of an event website. The GLA will undertake a procurement process for the purpose of engaging one or more event management companies to deliver the event, and if suitable bids are received from tendered, to award contracts for delivery of the event to those tendererd who offer the most economically advantageous offers to the GLA. I have also noted that the Events for London will employ a temporary member of staff from December 2006 to December 2007 to manage the event, subject to the usual Assembly approval process.


Illegal cabs advert


On 12 December I was joined by Met Commander Steve Allen and Capital FM Breakfast Show host Zoe Hanson to unveil a hard-hitting new TV advert highlighting the dangers of using illegal cabs. The advert shows a young woman sitting in the back of a car chatting to her friend about their night out on a mobile phone. She starts to look confused at the route being taken by the driver, who arrives in an isolated car park. The driver is then seen getting into the back of the car. In London, on average ten women are sexually attacked by illegal cab drivers each month. The advert’s voiceover was provided by Lauren Laverne, TV presenter and XFM Breakfast Show presenter.


This was the latest stage of an ongoing campaign between my office, Transport for London and Metropolitan Police to provide safer travel options at night, and to crack down on bogus cabs who tout illegally for business. The campaign encourages people to be ‘Cabwise’ and text HOME to 60835 to receive the numbers of licensed minicab and black cab firms in the area from which they are texting.


It is my intention to continue our crackdown in illegal minicabs, which has already reduced the number of sexual assaults in London. The huge step forward that has been taken in licensing the minicab industry makes it possible for us to crack down more effectively on illegal touts.

This new TV advert reminds women not to travel in a car parading as a legitimate minicab. Each month in London there are on average ten sexual attacks on women carried out by drivers of illegal cabs – Londoners should never use these vehicles and should only use licensed minicabs carrying yellow licence discs, which have been pre-booked. There are now more safer travel choices in London than ever before so people should plan their journey home using these options.


Further initiatives to make London safer to travel at night include more night buses than ever before, the licensing of all minicabs vehicles and operators, making taxi touting a recordable offence and launching the Transport Operational Command Unit (TOCU) – a dedicated Police unit set up to target crime relating to bus services and minicab activities. All buses including night-buses are fitted with CCTV.


Over Christmas and New Year marshalled taxi ranks operated in Beckenham, Bromley, Croydon and Kingston in outer London, as well as several in Westminster and the City of London.


Finsbury Park Interchange


On 14 December, Transport Commissioner Peter Hendy and I officially opened a newly improved Finsbury Park Transport Interchange, one of the busiest stations outside of central London. The station has received more than £11m of investment making it safer, and easier for passengers to use whether using public transport or walking and cycling.


The changes at the station radically improve the environment in and around the station for residents and commuters. The station improvements are also a boost for football fans on match days travelling to and from the nearby Emirates stadium. New CCTV cameras, better lighting, the impressive new Station Place canopy and open bus waiting areas have all been added, giving people more confidence to travel by public transport.


Students from the local Ambler Primary School joined in the event, along with Jennette Arnold, the London Assembly member for North East London, and local councillors.


After many years of underinvestment in the public transport system we are now seeing the benefits of putting resources into the network to make it easier and more pleasant to use, as this major improvement of Finsbury Park interchange shows.


The project was delivered by Transport for London and funded by a partnership that includes Transport for London, FinFuture, and the London Boroughs of Islington and Haringey.


Currently 36,000 passengers pass through Finsbury Park Interchange via bus, Tube, train, cycle or on foot - during peak hours on weekday mornings. The new interchange will increase capacity to accommodate the rise in passenger flow which is expected to be approximately 40 per cent over the next fifteen years.


T2025 Launch


The launch of the T2025 report in December laid out a 20-year transport programme aimed at ensuring London's future economic prosperity. Transport for London's report highlighted the importance of sustained investment and identified a number of ways that the impact of transport on the environment can be reduced.


The package includes a climate change action plan, and sets out the need for significant investment in public transport together with measures to increase cycling and walking.


Tube upgrade for Sub Surface lines


Detailed plans to upgrade a third of the Tube network over the next decade and help tackle climate change were recently announced by the Transport Commissioner, Peter Hendy.


The Circle, District, Hammersmith & City and Metropolitan lines will all receive new air-conditioned trains from late 2009, together with a new signalling system and renewed track. These improvements will bring about faster, more frequent services along with improved reliability, customer information, accessibility and enhanced safety and security.


In addition, trains on the Circle and Hammersmith & City lines will increase in size from six to seven carriages, an overall capacity increase of 17 per cent, as will those on the District line between Edgware Road and Wimbledon.


This upgrade will be felt by passengers every day, who will benefit from air-conditioning and extra space on the trains. It will also help to deliver energy efficiencies which will make a positive contribution towards reducing London’s CO2 use and tackling climate change.


Oyster/Barclaycard


A joint initiative between TfL and Barclaycard means that passengers travelling on public transport around London could soon be able to make quick, contact-free, cashless payments and travel around the capital using one card.


Oyster has been a great success making journeys across London cheaper, easier and quicker, but we want to make Oyster even more convenient. This new deal will mean that from this Summer people can buy low cost items and take advantage of Oyster fares on the same card, reducing the need to carry cash.


Since the Oystercard was introduced in 2003, Transport for London has seen Oyster smartcards become a huge success with more than 6 million in use on the transport network. A new deal has now been struck that will make future travel with Oyster even more convenient. The deal, approved by TfL, between Barclaycard and Transys, the consortium behind the Oyster smartcard system, will see development of a new card to place Oyster and Barclaycard Visa on one piece of plastic.


Oyster enables passengers to beat the queues by buying online. Passengers who switch to Oyster pay-as-you-go will save money as Oyster fares are always less than the cash fare.


Borough Funding


I recently announced £160m of funding for London boroughs to spend on local transport improvements to make the capital safer, cleaner and greener over the next year.


People in boroughs across London, both inner and outer, are benefiting from Transport for London funding, which is providing real, local travel improvements. All parts of our city, from the suburbs to the centre, are supported directly through this transport investment


The projects being funded include improvements to town centres, better access to stations, road renewal schemes, road safety projects, and schemes to reduce pollution through increased walking and cycling.


By supporting transport spending in the boroughs over the past six years we have improved town centres, increased cycling by 72 per cent and approved more than 1000 travel plans to get children to and from school safely.


This year is the first time the money allocated has been directly linked to borough Local Implementation Plans. Each borough has been preparing a LIP showing how it proposes to implement my Transport Strategy locally over the coming years.


Local Implementation Plans


I have approved the Local Implementation Plans of the London Boroughs of Merton and Bexley as being consistent with, and adequate for the purposes of my Transport Strategy.


Night Flights


I have approved a grant of £5,000 to Wandsworth Council towards solicitors’ legal costs in seeking Judicial Review of the Secretary of State for Transport's decision of 6 June 2006 on Night Flying Restrictions at Heathrow, Gatwick and Stansted to apply from 30 October 2006.


Congestion Charge Variation Order


I have considered the content of and advice given, particularly regarding various relevant matters for my decision to the Greater London (Central Zone) Congestion Charging (Variation No 4) Order 2006.


This variation corrects the wording to ensure that payment of the Congestion Charge made on the charging day following the day of entry into the Congestion Charging Zone can only be made through the call centre or on line; and corrects the wording to remove references to a table previously deleted from the Scheme Order by an earlier Variation Order.


I am satisfied by these and other relevant matters and have therefore confirmed the Greater London (Central Zone) congestion charging (Variation No 4) Order and signed the instrument of confirmation.


Transport for London (Supplemental Toll Provisions) Bill


I have confirmed my consent to the promotion of the proposed TfL (Supplemental Toll Provisions) Bill on behalf of the GLA, as outlined in my last report to the Assembly.


London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games


London 2012 Business Summit


On 15 January, Olympics Minister Tessa Jowell and I were among the speakers at the London 2012 Business Summit to explore how business can ensure the 2012 Games leave a lasting legacy for the capital.


The London 2012 Business Summit was a half-day conference, organised by the London Business Board and sponsored by the London Development Agency, which discussed how London’s businesses and entrepreneurs can make the most of the commercial and other opportunities presented by the London Games.


The event saw the launch of the London 2012 Opportunity Prospectus, which has been prepared by Arup following extensive consultations with members of the three business organisations.


Ian Barlow, Chair of the London Business Board chaired proceedings, which also included speeches from Paul Deighton, Chief Executive of the London Organising Committee for the Olympic Games (LOCOG) and Bob Card, Chief Operating Officer, CLM (ODA Delivery Partner). Breakout sessions addressed the London business network; promoting London; employment and skills initiatives; community involvement; improving London’s visitor experience; and the Thames Gateway legacy.


Recommendations of the Budget Committee report of the Financing the 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games: Section 60 request response


The London Assembly under Section 60 of the GLA Act 1999, agreed at the meeting of 13 December, to request my response under Section 45(2)(c) to the formal proposals concerning Recommendations of the Budget Committee’s scrutiny of the Financing of the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games


I offer the following comments in response to the report’s recommendations.


Recommendation: That the Mayor explains in his consultation draft budget 2007/08 what the specific annual council tax contributions of £57.7 million for the Games being collected in 2006/07 and 2007/08, are paying for, including any ODA start up costs such as staffing.


The information in the consultation document provides a summarised overview of how each member of the GLA Group is contributing to the Games and the legacy, within the context of the budget plans for the next three years. The document therefore identifies the specific annual contribution of £57.7m, and gives information of the wider GLA Group contributions to the Games and to securing the desired legacy benefits. The document also makes it clear that there will be no increase in the council tax contribution despite alarmist predictions.


Given the purpose of the consultation document it was not felt particularly relevant to provide further information of the role and activities of the ODA, especially since its lifetime budget and business plan has yet to be agreed by the Government, and that the public sector funding package revenue streams are not generally hypothecated to individual projects. However, this is a significant area of GLA activity and further information on the annual contribution by the GLA to the ODA will be included in the GLA’s corporate plan, my annual report, and the GLA’s statement of accounts accordingly.


The funding letter with ODA makes clear that GLA funding must only be used to perform the obligations of the Mayor in the Host City Contract, in Greater London, and on capital expenditure (so far as is reasonably practicable). The ODA’s own Financial Memorandum also says the funds received from the GLA and the LDA will be spent on venues and infrastructure in London.


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