The capital’s passenger watchdog London TravelWatch has expressed “disappointment” at proposals to end its status as “a separately constituted organisation” and hand its functions and duties to the London Assembly.
The proposals, which are set out in a draft report to be presented at a meeting of the London Assembly Business Management and Administration Committee next week, follow a six-month review of the watchdog by Assembly Members.
At present the London Assembly funds TravelWatch and appoints its board members, however the draft report has recommended that AMs do not fill six places on the watchdog’s board which will become vacant in December.
Further the report proposes that existing TravelWatch staff “be re-located to City Hall as soon as is practical, and by the latest April 2011” and that discussions be opened with TravelWatch’s landlord over the future of its Middle Street offices.
Other proposals include “contracting Passenger Focus to fulfil the functions of London TravelWatch in relation to rail passengers in the capital” and that the body “stops responding to borough consultations relating to streets with immediate effect.”
It is also proposed that “London TravelWatch ceases committing resource to production and publication of its performance monitoring reports with immediate effect” and that the watchdog “remove its contact details from publicity on buses by the end of 2010.”
The report also proposed that “discussions to this end, and any necessary legislative changes, are taken forward with the relevant government departments during the autumn.”
Responding to the review, TravelWatch Chair Sharon Grant said the organisation was “deeply shocked that the London Assembly wants to silence the only independent passenger voice in London, where transport is absolutely central to everyone’s life.”
The report will be presented to Business Management and Administration Committee on 23rd September 2010