As consultations close on Boris Johnson’s Transport Strategy, the capital’s transport watchdog has expressed concern over future investment levels.
The Mayor’s Draft Transport Strategy was published for consultation in October alongside the London Plan and Economic Development Plan. City Hall says the three documents provide “an integrated economic, social, environmental and transport policy framework for London over the years to 2031.”
London TravelWatch, which is funded by the London Assembly and represents passengers in the capital, says it is “not at all clear” that funding for many of the aims set out in the strategy “could ever be realised in the medium- and long-term.”
Chair Sharon Grant says: “While we support many of the aims of the Mayor’s Transport Strategy and many of the schemes suggested, we are concerned about how the big schemes will be funded, especially at a time when we know (from the TfL business plan) that bus services are being reduced.
“Buses are vital to London: they are accessible, cheaper than other forms of transport, and carry a huge amount of passengers. We are afraid that buses will become a ‘Cinderella’ service in the future, while the big bucks are spent on huge rail schemes.”
Although the Transport Strategy makes reference to the possible introduction of road charging City Hall has been keen to stress this “would be very much the last resort”.
In a separate response the London Assembly Transport Committee has raised concerns that overcrowding, congestion and carbon emissions “will not be tackled effectively” without intervention from the Mayor.
Committee Chair Caroline Pidgeon said: “While the Strategy contains some welcome transport initiatives, they simply will not be enough to keep pace with growing population and demand. The Mayor will have to make some difficult decisions when it comes to choosing which infrastructure schemes to fund and ways of getting people out of their cars. It is only fair Londoners know what his priorities are when it comes to taking those decisions.”