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While I can't stomach Livingstone, I do think that any and all improvements in London's public transport infrastructure are to be encouraged.

If Livingstone forces Brown to pay for Crossrail he will have achieved one positive thing in 8 years in charge.

Sally Roberts

Interesting that the RMT are now trying to convince us that the London Underground network will be better run by putting it back firmly into public hands! Do they think we have such short memories that we have forgotten that services used to be even more appalling than they are now?!

Lyndon Elias

As a lifelong railway enthusiast and field engineer who has driven over 300,000 miles in company cars I set about writing a system analysis of UK railways, 300+ pages of A4, and published inter alia Snowflake Blueprint for Railways (ISBN 95359515)advocating re-opening over 3,000 miles of railway to meet the needs of company car drivers.
State ownership in spite of transport consumption doubling every nine years destroyed half the railway route and shut three/fifths of stations (over 11,300 ever open).
On tube stations ads for or by LT mention "Transport for London" and "Mayor for London", the latter is political advertising. Mr Livingstone is an astute politician. On matters transport he has not got a clue.
L Elias
Member CTG
EngTech MIET
01235 212062

Phil Taylor

A quick review of Transport for London:

  • consumed £2 billion in subsidy last year
  • spent £78 million on advertising
  • employed 821 people who earn more than £50K
  • still £60m short of making a profit with the Congestion Charge after over three years of operation
  • just about to raise tube and bus cash fares by 33%
  • failed to bring Crossrail forward but wasting energy on tram schemes.

A worse shower to run the railways you could not imagine.

Martin (MayorWatch)

"As far as I’m aware private rail companies cannot set fares freely"

Then your awareness is letting you down as the quickest of searches would have shown you:

"Unregulated fares, which companies are able to set themselves and cover tickets such as cheap day returns, will increase by between 3% and 7%.'


>> No doubt he has a good explanation as to why after all these years of being in charge, Londoners still have to be content with expensive hot overcrowded tubes. <<

Would it have anything to do with 18 years of under investment in LT by the Tories and your parties support for the PPP scheme which is failing Londoners?

My bet is it probably does.

Tory Solicitor

Phil, can you reveal your source for those stats?

the £78 million in advertising is particularly nauseating

Deputy Editor

We covered it here, Tory Solicitor.

John Shaw

This article is wildly off beam and shows how far the Conservative Party is going to have to travel if it is to be taken seriously on London-wide issues.

Here, Ken Livingstone has written to councillors to set out the benefits of the extension and upgrade of the East London Line and its integration with an improved franchise on the north London Line, providing better services. His letter repudiates the false claims made by the RMT on this matter (who have also written to many councillors on the same subject).

Is Jean-Paul with Ken Livingstone or Bob Crow on this key point? Clearly he should be with Ken Livingstone, who has proceeded with an upgrade involving private sector franchisees despite being attacked from the left.

Furthermore Jean-Paul complains about the money and where it is coming from. Presumably therefore the alternative is not to do it. London will not be able to cope, and London businesses will suffer, if there is not investment in significant transport improvements. The rail improvements from this scheme are massive. Is the conservative party going to take the view that this improvement should not happen?

Until the Tories get this basic stuff right there is no chance of being taken seriously on London-wide issues, which is presumably why the man who banned Frankie Goes to Hollywood from Radio One is now talked about as a contender for the Tory nomination for mayor!

Phil Taylor

Tory Solictor my sources were:

  • consumed £2 billion in subsidy last year - TfL Statement of Accounts Page 79
  • spent £78 million on advertising - my blog (source was a letter to me from Peter Hendy later widely quoted by Tory AMs and Evening Standard)
  • employed 821 people who earn more than £50K - TfL Statement of Accounts Page 118
  • still £60m short of making a profit with the Congestion Charge after over three years of operation - my blog (sources include previous TfL statements of account and answers to questions to the Mayor).
Roger Evans

John, the money for the scheme, and presumably the publicity surrounding it, comes from extra borrowing which Gordon Brown has allowed Livingstone to undertake. This sum is set against fare income, which is why fares have increased ahead of inflation for three years in a row. The effect of the increase has been to reduce bus patronage, although tube use continues to rise, for now.

The point that it is important to remember, and which has gone out of the window under this government, is that politics is about priorities. You cut your cloth according to what you can afford. Livingstone, on the other hand, wants to buy every item in the shop - with other people's money.

The rail scheme is a good one, which we support, but it is always right to question value for money. There are still a number of voters and pressure groups who agree with the mayor and think it's just a matter of pushing taxes up to fund everything - Olympics, Crossrail, trams, free bus travel for under 18s, parties in Trafalgar Square, equality conferences, trips to Cuba - we're a rich city and we can afford it. But the truth is that many of my constituents are struggling with the burden of direct and stealth taxes, and financial responsibility is what they want to see. There are some hard decisions to be made - but they might not prove to be as unpopular as the Mayor thinks.

George Hinton

Oh dear god, Ken will pander to the Unions and this is going to cost us, the tax-payers and rate-payers of London, a bloody fortune.
Has everyone forgetten the job he did to us when he was Mayor in the 80's. Ken may will take control of these two lines, but what private company is going to come in and run it under his dogmatic, socialist nirvana vision?.
It will end up as a Co-Op between the Unions and the GLA,, with the unions running rampant and demanding excessive pay-rises, which will then force strikes from the rest of the net-work demanding parity, then it will be back to the old war of differentials. This has the makings of an almighty cock-up cum disaster.
I hope i am wrong, but the old saying about the leopard is very true with Ken. This man is an old style Trotskyite, who hates democracy and has always wanted to rule by fiat, and to seize the reins of all business, industry and employment in his realm.
There is only one place for Ken, apart from a dinosaur zoo, and the law constrains me comments unfortunately.

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