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Martin Hoscik

Roger

I totally agree that KL is being disingenuous in the way he is trying to make a personal comment look like party policy.

However as I've just said on MayorWatch the way he seeks to spin this really must serve as a wake up call to some of those who post on this site who repeatedly claim Livingstone can be beaten by far less media savvy candidates.


http://www.mayorwatch.co.uk/blog/2006/12/08/naughty-ken-gives-tories-wake-up-call/

Wayne Bridges

I am so glad this issues has been raised.

As a daily commuter in London who heavily relies on public transport, the free travel for school kids is one of the worse schemes ever introduced by this mayor.

Most of the kids only go two stops down the road to get to their school, and not once have I seen one of them give up their seat for a more elderly person,and Why on earth does it need to be free on a weekend? - let them pay their way!

while im on the subject, why cant they just limit the scheme to those who are located at an unreachable walking distance between their homes and their school?

The only thing that has come out of this scheme is higher fees for those who pay, more obese children from lack of exercise, and more graffiti on our buses.

I have set up a petition on this, please feel free to sign it, if you go on the following link and type in "transport", you should find it amongst the others listed.

http://petitions.pm.gov.uk/commuters/

Annabel Herriott

The US of A has gotten by for years with their yellow school busses. Would they cost Londoners 55 million quid plus a load of abuse? I doubt it.

london tory

"However as I've just said on MayorWatch the way he seeks to spin this really must serve as a wake up call to some of those who post on this site who repeatedly claim Livingstone can be beaten by far less media savvy candidates"

Quite.

Stephen

Very typical of the Conservatives at the moment. There’s Mr Cameroon telling the press about how they will spread love and happiness to the poor and underprivileged but really behind the scenes it’s the same people that ruined the economy, gave us repossessions on the back of ridiculously high interest rates and tried to dismantle the NHS. Just be honest, you want to cut tax by axing public services and jobs, make a mint on the markets for yourselves and friends in high places and to hell with anyone else.

Sally Roberts

Excellent article Roger and you are so right about the noise and anti-social behaviour of these young people, especially the ubiquitous playing of music out loud on mobiles! Of course the school bus is the obvious answer - and wouldn't the kids hate it?!!

Wayne Bridges

Stephen,

With regards to your above comment, I see you post with an anti-tory attitude, but as conservatives we are simply considering the concerns of the many instead of the few - something that left wing ken doesnt seem to do.

perhaps you should get on a bus and find out for yourself!

Henry

Well said, Stephen. All this 'Compassionate Conservative' stuff is just ripped off from candidate George Bush. And look what he did when he got elected (sort of)?

sjm

Stephen, just who is it who is taxing the low-paid till their pips squeak, who are cutting back hospital services, who are overfunding quangos and underfunding the Armed Services? Who has made it oh-so-easy to become a bankrupt and cheat others of their rightful money? Who is lying about public service employees' pension funding? Who is introducing private commissioning into the NHS and taking us ineptly back 10 years to the structures that were then in place?

Blair&Brown, the Laurel&Hardy de nos jours.

Just not nearly as funny.

eugene

Ken Livingstone is a fool. I know several teacher friends in London who have been given endless hassle by kids skipping school and going on a joy ride to the other side of London on Ken's free service. Truancy paid for by the tax payer- only Labour could mannage to get that one done.

Suzy

Good luck with this - as a regular bus user I am fed up of queueing at a bus stop only to have rude teenagers push on in front of me as they do not have to user the Oyster card reader.

Considering childhood obesity and lack of exercise amongst school children is a serious and growing social problem, free bus journeys encourage children not to walk the few hundred yards between stops.

I am all in favour of lower income families receiving support - a subsidy system surely would not be too expensive to administer. As for the playing of music on buses this drives me insane. I would like Ken to join me on a 254 from Whitechapel to Finsbury Park via Hackney on an evening (after a 12 hour day) and enjoy the delights of several teenagers competing for attention via the modern mating call ie playing R&B at full blast on a tinny Nokia!

David Sergeant

"behind the scenes it’s the same people that ruined the economy,

Stephen, I know this has nothing to do with buses, but I assume you are a young person who has been brought up in Labour's media alternative universe. The Tories saved Britain from economic desaster; by 1997 we were the envy of Europe. As for your Labour lot, they made us the economic Indonesia of the 70s. The French refered to the English Disease, The Germans called us the sick man of Europe and Americans said we were an embarrasment to our friends and and a laughing stock to our enemies.

I lived through all that and people like you are cheering on Blair and Brown as they send us back to 1979 because you have no idea what you are talking about. It's sickening.

Peter Coe

Annabel, I suspect that providing yellow school buses to ferry kids to all the Capital's schools probably would cost the taxpayer significantly more than £55million; plus they would add to peak time congestion, would do very little to reduce the school-rush by parents who'd be no more happy for their kids to go on school buses than London buses.

Remember that the principal purpose of US buses to transport kids from largely rural, disparate areas to schools - they weren't designed for urban areas.

How would such a scheme work, anyway? Straight from home? Cost increasing massively... Or you could have particular assembly points (which the pupils would reach how?) And kids don't all go to the same schools, so how do you sort that out.

Look, Roger's point is well argued but founded, apparently, on the case that yobs shouldn't travel for free given the trouble they cause. Well, far be it for me to outflank him on the right, but to me yobs shouldn't be on buses - end of story.

Now, one thing that £55 million could be spent on is reintroducing conductors but I don't think this is a good use of the money either.

Keeping all fares down is a sensible use of money; I'd also be interested in seeing whether free travel discourages teenagers from wanting a car for their 18th Birthday - bet it doesn't, but I've no doubt that's one of Livingstone's misguided ideas behind it.

John Moss

Perhaps "free" bus services for school children should only apply between 0730 and 0900 and 1530 and 1800 Monday to Friday? Why would they need to travel at any other times?

Oh, and only if they are in school uniform to boot!

Peter Coe

John, that'd be a problem for schools that don't have a uniform (as mine didn't), wouldn't it?

Phil Taylor

The case for taking free bus passes off teenagers:

http://www.ealingtimes.co.uk/news/localnews/display.var.1058342.0.ferocious_gang_attack_18_arrested.php

That and the cost - £55 million.

There is no double decker bus in London that has not had all of its top floor windows disfigured by graffiti etchings on the glass.

Only yesterday I saw a kid throw a bottle out of a top floor window.

The buses are a mess thanks to Livingstone and he refuses to write the Transport for London statement of accounts in such a way as you can understand the subsidy level for the buses.

Grade A creep.

Graeme Archer

It's not free at all, of course - we all pay for this unmitigated disaster. Travelling by bus was never exactly luxurious but it's become well nigh unbearable since Livingstone gave carte blanche to the tranches of savages who scream around the no. 26 at anytime from 8am until 7pm, with their "musical" phones blaring out the mind-rotting crap which their parents feel happy to supply them with. Of course they don't show their Oyster card. I've sat for a total of hours when some brave driver has demanded to see a child's pass, and listened to the abuse he receives for his trouble - the fast resort to "you can't put me off this bus maaaaan, it's my right maaaan", the children (of course!) being far more au fait with their blessed New Labour rights than they are with the construction of coherent English sentences. I don't think there's anything more depressing in my life than listening to the sub-Pollardian Yeah bu' like s'like, yeah bu' wha'evah drivel that I endure from the children on the bus between Victoria Park Road and Liverpool St twice a day. And by the way when I moved here 4 of your earth years ago that trip cost me 70 of your earth pence, were I to be oysterless it would now cost a pahnd fifty, mate. So can we also hammer this idea that Livingstone has delivered cheaper buses?

School buses are a good idea, although I pity the small minority of decent kids who would be locked up with the savages to and from their schools.

Why on earth don't we just force companies to return to furnishing buses with conductors? I really miss the conductors from the old no. 8, and it's not just some misty-eyed Tory nostalgia - the small but visible symbol of authority kept order over the bus, upstairs and down, and prevented all this fare-dodging crap. What did Londoners expect when they elected Livingstone? Better bus services? Routemasters intact? An increase to social order?

John Clifford

Graeme, not to be picky but you fail to mention that with an oystercard (which doesn't cost you anything) you can travel on the bus for £1- and tube journeys have actually got cheaper on prepay. Which as a commuter and shift worker is fantastic news- and my journey's faster as the driver spends less time collecting fares and more time in dedicated bus lanes.

What's also striking about the past few years is how much newer and cleaner our buses are, especially the bendy buses which are a model of efficiency. I lived in Watford for a few years, and coming back to London the changes were really noticeable especially considering what passes for public transport in the shires.

And yes, there's anti-social behaviour on the buses, but based on my experiences that's just as likely to be coming from the over-16s. I *know* it's intimidating to see a large group of teenagers- but is it really fair to turn this into a 'blame the kids' exercise? And is it fair to punish the majority of well-behaved, perfectly decent teenagers for the actions of a minority? We were all teenagers once and you must remember how that feels.

Maybe not popular to praise the mayor on conservativehome, but I think it's made a difference I'd like to hear your thoughts.

Just for the record Graeme- cash fare is now £2. It's a good incentive to get an oyster!

MickJ

Surely it's time to review this scheme: the provision of anytime, anywhere bus travel for all under-16s is clearly not working, as the now documented rise in anti-social behaviour shows.

The Mayor should consider:

1. Free bus passes only for those in need--ie any one in receipt of benefits and tax credits, or possibly who lives more than a certain distance from school. No travel without production of an Oyster card

2. Using Oyster technology to limit travel to school terms and journey times.

3. Compensate with concessions which only apply to accompanied children at other times.

4. School buses where feasible

The current policies are fast destroying the bus as a means of civilised transport.

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