The Boris Johnson effect on transport in Outer London.
Guest post by Helen from Boriswatch
Boris Johnson made many transport promises before he was elected in 2008 – London Transport Is A Mess, he claimed. How has Boris improved public transport for me in the outer London borough of Hounslow (Z4 Tube/Z5 National Rail) in his four-year term?
We’ve seen no improvements in Underground services – the Piccadilly line upgrade, due to be completed in 2014 under the previous Mayor, has been put back to 2025. The line is still using rolling stock built in 1973. Hounslow railway station continues to have an abysmal service of only one four-carriage train an hour on a Sunday – during the summer, especially when there’s cricket on at the Oval, passengers at the next stop of Isleworth are unable to board due to overcrowding.
Our local train operating company, South West Trains, was the very last in London to install Oyster-compatible ticket machines – almost two years after Oyster was accepted for travel on London’s rail services. When they finally arrived, they were of little comfort as Boris Johnson had raised the daily off-peak Oyster cap for Zones 2-6 from £5.10 TO £8.00 and the peak Oyster cap from £9.00 to £15.00, then again in January this year to £8.50 and £15.80 respectively.
When repeatedly challenged about these enormous increases, the Mayor claimed these massive hikes were actually reductions. Boris Johnson also removed the price differential of 50p between a one-day Travelcard and the equivalent Oyster cap which was designed to encourage Oyster use, putting up the Oyster price to the same as a paper one-day Travelcard.
Children’s fares have also gone up – under the previous Mayor, children over the age of 5 with a Zip Oyster photocard could travel all day on Tube, Overground and Rail for £1. The child off-peak cap (depending on Zones) is now up to £7.60 and the peak cap up to £10.30. Not only that, but the child Oyster card itself was free under the previous Mayor; Boris Johnson has introduced a £10 charge for it, meaning that each child’s card costs at least £15 as a passport photo is required. Johnson may boast about “free” travel for children on London’s buses and trams, but without the £10 child Oyster (a huge sum for parents on a low income) each child must pay the adult cash fare of £2.30.
As for the buses, the promised orbital routes never materialised and there are no Countdown screens at any of the bus stops I regularly use - I do not have a smartphone and I cannot afford to pay for the text message service every time I use a bus.
I have never, ever seen a PCSO, police officer or British Transport Police officer on bus, train or Tube when I travel home late at night, which I do at least twice a week.
Boris Johnson has increased bus fares by 50% since he became Mayor and the daily Oyster cap in outer London by 70% in just the last two years. As his Bullingdon buddy George Osborne takes us into a Double-Dip recession and the Mayor himself has refused to admit at several public hustings that his own election manifesto commits to annual fare hikes of RPI +2, use your vote wisely next week – Boris Johnson is the only Mayoral candidate committed to raising our sky-high fares even further.
Would you like to guess which Mayoral candidate said the following during an ITV London Tonight debate between Brian Paddick, Ken Livingstone and Boris Johnson on 17 April 2008?
"The cost of travel for many people in London is extremely high and I think it is scandalous for the Mayor to sit here and tell the people of London there is absolutely nothing he can do"
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