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					Appendix B Assembly Plenary – Questions to Transport for London 14 January 2004 Part A 37/2004 Quality of Service Jennette Arnold Does Transport for London (TfL) provide sufficient customer-driven services? Especially with respect to London Buses? The Mayor: TfL, and in particular London Buses, is changing to become a much more customer-focused organisation. Every bus planning decision is based on passenger surveys and takes account of passenger needs and requests. The bus service itself has changed substantially for the better over the period since I became Mayor, with passenger growth of over 30% and cheaper fares, greater reliability and more frequent services. Satisfaction is monitored through regular customer surveys and areas for improvement are identified. Bus passengers have different needs and expectations, and these are recognised and satisfied through work such as the Bus Design Forum, which seeks views on the design of buses and the experience of travelling by bus from different passenger groups. This will include groups such as the elderly, disabled, those who travel with children and the ablebodied. Extensive dialogue with statutory and other stakeholders, e.g. approximately 150 meetings with boroughs and other non-statutory groups, closely monitoring the complaints received by the London Buses customer service to identify further problem areas for action. Finally, further developing publicity material for passengers with different needs, for example, those with learning difficulties. Jennette Arnold (AM): Okay, I have got a number of questions that I would like to follow on with, Mayor. Can I just take the point that you raised about the problems arising around invisible disability? I am talking about where someone has a disability, either physical or mental, which is not instantly obvious. It is regularly observed that some bus drivers are often not very sympathetic. Can you tell us what is being done in terms of the training of staff and is there an ombudsman? What would you say to organisations supporting these people? How can they make sure that the service is going to be a quality service for them? The Mayor: Well, Bob (Kiley) will no doubt want to come in with his latest thinking on this. But, clearly, the slow improvement, and it is slower than we would like, in the quality of service, hinges on getting proper training for drivers. The tragedy that London Buses went through with privatisation was that the centralised training school was abolished and it came down to each individual company to do what looks in retrospect to have been the absolute minimum necessary to get someone on the road behind a wheel. Now, with the introduction of our BTEC (Business and Technical Education Council), all new drivers coming in are getting a basic training. We are now starting to see more of the existing drivers coming through. I would consider BTEC as the beginning. We would really want to get back to the sort of standards that were the norm 30 years ago. For people


with physical disabilities the introduction of the new buses is a huge step forward and by the end of 2005 virtually the entire fleet will be much more accessible. When we come down to the more complex problems of people with some form of learning disability or problems expressing themselves, I do not think there has been the training for drivers in that, and that is clearly something we are going to have to look at for the future. Bob Kiley, Commissioner, Transport for London: Well, there is an ombudsperson, who reports directly to me, Pip Hesketh, who is basically in charge of all these things having to do with social inclusion and accessibility. There has been a training module developed; I cannot tell you off the top of my head how many bus drivers have actually been through it, but it is part of BTEC, which is designed to improve sensibility and sensitivity to the very issues that you cite, because you are on to an issue that is a very difficult one, since it is not immediately obvious to bus drivers, for example, when there is an issue. But there are ways in which you can become sensitive to it and that is part of the purpose of the programme. I suspect that a majority of bus drivers have not yet gone through it, because it only got under way some time in the last six months. Jennette Arnold (AM): The other area that I want to explore with you both is: we received notice of the Peckham bus garage collecting a top industry prize and it is my understanding that there was a TfL award to the Peckham garage for top prize for its service. So we have here an example of excellent service. What I would like to say is can you give us an understanding of how they are learning all the excellent practice from this garage? How is that going to be spread across London, particularly to outer London? The second part of that is we hear of the top end, the prizewinners. Is it not reasonable to publish the bottom end? I would put one of my bus services that I get on regularly in the worst service provision. Can we also show what penalties or action TfL has taken against these bus companies who are delivering a poor service day-in-day-out in some parts of London? Bob Kiley, Commissioner, Transport for London: I should start by saying that at the moment roughly 65% or 70% of the network has been upgraded. The upgrades, by which I mean renegotiated contracts, with standards, incentives and penalties in them, occur at the rate of roughly 20% a year, meaning that we have been able to get through at least 65% of the entire network, meaning that there is a 35% factor where buses are performing, because their contracts are still running, according to the standards that existed before we arrived on the scene. Generally speaking, there has been an upgrade, I think most people would agree, in a majority of the routes in the city, but we still have some clinkers, which will go by the board over the next two calendar years as we renegotiate the balance of all these contracts. If the bus or garage on a route that has the new contracts is not performing up to standards, there are provisions in the contracts that would penalise the bus operating company. I think if you have got a chronic offender, you would have a question of whether that provider should be continued. There are termination provisions in the contracts if a bus operating company is constantly performing below standard. I do not think we have got one at the moment, but it cannot be precluded that it could happen. Obviously, if you are having a poor experience chronically, you should really be in touch with us, and we have ways to get at individual buses, as well as the bus operating companies 2

themselves. We have got a lot more supervision out on the streets now as well, to be sure that the buses are operating the way they were intended to operate. There are obviously road and traffic conditions that can get in the way of proper service. We do not just throw up our hands and give in to that when it happens, and we now have the new Traffic Management Department that will be working hand-in-glove with London Buses so that when we identify chronic pinch points, where there are bad traffic conditions, we should be able to police them and clear them up. One of the things that is working better as we get into it, is the Transport Operational Command Unit (TOCU), the joint Metropolitan Police/TfL project across 20 bus corridors, which is really having a measurable impact on traffic flows and also on crime. The last time I checked there were around 50,000 arrests that had been made, just in about one year. An arrest does not necessarily mean that victory has been declared, because you have got to go through prosecution, go through the court system and so on, and we are continuing to track that. Jennette Arnold (AM): We totally agree with the Mayor that the expansion of the bus service has been one of the achievements of the GLA, but can he just say something briefly about his response to the “Transport in Outer London” scrutiny, which Meg Hillier carried out, which pointed out the need for better quality bus services in outer London. What can Londoners in outer London expect from you medium to long-term about improvements in their bus services? The Mayor: 80% of the increase in bus passengers and bus service has been outside the central zone, inevitably. Of course you would notice the dramatic increase in buses because 40% of all the routes come through the centre. In outer London there has been the same level of improvement, but starting from a very much lower base. Now, clearly, next year‟s contracts re-let will mean all the existing contracts we inherited in 2000 will have been renegotiated and I do not think there is much more you can do to improve the quality and concentration of service at the heart of London. What we now have to really do, if we are to start to give people a real alternative to car use in the suburbs, is a real quantum leap forward in bus provision in outer London. That is something we need to look at in terms of perhaps Red Routes in outer London to reduce the problems of getting around the area and improving traffic flow, and a real increase in the number of bus routes running from one suburban town centre to another so people do not always get dragged into the middle. Clearly, I would see this as the next stage forward in the expansion of the bus service. Bob Kiley, Commissioner, Transport for London: I probably should add here that there is a bill that is working its way through Parliament to do with traffic management, and you have probably seen a fair amount written about that bill over the last couple of weeks; it is an omnibus bill. But it does include provisions, which, depending on regulations that are ultimately written later this year, could empower TfL, working in concert with individual boroughs, to really improve traffic flows quite substantially. It will give us much more leverage over road works, for example, which right now are basically an anarchy, since there is no way to manage, basically, the utilities when they decide to come into town, dig a big hole and leave it alone for a while before coming back to do something to it.


Once this bill gets through there will be a permitting process that will require anyone who wants to get into roads, including ourselves, to have a plan, and even when there is an emergency, to get it cleared before an intervention actually occurs. There will be a way of looking at all this electronically and in real time. These things will not all happen overnight, by the way. But this is the goal, and Peter Brown, who is the Director of the Traffic Management Department, is working pretty aggressively right now to develop the tools that will be brought into play once these regulations are finally written. I think that will probably have as great an impact on the quality of bus services as any group of things that we can think of doing. Roger Evans (AM): Can the Commissioner give us an update, please, on the availability of Pay Before You Board machines in the central zone? When these were first introduced, a lot of them were going out of action due to tampering. What have you done to solve that, and what is the failure rate now? Bob Kiley, Commissioner, Transport for London: You are talking about the ticketing machines? Roger Evans (AM): Yes. Bob Kiley, Commissioner, Transport for London: The goal here is the cashless bus and my own view is that these ticketing machines are always going to be vulnerable. If we are exclusively reliant on them everywhere in the city we will, I think, find ourselves in a position where we will not be able to keep up with the vandalism. It is very tough to do and I have never thought of these machines as being a panacea or as anything other than a palliative to help us through this transitional period. Full exploitation of the Oyster Card, which we will be rolling out over the first half of this year, has already begun. I think this is the way we have to go. People just have to get accustomed to acquiring Oyster Cards in the many retail outlets that there will be for these cards. I think your question is a good one, and I cannot give you an answer that is going to make you happy and content with these machines. Roger Evans (AM): Can you tell us then about progress on rolling out Oyster Cards to buses in London? Are the readers set up for the cards to be used when people get on buses? How will you make sure that people actually use them, given that people going in and out of the Tube are, at the moment, going through gates without putting their cards across the reader if the gates are open? Bob Kiley, Commissioner, Transport for London: Well, to deal with the latter question first, because it is an urgent question because it is occurring right now: I hope you have seen the reminders – they are in 20,000 places now in the Underground system - that when you enter the system you absolutely must validate the card, that is you have to run it over the yellow pad, and the same thing must happen at the end of your ride, otherwise you are going to get charged for a very expensive ride, or there is a danger that you will be charged for a ride you did not really take. Our own employees have to be sure that those gates are always closed. I am sure we have all had experiences where we walk out of a station and the gates are open for some reason or another. Usually it is because of crowds, and that is not a good reason for throwing gates open. The Oyster Card itself is a more rapid way of clearing the gate, so there is really no 4

reason why our people should be keeping the gates open at any point in time unless they are not working. The rollout right now is confined to the Tube. The buses will come into play in March. There is a different kind of challenge on buses because there will be a machine that will be required to validate the ticket and we want to be absolutely sure that the technology that is in the Tube right now, on which this is built, is working well. We need to get all the bugs out of it on the Tube before going on to the buses. There will be a period, I am sure, of trial and error even when we get on to the buses. This Oyster Card is a substantially different medium for paying fares. I think once people get comfortable with it and realise what they can do with this card, they are going to be quite happy, but it takes a while. Lynne Featherstone (AM): Returning to quality and service and bus driver behaviour, that is the single biggest issue that comes in my post box in terms of buses. The Liberal Democrats did a survey across London, presented to Peter Hendy (Managing Director of Surface Transport, TfL); 86% of people responded with severe problems experienced in terms of poor driver behaviour. Full marks to Metroline and Arriva for the work they are doing on training and for the BTEC, but I want to know how quickly that will be expanded to existing drivers. What can you do on discipline, because after the training if there is bad behaviour, it is not necessarily jumped on? Also, do you think it is time perhaps, given that this response has not changed even with the introduction of the BTEC, that we moved to thinking about, because braking is such an issue, the design of the brakes being looked at, and in terms of speeding, speed limiters being looked at? Bob Kiley, Commissioner, Transport for London: One of the most important goals of having increased supervision out on the streets is, to get to your last question, to ensure that bus drivers are working within the law, and also taking full advantage of the opportunities that they have within the law. Proper use of the bus lanes is an issue for buses as well as for automobile and other drivers. As I say, that supervision is out in 65-70% of the city. It is going to take another two years to get it into the rest of the city as these contracts get completed. I think there are a variety of things that should improve relationships between drivers and our patrons. One would be that the cashless bus will take some of the pressure off the bus driver; that is why it is important that the technology works. I believe that training will have an impact, but it will not happen overnight, and one training module is not necessarily going to change a moody bus driver‟s demeanour in short order. It does take time, and frankly, if there are drivers who cannot get over that hump, so to speak, then they should no longer be drivers; there has to be tough discipline. That is the bus operating company‟s responsibility, but we are the ones who need to put pressure on the bus operating companies, since these new contracts really do have standards and opportunities for the companies as well as penalties if they are not performing well. So there are a variety of things that can be done. I myself feel that driving a bus is a much harder job than driving a train, and yet our bus drivers are not paid nearly as well as the 5

train drivers are. Conditions on London‟s roads, as you know better than I do, are very tough and very challenging; and when the weather is bad and there is a road work going on, a bus driver is as subject to road rage as a regular driver. Training can help; aggressive supervision can help; and, when you all have experiences like that, or you get your mail in, you should be letting myself or Peter Hendy know. Lynne Featherstone (AM): Believe me, I write about twenty letters a day to Peter (Hendy). He writes back; he is very good. We are both working in the same direction. But given that it is not a perfect world and that the training is going to take time, from what you are saying, there are lots of really good bus drivers that have a really hard time. What about other measures, like when someone is lying on the floor, because this happens. A bus driver has driven off and they have been left on the pavement, it is very difficult for people to report or get the bus number. Is there a way of facilitating much bigger numbers? Also, in terms of rude behaviour, is there a way of naming – people wearing a name badge or something? Because the answer always comes back from the garage: „Can you identify the bus? Can you identify the driver? We cannot track this particular one.‟ It is very difficult for the ordinary man in the street to get something done about it. By the time it comes to me they have usually tried a number of other methods. The Mayor: We do have undercover – we call them „mystery travellers – this is a term I inherited, not one I would have created. There is undercover surveillance. Fortunately it is very rare that someone is left prostrate on the road. Lynne Featherstone (AM): Prostrate, yes, but damaged - quite often. The Mayor: It is that question of increasing the scrutiny of what is going on; TfL having those people out on the street, and being prepared to dismiss a bus driver if they are clearly not being sufficiently sensitive to the needs of London‟s passengers. Bob Kiley, Commissioner, Transport for London: We could call them „covert action agents‟. Lynne Featherstone (AM): But the question was about big numbers, so that people can get the numbers to report. Bob Kiley, Commissioner, Transport for London: Let me take that away and look at it. Jenny Jones (AM): You have covered slightly what I wanted to talk about. Clearly, being a bus driver is a tough job and we still have a shortage, I gather, of bus drivers. There is still a shortage of people who are prepared to do that job. The Mayor: My recollection is that, when I was elected, the turnover was 30% a year, and I think that the modest increase in pay, because they are still well below the London average, has brought that down to about 20% a year. Now clearly in an ideal world you would be looking at no more than 10%; That people, having got the job, find it is sufficiently attractive, that the pension provisions are sufficiently attractive, and think in terms of keeping it, as they used to.


Now we are – particularly on the pension – a long way from being able to offer an attractive deal that means someone who comes to work on the buses thinks: „This is a job I will do for my life‟. In a sense, the real problem we have here is that, once drivers‟ pay was virtually cut by a third after privatisation, most of the best long-serving drivers left; they were not prepared to work for that sort of money. Jenny Jones (AM): Within the contracts that you are renegotiating as they come up you presumably are putting in things for the drivers? You are presumably watching this and encouraging companies to have good practice towards their employees? The Mayor: Absolutely. The particular thing is that there is this odd arrangement where the pay is negotiated by the bus company; we have to make a provision in our budget for what we expect it to be, and it is a completely unsatisfactory position, in the sense that we are the banker and a completely unrelated body to the negotiators - it is not where you would want to start from. 32/2004 Westward Extension of Congestion Charging Lynne Featherstone In view of the likely shortfall in the Transport for London budget in 2004/05, and the possibility that the Government will not be persuaded to cover it, do you feel that the £100 million cost of the westward expansion of the Congestion Charging scheme is high on the list of your priorities? The Mayor: Reducing traffic congestion in London is one of our highest priorities, as set out in the Transport Strategy. A western extension of the central London Congestion Charging scheme provides the most promising opportunity to extend the significant traffic benefits of the central zone scheme, given the congestion problems and the good public transport services of the area. Congestion Charging in the central zone has proved a major success in reducing congestion, and has proved to be a popular policy amongst Londoners. I will be listening to responses from consultation. Also, clearly as with other areas of expenditure, I am going to have to take account of funding availability in the light of the spending review in 2004. I am in a position where everything we want to do is all in there. Once we know what we have got, we will have a period of debate, involving the Assembly and the public, about which priorities will go ahead. Clearly, extending the congestion zone is not as high a priority as ensuring that Crossrail is built, the East London Line extension is done, the Thames Gateway Bridge. It is in that second category with the tram in Ealing and other projects. Lynne Featherstone (AM): What I wanted to ask you was whether you thought that other senior transport planners in Transport for London and indeed other Transport for London board members were in agreement with you that this was a high priority to extend the Congestion Charge, money willing. Well, not money willing, actually, because there is not any. The Mayor: We do not run the sort of regime in Transport for London where everybody has to agree with me. People are free to express their own views. Lynne Featherstone (AM): Have you put it to the board in a vote? The Mayor: We had a very comradely discussion amongst board members about this. Clearly, there is a range of views. There are some members of the board, as there are some


members of the Assembly, who would like the congestion zone doubled and extended to the M25. There are others more cautious, including myself and Bob (Kiley). Lynne Featherstone (AM): Was there a vote on that? The Mayor: We almost never have a vote. I think the last time we had a vote was on the Thames Gateway Bridge. Lynne Featherstone (AM): I just wanted to know whose senior advice was what really. Certainly Jay Walder (Managing Director of Finance and Planning, Transport for London), when he came to the Transport Committee, was of the view that £100 million at this moment in time probably was not the highest price. The Mayor: There is no financial case for doing this. There was no financial case for doing the first one. This is not about raising money; it is: can we extend to the people of Kensington and Westminster the improvement in quality of life that people in central London have had, and can we get that larger zone, where delays to the bus service are reduced, so that all Londoners benefit from an improved public transport system? Lynne Featherstone (AM): I was not saying money was the object. This is the set-up cost being a very high cost at this moment in time. One of the issues around that is: would you accept that allowing a huge number of residents a 90% discount might risk compromising the success of the central London Congestion Charge? The Mayor: When we had the first presentation from our experts in this field, when we were talking about: would we look at Heathrow, would we look at going to Tower Hamlets, several reasons led me to look to the present scheme we are considering. One was the fact that, because of the much greater impact on car drivers than we anticipated - we were talking about a 20% reduction and we ended up with 38% - we could extend the zone westwards without having to change the exemptions or the Charge, and still be within the original congestion target that we set for the original zone. If that were not the case, one would want to actually say, well, it is not worth the doing of it. Lynne Featherstone (AM): You know I do not agree with you on this one. The Mayor: Well, the people will decide. Lynne Featherstone (AM): In the Transport Committee, when Jay Walder came, John Biggs asked him, How happy would you be with a government grant settlement that had strings attached, that said, for example, “we are giving you extra money, but we expect you to spend it in the Thames Gateway”?‟ Now you have got the £200 million - Simon Hughes (Mayoral Candidate, Liberal Democrats) called it a „marriage of re-convenience; this is the dowry‟ do you think you are going to get the £100 million as well, for the Congestion Charge? The Mayor: In the real world no government is going to give us another billion pounds without discussing how we are spending it. Last time round, I was in, I think, seven or eight meetings with Keith Hill (Minister for London) and the team of civil servants he led, 8

discussing SR (Spending Review) 2000, which gave us the dramatic increase which allowed us to do the Congestion Charge and buses. We got down to literally the detail of every policy, i.e. we brokered deals, and I had to give an undertaking that, having got the extra 80% from government, I would not just use it to cut the fares. I gave undertakings that we would not reintroduce conductors on all buses until we had a pilot that could demonstrate the transport and economic benefits to London. We actually went through every aspect of policy and we got deals, both which the Government then honoured and I honoured. I would expect the same here; if we are going to get a substantial sum of money from government, it is not so that I can spend it gratuitously as I want. They want to make certain, and I need to convince them, it will benefit the whole of London. Lynne Featherstone (AM): So the question is: an independent Mayor or a Labour Mayor, which way works better? Maybe neither. The Mayor: I suspect it will not make a great deal of difference. It cannot make matters worse, can it? Lynne Featherstone (AM): If Labour Members of the Assembly heed Nick Raynsford‟s (Minister for Local Government) call to axe your budget, will you then just ditch some of the flagship projects? Which of your flagship projects will you ditch? The Mayor: Before we get into several degrees of anticipation of what might happen in the future, I would not pay too much heed to the banter that takes place in Parliament. As far as I am aware, I have not presented a budget to the Assembly yet? I have not taken on board your consideration to come back to the final one, and so Nick Raynsford will not have to worry about this problem until the middle of February. You are assuming the worst, and I assume the best. Lynne Featherstone (AM): The point I am making was a question of who is running London now? Will it be the Government or will it be you? The Mayor: Let us be objective about this. Most boroughs were expecting a precept increase of twice what I am proposing. The fact that virtually no newspaper has reported it – it was briefly mentioned on radio and TV and everyone passed on – is an indication, I think, that most Londoners are not terribly traumatised at the thought that we will raise the Council Tax about 50p a week in order to get lots more police and a real expansion of our capacity to deal with a terrorist attack by the Fire Brigade. They get all that for the equivalent of two fags a week or a Walnut Whip. Lynne Featherstone (AM): But one of the questions that I am interested in, and I know Angie (Bray) has got a similar question later on, is: can Transport for London go for the measures that are most cost-effective? One of the things that worries me continually is the huge budgets for these major infrastructure projects. When you look at the work done on the modal shift you can get out of travel planning and marketing, which are my special interest subjects, they actually produce fantastic results in a completely different way. If you look at the TfL budget, it is so geared towards the big boys‟ toys, if you like, and the other stuff, the soft measures get very little look in from you.


The Mayor: We have moved from the position where virtually nothing was being done on those what you call „soft‟ measures to real and sustained growth. Now, the real constraint on that has not been finance but assembling in London, and in particular in the boroughs who carry out most of that work, the transport planner expertise to carry those forward. If you actually look, there are now real increases in all our proposals for safe routes to schools, cycle routes, pedestrian-friendly schemes. All those are now beginning to grow because boroughs have accepted the fact that the programme we have set out will most probably carry on. I think the best thing for London is that the opinion polls give people a sense of security that there will not be a violent and unpleasant change in June; they can rely on these things continuing to go ahead. Angie Bray (AM): Since Mr Kiley is with us this morning, I think it is a shame to waste the opportunity to put a few questions to him. I wondered, Mr Kiley, if I could ask you what your opinion is on whether or not the westward extension of the Congestion Charge zone should be a priority at this time, given all the other pressures on the finances? Bob Kiley, Commissioner, Transport for London: Well, as I think I have said before here, I tend to be very conservative on these matters. I said on 18 February what I will say now, and that is I will be a lot more comfortable embracing westward expansion or other initiatives once we get through 17 February and have a full year of experience under our belt. I am very concerned that the contractor in this case has had a poor record in managing the customer-facing side of the existing Congestion Charge, and you all recall the renegotiation of that contract that occurred about six months ago. While there are some signs of improvement, Capita is a long way away from being where it needs to be. Automatically that raises an issue of what will happen in a westward expansion in terms of a procurement process. That is something we have to worry about as we get closer to the possibility that this will occur. As the Mayor said, I think there will be a lot of listening going on during the various consultations that have to proceed before we reach a conclusion. I will be very interested myself in hearing what people have to say. I have already heard quite a lot about the design of the westward expansion that we have in front of us right now. Yes, there is some unease in our board about that. I do not think the board is running away from this, but I think they too want to see the existing year occur with a serious analysis of what has happened in the actual operation of the Charge. We have no complaints about the management of the technology, I should quickly add here. Our concerns have all been on the customer side. You know what these issues are as well as I do. We have to get a lot better about that if we are going to do even more, and that may well be something that will be an issue in the procurement process. Angie Bray (AM): Can I just try to get a clarification of what I think you are trying to say? You are really saying that you have got concerns about making this westward expansion a priority at this time? Bob Kiley, Commissioner, Transport for London: I think I am in about the same place as the Mayor is. This is not at the top of our list.


Angie Bray (AM): We all appreciate that there are huge question marks over the performance of Capita. What about the pressure on the finances? Are you happy, for instance, that, I think, the budget now says something like £25 million to be spent on further preparatory work in the western area in the forthcoming budget year? Is that money, in your view, that is well spent on this particular priority? Bob Kiley, Commissioner, Transport for London: Let us not underestimate the importance of the spending review that is under way, because if that does not go as well as we would like it to go, then there will have to be a review of our entire budget situation, starting with the fiscal year on 1 April. Angie Bray (AM): Where would you put the extension in terms of your list of priorities? Is it a high priority, a medium, or should it be a low priority at this time? Bob Kiley, Commissioner, Transport for London: I do not think I would gain anything by responding to that question in this forum. We are barely starting these discussions with the Government, and even when they ask that question, we do not answer it. Angie Bray (AM): Can I just have one last question? That is – you touched on it – about the boundary, the western boundary. As you will be aware, I know, there is huge concern about this proposal, which would split the borough in two. What views have you got on that, and what would your advice be on that? Would you think that we should be considering other options, rather than just this one option, which has been put forward for consultation? The Mayor: Can I just say that I do not have a fixed view on it, either. I am open to be persuaded…. Angie Bray (AM): Sorry, but your document only mentions the options being consulted on. Could I have a response from Mr Kiley on that? Bob Kiley, Commissioner, Transport for London: I think the only way to be, when it comes to issues like boundaries, is highly pragmatic, and it is a matter where a lot of listening has to occur. I know that there are people who are not happy with the boundary that has been proposed and I hear from them a fair amount – I have to walk by them every day. I think as time goes on and the next round of consultation occurs, a lot of these issues will come to the fore and I think you will find that we are all going to be as practical as we can about it. There is nothing to be accomplished by being doctrinaire at an early point. Darren Johnson (AM): I am not going to be Dr No; I like the idea of an extension. But is a single zone the right way forward? Bob Kiley, Commissioner, Transport for London: A single extension is what we are talking about right now. The alternative that was most discussed was two separate zones. There is not much to choose between them, frankly, except at the margins. I am content to go with the proposal that is on the table at the moment. I think the Mayor has said before that he is going to be listening, and in a certain sense reserving his final view, which he should be if we are going to take consultation seriously.


The Mayor: Could I reply to this, because it is an important point? I was surprised at how little difference it makes, in transport and finance terms, whether you have the two zones or the one zone. I do think there is another factor in all of this, which is the general confusion to people outside London who are coming in very occasionally. That is where I worry, that people may be deterred from coming in, and we are working with the train lines. Therefore, from my viewpoint, simplicity is absolutely crucial in this. I think to say to Londoners, not all of whom did A Level geography, that they have to have a detailed knowledge of all these different zones and so on just adds to the complexity and the worry. I think we have a duty to keep the system as simple as possible, therefore one zone rather than two is very attractive. Darren Johnson (AM): People manage with the Travelcard system and different zones without a degree in geography. But surely if you have one large zone, you are just encouraging people to drive more? If you have separate zones it actually undermines the whole idea of a Congestion Charge as a traffic reduction measure. The Mayor: I really do not think there are many people in Kensington and the rest of Westminster who are simply going to say, „Oh good, we are in one zone, I am going to start driving a bit more‟. It is such a bloody nightmare trying to drive anywhere in central London, even after the congestion zone, that people do the minimum of it. Darren Johnson (AM): It is going to make it easier for people to drive around. The Mayor: No-one could possibly say „easy‟ and „drive in London‟ should be in the same sentence in any borough of London. John Biggs (AM): Thank you, Chair. Returning to the question, it seems to me that there are actually two questions within this. One is about the precept and the budget, and the other one is about whether extending the Congestion Charge should be a priority. Taking the first, we are going to have a lengthy budget debate in the next month or so, and we do not need to go through that in detail now. But I think we should be clear, and I am seeking your confirmation or refutation of this, if you like, that a question that suggests whether or not the Congestion Charge is extended in west London is fundamental to the scale of precept in London is just mistaken. The precept is all about policing and police budgets. The second part of that is that the funding of the Congestion Charge is far more dependent on the transport spending review outcome than it is on the budget debate. I think it is worth shooting that fox now, and being clear that the budget debate is fundamentally about policing in London. The Mayor: The only proposals for an increase in precept are for police and for the expansion of the Fire Service to deal with terrorism. There will be no proposal in the budget for any further expenditure on transport, because the nightmare of absorbing the bizarre budget we have inherited from London Underground is going to take us a good year to sort out. John Biggs (AM): I think that is helpful; it could be marginal, but it is insignificant in the budget debate. The Mayor: I agree. 12

John Biggs (AM): The second part then, about the priority of this scheme. Labour Members are probably more agnostic than you are as the Mayor on this issue, but we want to see how the consultation develops. But I put it to you that fundamental to this policy is that it has got to be a priority for Transport for London to tackle congestion in London, whether it is in west London or whether it is in London as a whole. That strategy has got to be to deal with congestion in the suburbs as much as it has with central London, through public transport investment, marketing, traffic management, spatial planning, light rail and tram schemes, for example. I suspect that you might agree with me on that, but it seems to me that, if we are being political here, we need to be clear about the alternatives to your Mayoralty and whether they give similar priority to that and whether that is consistent with their proposals for cutting taxes and not investing in London‟s transport. The Mayor: I made clear earlier: I consider an extension to the congestion zone a medium rather than a high priority. There are much more important priorities before us, and it will simply depend on what level of funding we get from Government whether or not it goes ahead. But the overall question of tackling congestion in London is absolutely crucial. We have had a huge step forward in central London, and I do not think anyone but a few isolated nutters denies that. But what is not reported in the press is the day-to-day horror of the scale of congestion you have in all the suburban town centres, where you do not have the public transport alternative. That has now to be the priority that comes into view for Transport for London to tackle. 118/2004 Consultation

Elizabeth Howlett Will you reconsider the time that TfL allots for consultation on major road changes and allow more time for consultation, particularly over holiday periods? For example, a proposal by TfL to install a bus lane in Roehampton Lane was given only two weeks’ consultation period over Christmas and New Year holidays (from 22 December to 5 January), which is just not acceptable for such a sensitive issue. The Mayor: TfL operates a consultation toolkit, which outlines its standard procedures for consultation. It defines what would be considered as large and small projects, and the timescales for consulting on each. For example, for schemes of this nature, the toolkit states that members of the public should be given at least three weeks for consultation. The toolkit also recognises that extra time should be allowed for responses to consultation over a holiday period. Two consultation leaflets regarding different proposals for bus lanes on Roehampton Lane were distributed to different properties in the area between 8 and 10 December, 2003. Transport for London requested that one be posted back to TfL by 22 December and the other by 5 January. As you wrote to Peter Hendy on this matter, TfL subsequently extended the time allowed for the responses to take into account the Christmas holidays and following concerns raised by Wandsworth Council. TfL distributed a letter detailing this extension at the time on the 13

22 and 23 December 2003, advising residents that consultation had been extended to 9 January 2004. Responses received a few days after the closing date are also being considered. The rate of response so far has been high, enabling TfL to make a betterinformed decision. TfL policy states that, for schemes of this nature, individual members of the public should be given at least three weeks for consultation. In this case, this has now been exceeded to take into account the holiday period for the total length of consultation being five weeks. Elizabeth Howlett (AM): Thank you. The Mayor: I should say we thank you for bringing it to our attention and making sure we got the extension. Elizabeth Howlett (AM): Thank you very much, and I thank Peter Hendy for acting so fast. He told me the reason for this error was the printing timescale, which went all wrong. But this is a very sensitive issue in this area because of the closure of Richmond Park. So there is a lot of transport that goes up and down Roehampton Lane and Priory Lane and is now going to go to Roehampton Estate. That is our worry, with two schools in there and lots of children around, the worry that all this transport that cannot get down Roehampton Lane because of congestion with bus lanes will end up rat-running through Roehampton Estate. That is our worry, and of course there has been a big response now to the consultation and I thank Peter Hendy for extending it, but I am glad you have given me your assurance that in fact three weeks will be the minimum in future. Thank you. The Mayor: Could I also say, because I share your concern about what would happen on the Roehampton Estate, and it was an area of responsibility I once had in the Greater London Council days, I would be happy for TfL and I to sit down with Wandsworth Council to look at a rapid response to try and ensure that we prevent that “rat-racing” through the estate and, clearly, we would consider that as additional spend to the borough spending money. We would be prepared to put the money up to do that. Clearly, with the wholly residential nature of the estate, and the scale of deprivation in the area, the last thing they now need is everyone banging through there. Elizabeth Howlett (AM): Exactly. The Mayor: As I say, if Wandsworth want to sit down and talk to us about a rapid package of measures to avert that, we would be happy to be involved and do the funding. Elizabeth Howlett (AM): Okay, thank you very much for that assurance. Richard Barnes (AM): Consultation has only got validity if those who are being consulted believe they can influence the outcome of the proposals, either to change and stop them or, indeed, at the end sometimes agree with them. TfL are planning to build a new bus depot at the corner of Horn Lane and Western Avenue in Ealing, and in a written answer at the last Mayor‟s Question Time you stated there would be no special consultation procedures for the bus depot. But Ealing itself is giving


the impression that the planning permission which is sought is virtually a foregone conclusion. I wonder if you are aware of the strength of feeling that this issue has created amongst the local residents in Ealing, who simply do not believe that this residential area can cope with huge bendy buses and are very worried about the petrol storage tanks, which will be built next to their houses. Will you come to Ealing and see the proposed depot site for yourself, and come and meet the local residents and endeavour to persuade them that this is the right way forward for this site? The Mayor: I am certain I will be going to Ealing in the coming months, and I will make sure I make a stop at the proposed site. I cannot remember the exact figure in the answer I gave you last time, but my recollection is that so far the complaints we have had have been in single figures. I might be wrong, but when I looked at the brief that came into question, it did not look yet as though you had been able to sufficiently alarm the whole community, but I am sure you are working on it. Richard Barnes (AM): I am responding to my residents, Mr Mayor, and they are currently petitioning Ealing, because at the moment it is an application to Ealing. The Mayor: Before people start getting worried about the fact that this is going to be a great hazard, the scale of measures that health and safety have taken over decades around the bus garages, as with all the normal commercial garages, on the storage of fuels, is incredibly strong. You only have to sit back and ask yourself how often in London have we heard of an explosion either at a bus garage or at a commercial private garage. It just does not happen. Sally Hamwee (Chair): We are not going to answer that question, because it is not strictly on this, and I am going to move on to Tony (Arbour). Tony Arbour (AM): It is the consultation on bus stops; it is a matter I have raised before, and Bob Kiley said he thought you could have too much consultation. But right across London residents in London boroughs are irritated by the fact that their only locus in the matter of locating bus stops is their right to be consulted. Boroughs do not have a veto on this. In the light of the disturbance which new bus stops can have on existing residents, will you suggest to TfL that they accept that the views of London boroughs and of local residents should actually override the views of TfL on the locating of bus stops? The Mayor: No, I do not. As a Member of Parliament I took up representations from my constituents against having bus stops outside their house, and that was my job to represent my local constituents as an MP. My job as Mayor is to actually plan a transport strategy that benefits overall everybody in London. I have to say, I am not aware of anybody volunteering to have a bus stop outside their house. I think everybody‟s preferred idea is that there is bus stop about a minute‟s walk away, but bringing no inconvenience to them. On that basis, there would not be a bus stop in London. If we give local people a veto over bus stops outside their house, we might as well wind up the bus service now. 15

I once lived in a flat myself which had a bus stop outside. Of course, you do not like the fact that people sit on your wall waiting for the bus; they leave the remains of their kebab there when they get on the bus and so on. It is unpleasant, and we need to work with councils to minimise the impact, but the reality is that you have to have a bus stop somewhere and they will often be outside someone‟s house. Tony Arbour (AM): Why is TfL a better arbiter of deciding where bus stops should be than London boroughs? The Mayor: Because London boroughs are a slightly bigger version of that Nimby attitude. Which borough is going to volunteer to have a depot to store hydrogen fuel? As we are discovering in Havering, Havering would rather it was somewhere else. Which borough comes forward and says, „we would like to volunteer a site in our borough for a new garage‟? We have got Islington saying, „could you not take Holloway away?‟ Everybody would like the garage just over their borough border but providing a good service to them. That is the benefit of a London-wide system where a Mayor with a sufficiently large mandate can live with a level of complaint about their decisions. Sally Hamwee (Chair): I suspect a leader of a council wanted that sort of answer otherwise he would have been stuck with having to make the decisions. Brian Coleman (AM): On the subject of consultation, when TfL consulted on changes to Apex Corner on the A41 in my constituency, Barnet‟s professional highways officers strongly advised against the proposed changes, and after £1 million of expenditure Barnet‟s officers have been proved right and TfL have had to make changes to that junction. Will TfL not listen to the views of Barnet officers with regard to the Stirling Corner socalled junction improvements, where again Barnet‟s officers have expressed severe reservations? The Mayor: I would be quite happy to have a separate meeting with you and Barnet officers to actually go through those details. But off the top of my head I cannot remember all the ins and outs of Apex Corner. I do recall much correspondence. Brian Coleman (AM): Indeed. Val Shawcross (AM): I think we very much welcome the development and implementation of the consultation toolkit in TfL, because although things are not yet perfect, and we will always all find one occasion where there has been a problem, I think there has been a major systematisation of this and an improvement therefore in accountability. But can I make a plea for a particular group of stakeholders in general, which is, are the schools to be consulted, and a little bit more actively and perhaps listened to more? There is I think, across London, a “schools out” problem, and if you look at all the statistics they show that the moment when children start leaving school in the afternoon there are bits of problems and incidents. We can have situations where there are 50 or more children at a bus stop, and I think it is very important therefore that the bus companies, operators and TfL, actually, are very


closely engaged in consultation with schools about things like the siting of bus stops and the timing of services and issues about how things are working. Sally Hamwee (Chair): Can you get to the question, please? Val Shawcross (AM): Can you talk to me a little bit about how you intend to improve the engagement of TfL, the bus operators and the schools, because there are, I think, a lot of problems that could be solved by closer working there. The Mayor: The toolkit was exclusively Bob‟s (Kiley) idea; to take out of the hands of project managers the job of consulting with the public, because they are totally committed; they are not objective. Our job is to persuade people about the wonders of what we are doing. I think this has had a huge impact. Whether this applies to the actual planning of the bus routes I do not know. But it does seem to be wholly sensible to make sure we do get better links between bus companies and the schools, but I do not know whether Bob (Kiley) knows whether this applies to the schools. Bob Kiley, Commissioner, Transport for London: There are periodic reviews that occur and I do not know exactly what tools and the toolkit are used to deal with the schools, but I will get back to you on it. It is a good question and I do believe that there is consultation that goes on with schools, but why do I not get details? Val Shawcross (AM): I think the point is that they need a lot of fine-tuning very often and very detailed response, because five minutes either side of the timetable can make a huge impact on local issues and safety for the school. Bob Kiley, Commissioner, Transport for London: At a minimum, of course, every five years there is a serious review that happens, because the contracts are being renegotiated, but I think you are talking about something that would have greater periodicity and I will just have to get back to you on it. Val Shawcross (AM): Thank you. Mike Tuffrey (AM): Sticking with consultation and the benefits of listening, incidentally I should welcome the start this week of a trial of a new bus service, the 603, from Muswell Hill to Swiss Cottage, which has only taken six years‟ worth of campaigning from local people and Liberal Democrats to get that one to a trial stage. Is it not high time – Lynne (Featherstone) to the fore on that one – that we had a proper system so that communities and individuals could actually propose new bus routes or alterations to existing services, with TfL and London Buses inviting those in, so that a wellpublicised scheme… so that they could submit proposals and have those considered in the context of the transport strategy and the Plan and have a proper response? I say that because at present it seems to me it is reactive, in the sense that there are campaigns; they are ad hoc and, generally, the response comes back: „No, that it is not part of our plan‟. Is it not time we had a scheme whereby people could actually propose things and have a proper response, but fitted with the budgeting timetables and so forth?


The Mayor: That seems like a very good idea. The initial rush, when we were establishing everything, was to deal with much more urgent priorities and just get contracts let. Now I think we have got a much better grip on the structure, it might be possible that we could build into the bus contracting process consultation with stakeholder groups on the route before a contract is let at an earlier stage. It might be that there are some substantial staffing implications there, so I cannot actually say that will happen, but it is certainly something we will take away and look at. Mike Tuffrey (AM): Contracting is an obvious point to do it, but more widely and in terms of forward planning, so that there is genuinely a change of culture, because I think one of the criticisms from our side is, despite all the fine talk here about changing the culture in TfL, it has not actually flowed through as we have seen from the exchange just five minutes ago, in terms of a change of mentality, so that they genuinely are not adopting a „we know best‟, they are genuinely listening and genuinely giving an honest answer, rather than simply saying „no, that is not part of our plan; it cannot be done‟. So let us work on it, and certainly from our side we will be proposing these things in the months to come. The Mayor: A particular flurry of them in late May, no doubt. Darren Johnson (AM): When you are consulting on a new project, do you think it is responsible to draw people‟s attention to the environmental impact of that scheme? The Mayor: Absolutely. Darren Johnson (AM): Why did you not do it with the Thames Gateway Bridge? The Mayor: We are about to have a three-year public inquiry, at which the environmental statement will be presented. There is going to be months of debate on this. It is a question of when you do it. Until we had a guarantee from Government that funding would be available to do the bridge, I think it is rather pointless. Now we know we have the possibility to build the bridge, we move to the next stage, which is a full public inquiry, at which you, and I am sure everybody else, will turn up to give their two pennyworth in. No one will be silenced, and this is under an independent inspector who will then make a recommendation. Darren Johnson (AM): But you started the process not setting out the full information for people. You could have played a responsible part in that debate by warning people of the environmental impact in terms of traffic increases, in terms of air quality and pollution and so on. You chose not to do that because you did not want to damage the credibility of your scheme. The Mayor: I think you have an alarming view, which is not borne out by the reality of the impact here. We are talking about, towards the end of the next decade, most probably the best part of a quarter of a million people having moved into the Thames Gateway and hundreds of thousands of jobs and homes coming. I do not think it is unreasonable that, for the whole of that gateway, we provide the one crossing across the River Thames so that people can get across. If road bridges are so devastatingly environmentally damaging, I would expect you would be making the case for stopping people crossing at Westminster and Waterloo and Chiswick and Richmond and so on. We cannot have one standard for the poorer working 18

class people of east London and a different one for the middle class environmentalists of west London who have their own bridges. Darren Johnson (AM): So a six-lane road crossing is not going to lead to any environmental worsening, any pollution, any decrease in air quality? The Mayor: No worse than the impact that people who drive across Waterloo and Westminster have. It will be, I think, a point I make that, when we watch people descend from all over Britain to denounce this as the biggest threat to civilisation since Adolf Hitler, to ask whether they live near a bridge that they use to cross the Thames. No doubt in their car. Darren Johnson (AM): But do you admit it will lead to a worsening of pollution? The Mayor: No worse than anywhere else in this city. Darren Johnson (AM): But it will lead to extra pollution in London. The Mayor: Why do you not then be honest and come up with proposals to balance that by closing some of the bridges in west and central London, where people have almost a surfeit of them? Darren Johnson (AM): Do you not think it is normal that in most places around the world you have more bridges at the source of a river, where a river is small, than towards the estuary? That is a fact of life. The Mayor: When people did not live there, you were not going to put in a bridge. Lots of people are coming to live there, and I would make one observation on this. Both north and south of the Thames at the eastern part of London, I think, Londoners have not had the same benefits of economic growth and opportunities that people in the centre and west have had. One factor in that is transport, because it is more difficult. People who are unemployed in Woolwich have not been able to get across easily to the jobs that might be on the north side of the Thames. This is something we are going to correct. If you want to be fair to all Londoners, then if you are talking about reducing environmental damage by reducing people‟s freedom to travel across the River Thames, you come up with a scheme for everyone in London, not just pick on working class people in east and southeast London. Darren Johnson (AM): It is you who is hoisting a new bridge on the working class people and the extra pollution and extra traffic congestion, which will end up killing people. The Mayor: 85% are up for it. Jenny Jones (AM): Of the people who responded. The Mayor: Which was very substantial. Still I keep asking: will somebody tell me why the people of east London should be denied what the people of west and central London have? Darren Johnson (AM): Because we do not want people dying from air pollution.


The Mayor: They are going to die from the bridge? Sally Hamwee (Chair): I think we had better move on to Stratford. 9/2004 Jenny Jones What comments have TfL given to Newham council in response to the proposal to have 10,000 car parking spaces as part of the new development at Stratford? Do TfL feel that this excess of car parking is an appropriate use of land around the biggest, most modern transport interchange in east London? Have TfL offered to work imaginatively with the developers on alternatives to such a car orientated approach, with free cycle courier delivery for shoppers to the surrounding area and car sharing clubs for the new residents? The Mayor: TfL has reported to the Mayor – a copy of the report has been sent to Newham – that the amount of car parking proposed in the Stratford city planning application exceeds the standards set out in the draft London Plan and we are actively seeking a reduction. TfL‟s objective for the development is for appropriate transport infrastructure that does not adversely affect the operation of either the existing or future transport network. TfL has submitted a series of tests to be carried out regarding travel demand. Once TfL is satisfied with the travel demand assessment it will undertake work to enable buses to serve the development. Regarding initiatives such as traffic sharing clubs, TfL currently has in hand work to compare alternative methods of traffic reduction. It is hoped that the work will lead to firm conclusions by next summer. In case all that waffle is not absolutely clear, I cannot conceive there would be any way in which, if the present level of parking was still in the scheme when finally presented, it would be possible to avoid a direction to refuse. Jenny Jones (AM): You talk about a percentage cut that TfL is seeking. What sort of percentage are we talking about? The Mayor: I really do not want to go into that, because the moment I say that, then the developer knows my bottom line. Jenny Jones (AM): Okay. I‟ve been told, you can tell me if this is true or not, that you do not actually keep any sort of tally on how many car spaces you commit on each development, i.e. that they are all taken as individual developments and you do not keep a tally. The Mayor: Legally, we could not say to a developer, „you have got to have less, because we have already agreed so and so‟. Each scheme, by law, has to be considered on its merits. We could have somebody go through all the planning applications and add them up. As the unit is very stretched at the moment, I would be quite happy if you want one of the Green research team to go in there and do it. It is not a secret; it is just a lot of work. Stratford


Jenny Jones (AM): That is a very kind offer, but we are a bit stretched at the moment as well. The Mayor: Preparing a manifesto. Jenny Jones (AM): Many parts of London are not actually going to reach the 2005 EU limit on air quality. What you are actually doing is permitting any car parking spaces to go through. You are actually likely to be at a point where London cannot reach those limits, and these are legally binding limits. What happens then? Somebody surely should be advising you that you are actually reaching the point when the social and environmental impact of all these car parking spaces is actually illegal. The Mayor: It is the environmental impact of the pollutants that come from our car culture, and you are right, there is no way that it seems possible that London will be able to hit the EU or Government targets. We have had discussions, which have taken place largely in the public domain, with the Government asking whether or not it should not reduce London‟s targets so that they can be hit. My position on this all the way through has been no, there should be no special target for London which is a worse one in health terms for our citizens. We have to redouble our efforts. Clearly, one big way forward on this would be a low emission zone. Now, after all the talk about how easy it is going to be, we produced the report, it has gone in to the borough councils and governmental machines and, of course, there is a big bill attached to it. But I give you my commitment: I believe that we should proceed to the low emission zone. We need Government on board, in terms of, presumably, a tax break for people who have to renew their fleet with more environmentally sustainable cars and lorries. But I have not lost sight of that. That is most probably much more important in terms of getting us close to the targets than arguing about one individual car park. Jenny Jones (AM): It is really not that simple, is it? Because, when you encourage people and give them the opportunity to drive, they will do it. What we have to do is always offer other options. What I am wondering is, perhaps the London Plan guidelines are actually too generous and we should be re-thinking those. The Mayor: They are about to have the force of law and they are an improvement. I would have thought there is not much chance of getting that revisited in the immediate or short term. But let us bear in mind, car parking space that you include in a development like Stratford does not mean to say every day someone is driving to or from that. There will be a large proportion of Londoners who do exactly as we do in my household, which is, there is a car, but you use it at weekends or occasionally in the evenings. Very few Londoners make that extensive use, and if therefore you are developing an option like Stratford, unless people are going to be denied any car use and have to use the public transport system, which would change dramatically the nature of the Stratford development into making it effectively only for low income families, I suspect, then you have actually got to provide some place where people can store the car, which they will use occasionally.


Jenny Jones (AM): I am really sorry, but I just do not think you are making the connection between once you offer car parking space you are actually opening up all sorts of social and environmental impacts that nobody seems to be monitoring. Why is nobody at TfL actually thinking along these lines? I am sorry if you are stretched, but this is something that really is going to matter in just a few years. The Mayor: Focus on Stratford. Suppose we were to say: „No car parking at Stratford‟. That would immediately mean you would be dealing, primarily, with a low-income development. You would not get the social mix that is required. The chance of getting a balance between middle class and working class people there would be gone out of the window. You would be talking about the biggest sink estate being built, ever. It would fill up with nominees from borough councils, with homeless families and refugees; you would not get the social mix. You would create a nightmare. Rather than pick on each new development, or each bridge, if we are to tackle traffic problems and pollution, you need London-wide strategies that apply to people who have already got cars as much as those who might want to have them, or already have a bridge as much as those who might want to have one. Otherwise, you are going to be saying, „we have got new rules; it is alright for the people who got through under the old scheme, we are just going to screw into the ground everybody who is coming along‟. I do not think it is politically viable. Jenny Jones (AM): Have I got more time? Sally Hamwee (Chair): Last one. Jenny Jones (AM): It is very irritating when you constantly mention the fact that we are trying to stop poor people from having a bridge. What we are trying to prevent is huge planning blight for those people. That is what is going to happen around that particular bridge at Thames Gateway. Nobody is going to want to live close to it. Going back to Stratford, we have got one of the biggest transport hubs in Europe there. Why, oh, why does anybody have to bring a car, except in an emergency? When you talk about London-wide, you have got to think of this as London-wide. You cannot do it on a project-by-project, development-by-development basis. You have to have tougher measures on opening up opportunities for car use. The Mayor: If you are going to start saying that, on all these big developments that are coming – King‟s Cross, Stratford and the Thames Gateway – they are going to be, not just car free, but car bans and no one can have them, you will create a social division between every new development in London and the London that already exists. It just is not going to be on. There are social consequences of actually excluding from people the right to have a car. Somebody for whom they consider the car to be an essential part of their life, or even just somebody for whom it improves the quality of their life at weekends - they will not locate at King‟s Cross or at Stratford. You would end up with completely one social dimension new developments, and we see that they did not work when it was the North Peckham Estate, they should really work on the scale we are talking about.


John Biggs (AM): Thank you, Chair. This site is of course in the heart of my constituency, and so I have a parochial interest in it. But what concerns me in Jenny‟s (Jones) question are two things. The first is that she is so uncompromising and in reality you need to achieve a balance; and the second is that she is ignoring the scale of development here. This is a site that is about half the size of the City of London, where we are proposing to have 4,500 homes, 1,500,000 square feet of retail, 4,500,000 of offices, over a million square feet of hotel spaces, and about 500,000 of leisure and community uses. They are fundamental to regenerating east London and providing jobs and better prosperity and better homes for people who live in east London who put up with crummy conditions and low incomes at present. The context of this is that 10,000 spaces are probably excessive, but given that scale of development, it is not as excessive as it sounds. Sally Hamwee (Chair): ‘Do you agree?‟ Is that the question? John Biggs (AM): The key, then, to this question is to assert two things. The first is that it is not just the Green Members who are concerned about environmental quality in London. It is pretty fundamental to all of us, even the Conservative and Liberal Members would agree that environmental quality and sustainability are fundamental to this, but the balance has to be right, and we have a just role in getting that balance right. We support you in challenging the number of 10,000, but before you get carried away and say „10,000, outrageous number, it should not happen‟, you need to place it in the context of this massive development, which will help to regenerate east London. Darren Johnson (AM): That was a real grilling, was it not, John (Biggs)? The Mayor: I agree. John Biggs (AM): The second bite of this, then, is again on sustainability. A constituent of mine in Barking, for example, who needs to cross the River Thames, has to drive an extra eight miles because of the absence of a river crossing in close proximity to them. The pollution, air quality and environmental effects of that, for example, the air quality effects on… Sally Hamwee (Chair): Could you bring this back to the question? John Biggs (AM): … residents of Poplar, which is very close to Stratford, are horrendous as well. If you look at asthma, if you look at the school playgrounds and the air conditions there, it is related intimately to the haphazard and thoughtless planning regime which has existed in the past. The Mayor has the opportunity, indeed, the duty to get it right in Stratford, which is a balance. Again, do you agree? The Mayor: We should look at Stratford in comparison with, say, what has been happening around Paddington and all these other major developments and White City. There is no way that we would have allowed White City; I would have directed refusal. But right the way across London there is going to be a balance to be struck. What we want to get to is, we want to be a little more like the Europeans and a little bit less like the Americans. What I mean by that is that car ownership figures in Europe are higher than here, but people use them less and are more likely to make a public transport journey. Individually in Europe people balance it; all we are asking is that the people of Stratford and 23

of the Thames Gateway have that same freedom to make those individual choices. We would like them to use public transport most of the time; we recognise, when struggling with lots of kids or with shopping or with something heavy to move, they are likely to use a car. Lynne Featherstone (AM): I want to use public transport, and I am just concerned that provision of such a huge car park is basically going to mean that the long-distance commuters from Kent and Essex coming over the six-lane motorway that you are creating will go and park there. The Mayor: That is what we want to guard against, and that is what we will be looking at in the negotiations with the developer. Lynne Featherstone (AM): Okay, but if you come back to the Thames Gateway Bridge argument that you put, I get very annoyed… The Mayor: Did you say you support the bridge or the arguments against it? We are waiting to see what the Liberal policy will be on the bridge when the crunch comes. They want it built but no one to use it! Sorry about that. Lynne Featherstone (AM): What I do want from you on the bridge is to stop saying that if you do not want it to be six lanes of traffic and you want it to be a tram, which is a much better place to put a tram than the bus way that you are proposing - if you do not want that, then you are hurting the people of east London, because it is not that no one wants a bridge. As you have got in the consultation when you asked, 85% of people want a bridge. Of course, they bloody want a bridge – I apologise – but it is the type of bridge and it is the absolute lack of an overarching master plan and vision for that area. Do you agree that you are actually giving the disadvantaged of that area a bad deal if you simply provide another Dartford Crossing, which this could be? You say „guard against‟, but your strings are being pulled by someone else now. The Mayor: No, no. Quite specifically, we are looking at a tariff regime that discourages anyone from thinking „I am not going to do the Dartford Crossing, I am going to drive in and cross on the Thames Gateway Bridge‟. That is why we are talking about 100% extra if you are making that sort of trek. I am also talking to the team about, given that we are going to have to go through this very complex highways inquiry, putting in the flexibility there so that by that time (and we are talking about a bridge coming along in about 2014 or 2015, we cannot be certain what the circumstances are like by then) we will have had the Greenwich Waterfront transit and the East London transit up and running for years. We may be moving to the point where those might be upgraded to tram systems, and therefore I am hoping that we will get into the highways powers the ability for a future Mayor to say „we will upgrade and convert two lanes of the bridge to a tramway‟. I want the flexibility to do that. It might be that the best way of guarding against commuter rat running is not just a differential toll between local residents and those who are not local residents, but different tolls at different times of the day. I am hoping, providing legally we can do it, we can build into the Act that flexibility so that we would be


able to move very rapidly in the future to prevent the unfortunate consequence of long-term commuting across the bridge. Roger Evans (AM): Thank you, Chair. It is good to see the Mayor‟s support for these measures, which will help people who drive their cars and who are passengers in them in East London. It is interesting in the Mayor‟s response to Jenny (Jones) that he consistently says that working class people do not have cars, when all the evidence suggests that actually very often they are more dependent on their cars than people with higher incomes. Would you consider doing some research on that and changing your viewpoint, Mayor, because it really does not reflect reality? The Mayor: Here in London, 29% of households have no access to a car. Now, some of those are very high paid, very progressive, liberal-minded ecologists, who, no doubt on principle, refuse to have a car. I suspect, when you look at the social composition of the 29% of households who do not have a car, they will be overwhelmingly social classes D and E. Therefore, there is that dimension, quite strong here in London, much more so that the rest of the country. Can I just say as well that the bridge concept is not a Tory policy. As I recall, it was first enunciated by Abercrombie in 1943 in the Abercrombie Plan, and he of course was a Liberal. Roger Evans (AM): That shows juts how long it takes to get things done in London government these days. The Mayor: I remember my parents read me the Abercrombie Plan instead of fairy stories when I was an infant. Roger Evans (AM): Can you give us an update on the proposal to build a coach park on East Marsh in Hackney, which is probably even closer to Stratford than Poplar? The Mayor: Oddly enough, there is no proposal to build a coach park on East Marsh in Hackney. East Marsh at the moment is an isolated park, surrounded on two sides by a river, which is used as football pitches by people from Hackney and the East End of London. The facilities are abysmally poor and, therefore, the proposal that we are now putting up to be considered by the people of the area is that what we would do would be to lay out the pitches properly and put in proper changing facilities. They have clearly got to be environmentally sensitive – this is Metropolitan Open Land – not ugly great blocks, but perhaps with green roofs, perhaps one storey underground or something like that. For two months of the Olympic and Paralympic Games, we would park coaches on the site. We would not build a coach park; coaches will be parked on the site, and when the Paralympic Games are over they will be returned to the football teams. Now, what the football teams get out of this immediately in the next couple of years are good permanent facilities and those would be retained indefinitely for the future. They would lose the ability to play football there during July, August and September of 2012, whilst we are parking coaches on the pitches, and we would do the restoration work to the pitches afterwards. Sally Hamwee (Chair): Right, at this point we are going to move on to Part B. 3/2004 Coulsdon Inner Relief Road


Andrew Pelling How are matters progressing with the Coulsdon Inner Relief Road/Coulsdon Town Centre Improvement scheme? The Mayor: The contract for construction of the new road around Coulsdon town centre was awarded to the developer on 23 December last year. Work is programmed to start on the site at the end of this month or early in February. On phase two of the scheme, improvements to Brighton Road are planned to commence after the opening of the new road and traffic has been diverted. Croydon Council is currently being consulted on the design brief for these later works. Andrew Pelling (AM): I have asked a lot of questions about the Coulsdon Inner Relief Road over the three years so far, and the one thing I wanted to see in these four years was the relief road and the Coulsdon Town Centre Improvement scheme put in place, so I am delighted by that news. I would also like to compliment the officers of TfL, who have shown both great professionalism and enterprise in ensuring that the scheme actually happened after there were some very significant hitches just before the contract was awarded. Can I ask how you see the combination between TfL and the local authority in resourcing the improvements to Coulsdon town centre itself? After all, you have very much put an emphasis on this development being about improving the environment in the centre of Coulsdon itself, and I think there will be a very positive impact. Also, what role do you feel there is for you in encouraging your Urban Design Unit to be working as soon as possible on trying to encourage Coulsdon to be one of those successful 100 public spaces that you have spoken about before? The Mayor: Now that we have a definite start date for the contract, clearly we will press ahead and the Coulsdon town centre square will be part of the programme and we will look at the funding of that. I cannot honestly say, given all the imponderables of the precept and SR2004, where we will be and who pays for what between us and Croydon. But clearly TfL will bear the bulk of all the subsidiary works that are going to come up on the transport side, and there may be things we can lever in from the London Development Agency (LDA). We will not be paying for all of it, but we will try and make certain that this is not just a new road scheme that reduces the nightmare conditions in the town centre, but actually helps make the town centre feel comfortable and safe. Andrew Pelling (AM): Another question: I am pleased that you see the importance of improving the environment in the centre of Coulsdon. One comment you have made in the past was the importance of seeing the development at Purley Cross being in tandem with this development, and inevitably residents in the area, maybe jealously, will say Coulsdon is being improved but the situation with Purley is not progressing. Previously you said you saw them progressing in tandem. Will resourcing be there in next year‟s budget to continue to progress work on investigating the possibilities for improving Purley Cross, and do you have any news on there being any developments on Purley Cross?


The Mayor: Work will be going ahead. The scale of that work I honestly do not know off the top of my head. I suggest you and I get together, say, on 11 June to talk about how to take it forward. Mike Tuffrey (AM): Can I pursue the point about how the Coulsdon Inner Relief Road, and indeed the Purley Cross scheme, is actually funded? In your re-marriage of convenience with the Labour Party, you will no doubt be aware of the Parliamentary Labour Party Transport Committee and Labour Finance and Industry Group Paper… The Mayor: Oddly enough, it has not passed my desk. I am sure it is on its way. Mike Tuffrey (AM): …Towards a New Labour Transport Strategy, where it talks about funding of schemes like this and it says: „In rich regions and areas we should expect more of the money for investment in transport infrastructure, such as road and rail schemes, to be raised locally‟. So are you now signing up to the Labour Party line to put up taxes, if you were to win a second term, to pay for schemes like this? Or do you disagree with the Labour policy? In which case, is it not true that your re-admission to the Labour Party is a re-marriage of convenience and a cynical exercise? They do not agree with you; you do not agree with them. Which is it? Are you going to put up taxes to pay for this, or is it a re-marriage of convenience? The Mayor: Can I escape this killer question? It does strike me sometimes that you do have a very negative approach to life. Let us all rejoice in the relief road coming to Coulsdon. Let us look forward optimistically to a positive working environment to deal with the problems a bit further down the road at Purley, and let us hope, if you come back after the election, that you have a more positive frame of mind. Mike Tuffrey (AM): I want to know how we are going to pay for… The Mayor: My persuasive powers with the Labour Government will, I am sure, unleash a cornucopia of joyous projects for London. Jenny Jones (AM): Speaking as somebody who is definitely going to be back after the election, I would just like to find out if, when you were actually agreeing to this new road building, any thought was given to negotiating road closures in Coulsdon? The Mayor: The position is that the scheme we inherited was one that I found as unacceptable as you would have done. We scrubbed that; we went back and looked at making the road much more environmentally sustainable, serving wider transport policy than just allowing things to bang on through. We did make very many substantive changes. I cannot recall now how, or to what extent, we discussed road closures, because this is going right back about two-and-a-half, three years. But it was really a completely reworked scheme. 68/2004 Len Duvall Congestion Charging


Have officers been set clear guidance and standards in providing helpful and accurate advice to customers who appeal against Congestion Charge Penalty Fines? Are you happy that the appeals procedure is running as smoothly and as well as you would like? The Mayor: Congestion Charging staff and TfL‟s contractor Capita have been given clear guidance in providing the necessary advice to customers who appeal against Congestion Charge penalty notices. The process for making representations and appeals is clearly specified in the Government‟s Congestion Charging regulations. They are also identical to well-established processes applied to parking and bus lane offences in London. The representation and appeal application process defines the grounds on which the vehicle keeper can make a representation or appeal. If a representation is rejected a notice of appeal form is attached with the notice of rejection, so a customer may appeal to the independent parking and traffic appeals service if they so wish. Queries can be raised with the call centre staff if customers have further questions. Should a customer service representative be unable to assist with an inquiry, then a clear escalation policy and procedure is in place. Len Duvall (AM): Thank you, Mr Mayor. If only the staff had that knowledge that you have. We have got numerous complaints and enquiries from our constituents and others who have contacted us, and no doubt others have, in terms of how they are contacted, what advice they have been given, not just in call centres in the normal day-to-day stuff about Congestion Charging but about penalties and those who want to pay. Those who want to pay. There is a real problem here, and I would really want to gauge whether you think there is a real problem, in terms of what comes across your desk in terms of complaints, or whether Mr Kiley has got any comments to make on it. If so, can you urgently tell us what steps you are going to take? How are you going to take steps to review this to ensure that staff are following the right guidance and procedures and giving the right information to the public, as well as making sure that people can get through the systems? It is one about management of the staff and call centre staff, I think. The Mayor: Clearly, as Bob (Kiley) said earlier, the beginning of this was completely and utterly unacceptable. The proportion of penalty charge notices against which representations are made was 64% in February at the start of the scheme. It is now down to 10%, which is most probably a lot closer. Now, in terms of appeals, only 2% are reaching appeal. Clearly, the worst initial excesses have been borne down on, but I am not yet persuaded that we are where we want to be. The contract renegotiation with Capita had a series of tranches they had to achieve, finalising in March. So far, they have reached each of the standards we have set as each month has rolled by. By March, we should be at the stage where we are satisfied. Clearly, there is still a level of problems we do not find acceptable, but we did not expect Capita to be able to resolve it all overnight. Bob (Kiley) may have some more up-to-date information than I do on this. Bob Kiley, Commissioner, Transport for London: That is essentially it, in a nutshell. I think, since we have only been at this under the new revised regime for just under six 28

months, we need to give it another few months. We are all over the contractor at this point, and whether there will be the kind of improvement that was ultimately envisaged in this contract, I think it is just too soon to say. The Mayor: But bear in mind that we have started the process of the OJEC notice. If they fail to achieve the standard we set, we are under way for replacement. Len Duvall (AM): Can I just clarify? The issue is lack of knowledge of the staff dealing with the issues. It is not just Capita, but also in the appeals process outside that. The poor standards of customer care, which are becoming so obvious now, of trying to get through. This is not something to give a few months to; this is something that has been there from the beginning. There is no excuse for poor customer care. We have heard it earlier in terms of some – not all – of our bus drivers. It is a real issue, because it does portray you in a bad light as well as the scheme, which I think is successful but being dragged down by these issues. Also, there is a real problem in responding to letters. This is bad in terms of where we pass on some of our enquiries, Your non-responses, because it is you, whether it is you or your contractor, your non-responses or late responses are doing us no service at all. It reflects on us all as an institution, not just about this service. That is why there is a sense of urgency over why I want… I know you are all over the contractor, but some of these things dictate now for special measures. We really do need hit squads in there; we need to test it; someone needs to do blind jobs, ringing people up and just checking how they are responding to people, recording, just playing back some recordings. The onus that you put on members of the public to justify whether they sent something in or did not send something in - it is just appalling; it cannot carry on like this. We really do need to get on top of this. What are the special measures and how quickly can we put some in? The Mayor: We have got nine weeks left to the end of Capita‟s trial to turn it round. I would say, in terms of the number of letters I am reading from MPs and Assembly Members, where people have sent them to me, they are dramatically down in number. Now, of course, I am optimistic about that. I am just going to check that it does not mean to say they are all delayed and they are piling up somewhere. But literally we are having to sit down and go over the particular cases. It might be you are down to individual operators that have got to be replaced and others are working fine. Or it might be that the overall service still needs a level of improvement. Len Duvall (AM): Chair, maybe we could have cross-party support and a few people from the Transport Committee to do a constructive response to you to give you an insight of how we see it and some of the problems we see from this side of the table. Bob Kiley, Commissioner, Transport for London: Could I just say one thing on Len‟s (Duvall) comment? The ultimate sanction, of course, is termination of the contract, or removal of some activities from that contractor‟s purview. None of those are going to be excluded if performance does not really reach a standard that we can all feel better about than we obviously do now.


It probably should not come as a huge surprise that the customer-facing side of the project has not done so well, because the contractors had this experience in other situations in the past. We were keenly aware of that during the procurement. The problem we had during the procurement is one that we are trying to avoid the next time around, which is, at the end of the day; we only had one qualified contractor. There was another one in the run-up, but that contractor was not able to qualify on one of the most important aspects of the procurement. This is not, I suppose, an entirely unexpected development in a project like this, which had no model that could be followed anywhere else, and upon which no contractor really had prior experience. Now we are getting real experience with a contractor and it has been a little unpleasant, but I do not think we preclude taking onerous measures from the contractors‟ point of view if we must, if we are not getting improvement. When we get to the one year mark, which happens to coincide roughly with the experimental trial period we are going through with the contractor, we will be prepared to act if we must. Len Duvall (AM): I totally agree with you and everyone around this table would say it is a very difficult contract, but actually answering the phone, following procedure notes, getting people being nice to them and giving the right information over the phone is something that is not difficult. It should have settled down now. That is not the case. This is basic stuff about customer care. That is something that Capita, or any contractor, or even TfL, should be able to deal with, and we should not run away from the idea. It is about management; and it is about how do we actually make sure we are managing this bit properly; and it is about overviewing and reviewing and monitoring. That is the bit we need to get right because I do not think, because of all the magnitude of the other problems, that we are. So I accept what you are saying about the contract in its entirety, but the elements we are talking about are basic stuff. The Mayor: We agree. Bob Neill (AM): Another example of that is demonstrated by a constituent of mine, who took from 1 May to 23 December to resolve the problems over her registration for a Blue Badge discount, culminating in a letter of apology on 23 December from a named officer of Capita; only to find that on 2 January this year the same officer sent a letter saying that she had not submitted the correct forms for registration and in fact giving the wrong date for the registration, which was previously the only bit of information they got right. There has got to be something seriously wrong. The Mayor: There is no defence for that. Bob Neill (AM): Would you agree that a £31 million bail-out is not going to be much help to that lady for that sort of service? The Mayor: We agree. Lynne Featherstone (AM): I am spending an inordinate amount of my time on Radio Shropshire, where one poor guy has received so many demands, never been to London – same old story. Even after selling his car, he continuously gets erroneous penalty notices. He is not alone; I know of a woman in Oxford. He was articulate and a lawyer and threatened legal action. She was a little old lady in Oxford – very vulnerable. It is unacceptable, both in terms of the aggravation and worry you give to vulnerable people and the time taken by almost anyone who tries to deal with this. 30

Where I totally agree with Len (Duvall) on the range of problems, there seems to be no real person dealing with those sorts of problems. You can never get an answer and it is really unfair to these people feeling they are going to be taken to court at any moment because they cannot deal with a human being who can say the same thing twice in a row, which according to Bob (Neill), they do not anyway, even if you did get the same person twice in a row. Can you assure me that within this contract this is dealt with? If it is not, can it be dealt with? The Mayor: I agree with the point you are making, but I think your final point is wrong. It is not that someone can give the same response twice in a row. What we desperately need is someone who can actually listen to the argument being made and give a different response when they have heard the argument. Lynne Featherstone (AM): And, Mayor, intervene in the system to stop it doing what it keeps doing. The Mayor: If I can give a parallel example, I was on a bus. A lot of people had been turfed off the earlier bus. Of course, not everyone had a ticket; the ticket inspector gets on, and all the ticket inspector could say was: „you have to pay £5 if you are on the bus without a ticket‟. Everyone explained they had been thrown off the earlier bus; it was raining and it was the rush hour. I told him “I am the Mayor, no one has to pay extra - these people have been turfed off the earlier bus”. All he could say to me was that they have got to pay £5. I had my Oyster Card. We have to have the people regulating our system, who are actually able to engage with the case being made to them, not to follow an absolute line-by-line script. That is the key to this working. 31/2004 Underspend Mike Tuffrey Why is there an underspend of £140 million in London Underground’s budget? Why has not this money been spent on vital improvements to the London Underground service? The Mayor: The difference between the 2003/4 budget and the 2003/4 forecast outurn is principally because of the reduced cost of the Private Public Partnership (PPP) contracts, including lower than expected excess claims due to mitigating actions by London Underground and higher performance abatements, and to the replacing of committed expenditure on projects, and a programme of efficiencies to reduce administration costs. As it is difficult to use any unexpected savings incurred late in one year on new projects delivered in the same year, TfL is committed to make all the necessary arrangements and ensure that Londoners receive in 04/05 the maximum benefit from this year‟s savings by carrying forward monies to earmarked reserves. Mike Tuffrey (AM): Thank you. Could I ask the Commissioner first whether he is happy with the quality of TfL budgeting in the London Underground area, given that there are some huge swings? Central Services with £72 million unspent, for example. Are you happy with how they are now managing the resources? Bob Kiley, Commissioner, Transport for London: Let me hasten to add that this is not a TfL budget experience that you are describing. This predates us. The Underground was 31

not part of this year‟s budget. We have been pretty aggressively reviewing the London Underground numbers, and the budget proposal that you will get for 04/05 will be of a very different character. I do think that they were flying without an instrument panel for a while, in that they could not be certain when these contracts would get signed, or at least the second of the two contracts. Those who designed the budget may have had higher expectations than were warranted, that the infrastructure companies could come up to speed quickly, especially on renewal activity. Obviously they had to come up to speed on day one, hour one, second one on maintenance activity, because there can be no pause there. But on renewal activity they are still getting mobilised, and therefore one area where they expected to have significant additional costs, which were work trains possession time, simply did not happen. It has not happened. That is a planning issue that is very unlikely to be repeated. I thought you were gong to ask me another question, which was: how happy are you with the infrastructure companies? Their performance obviously has an impact on the Underground budget and we are not entirely happy. We are going to be very patient. Tube Lines has now completed its first year, and Metronet will be completing its first year in April, so upon the completion of Metronet‟s first year, which is 70% of the system, we will be doing an appraisal of just where we think we are after one year. We have tried to be patient with them; I think, actually, the working relationships with the companies are decent. Tim O‟Toole (Managing Director, London Underground Ltd) spends an awful lot of time at this. I would also say that, on our side, we need to improve our own management, because there is a lot more to watch than perhaps our people realise. That is going to be a resource commitment, which the Government last February said they would take into account, with some slightly weaselly language, I would quickly add. If we needed more help to manage the contracts, they would seriously consider it, so that will be part of the spending review that we are going through right now. There is a lot that has to be done before any of us will be in a position to say that this procurement is unfolding in a really constructive, useful way. But I am not going to be unduly negative until we get to the end of the first year. Mike Tuffrey (AM): I noted the near £100 million projected underspend on the Private Finance Initiative (PFI) contracts and the PPP contracts, but, ever attempting to be fair, was not going to hold you responsible for the whole of that. Just one supplementary on that point before I return to the Mayor. The fines that are being levied – I think the note I have here is £32.2 million fines due to TfL from Metronet and Tube Lines – that is presumably not budgeted for. You do not budget for fines, so how does that interact in terms of… Bob Kiley, Commissioner, Transport for London: I am not sure I completely understand your question. The Mayor: The fines for the lateness of trains and so on. Bob Kiley, Commissioner, Transport for London: The fines? The abatements?


Mike Tuffrey (AM): Where is that money going to? Because you are not, presumably, budgeting to have fine income come in. Where is that resource going to be deployed? Bob Kiley, Commissioner, Transport for London: Effectively, it works out to be a net cost analysis. Abatements are deducted from positive incentives or vice versa, depending on which is greater. Off the top of my head, I do not recall what the going-in estimate was when the current year‟s budget was prepared. But we can do an analysis for you, if you would like to see how it has gone so far. I just saw it for the first time myself about three weeks ago. Why do I not endeavour to do that, in order to give you an accurate portrayal? Mike Tuffrey (AM): That would be helpful. Can I then just return to the Mayor in my final question? When confronted with the problems on the Tube, your typical response is, „oh well, my hands are tied; I have only just taken it over; it is nowt to do with me, guv‟. But the fact is that in this financial year, there is £140 million of resources that could have been deployed on improving the services. Just to give an indication, that, although I appreciate you cannot spend it in a year, is equivalent to 50km of track being completely refurbished and six tube junctions being re-signalled, or over 200 escalators being overhauled. You cannot spend that in one year, but what consideration did you give, when it became clear there were underspends, to using that money for improving the service today, rather than put it in reserves and thus hold down the Council Tax in an election year? The Mayor: If you look at the budget overall we anticipate that, out of a budget on the Underground of £1.146 billion, there will be a £140 million underspend at the end of the year. Three big items dominate that: £87 million underspend on the PPP contracts; £13 million on the PFI contracts; and then Central Services £73 million. On Central Services I am not alarmed, because I expect that is where there is real waste, there is really unnecessary bureaucracy and where Jay Walder will be bearing down to divert resources into real improvements. On the PFIs, we have two seriously underperforming PFIs, which may go belly-up – a real danger that is there. But on the contracts on the PPPs, the £83 million, they have not claimed, because it is work they have not done. Given that there were no contracts of this complexity that anyone has got any experience with in Britain, I think the PPP companies are finding a much more difficult problem that they envisaged. Mike Tuffrey (AM): Why are you not taking that money and using it on some quick wins in this financial year? The Mayor: The real problem is we have to do the work through the PPPs. They are struggling to keep ahead with the maintenance; they have no plans, in this decade, for doing the big capital projects that you are beginning to talk of. It is no good going back to firms that have failed to claim £87 million they were entitled to for doing work they should have done this year, and go back to them and say, „could you do something else instead?‟ This is our problem. If we could go to firms outside and bring them in, which is the freedom that Bob (Kiley) and myself wanted, that would be an option. But you are asking the offenders to actually spend the extra money. They are not going to do it. I think that they have found the problems infinitely worse than they anticipated, and are struggling just to maintain the service. Therefore, we would love to be able to do that, but we have to go 33

back to them to do it. The people that are underperforming are the people to whom you would be going back to say, „can you do some extra work?‟ I would rather that they did the basic day-to-day maintenance, and thus avoided a crash that would cost lives, than ask them to divert resources on to advancing the escalator repair service, frankly. This is the nightmare that of these contracts – they cannot vary once they are set. Bob Kiley, Commissioner, Transport for London: I might add that, before we spend the £140 million, we should keep in mind that there are huge variations likely to come in on both of those PFI contracts. While it is true that the Government agreed last February in the settlement that they would meet their responsibilities with respect to those PFIs, it is not clear what the outcome of that will be, because it is going to be tied into the spending review 2004. It is a little bit of a race between the end of this fiscal year and an apparent underspend and a climax in the spending review so that we actually know where we stand during the latter years of the spending review. These two variations have me pretty worried. The Mayor: Certainly we would be unwise to use this money to, as you imply, reduce the Council Tax. There is no reason on earth why one of these Infracos could not get their act together and start dealing with the backlog of work, in which case we would have to pay for it. It might well be these are teething problems; they will start to catch up. If you recall the TfL budget we started out with had horrendous underspends in the first year, then reduced and then reduced, and broadly now we are managing to spend what is actually granted. There will be a point when these buggers catch up; and if we had spent this money on anything else or used it to make some sexy cut in the Council Tax in election year, and then they come back towards the end of the next financial year and they have done the work, we have got to pay them. Brian Coleman (AM): Could we perhaps have some of this £140 million underspend spent immediately at Camden Town, where we need, surely Mr Kiley, an injection of resources to get the situation on the Northern Line resolved. We still have nowhere near a normal service. We still have the Northern Line split into two, as you are aware. Your officers facilitated a very useful meeting for myself and the Shadow Secretary of State last Thursday. Surely, just a bit more management effort and a bit more round-the-clock working could get the Northern Line restored to a normal service. It is causing major inconvenience for tens of thousands of my constituents and me. The Mayor: I suspect what is delaying us there is that, until we can be certain of the safety, we are not going to be able to go back to switching the trains from track to track. The truth is, if someone came up with a scheme now to build the Northern Line, the Health and Safety Executive would just rule it out on safety grounds. No one in their right mind would create a system in which trains are crossing across the tracks in the way they do there. I suspect we will get back to switch working, but it could well be, and it is a small chance, that we may never do that. On health and safety grounds it might just never be possible to go back to that. Brian Coleman (AM): That is the rumour, that this is splitting the Northern Line by stealth. 34

The Mayor: Well, it is not by stealth. The other problem we have in all of this, of course, is the uncertainty about the redevelopment of Camden Town tube. You cannot do much underground of the substantial work you would need to do if we were going to live with this permanently split tube, without doing the whole redevelopment. At the moment that is programmed to take ten years. Tim O‟Toole has gone back to look at whether we cannot advance that and contract that time. But our objective is still to try and get back to that switch working, but I cannot say that it is 100% certain that we will ever be able to do that on safety grounds. Elizabeth Howlett (AM): Do you mind if I go back to this conversation you had about your freedom to get the work done? What you are saying is that the Infracos are contracted to do this work and cannot do it; you have got money left over, but the contract is such that you are not allowed to outsource this work, which is badly needed, because of the contract. Who – government I presume – would you have to go to to ask for variance to the contract? Can you tell me just how many penalties you are imposing on these Infracos? I can remember a conversation we had with the Minister for London, I think it was Keith Hill. I questioned him about how tough these penalties were going to be. He was very flaky; he did not know. Clearly, it is easier for these Infracos to pay a penalty than actually fulfil the contract. So is it Government we have to lobby for this? Bob Kiley, Commissioner, Transport for London: Yes and no. The „no‟ part of it is that the contracts are what they are. The only appeal from a contract that gets in the way of progress is to renegotiate the contract, and the time may come when some provisions are going to have to be renegotiated, and the infrastructure companies might be actually interested in that as well. I do not have to repeat all the arguments about the contracts, but on contracts with millions of words and pages, it should not be surprising that there will have to be some changes in the contract, and probably sooner rather than later. Yes, though, to your question in that, when we did settle with the Government last year, we tried to anticipate as many of these anomalies as we could, including the slow start and renewal, overruns on the PFIs. That was a detailed settlement and the Government has agreed, depending on which subject we are talking about, to try to make us whole. That would be part of the discussion that will occur during the Spending Review. There is a lot at stake in the Spending Review because, among other things, in addition to trying to get more money to close revenue operational gaps, we have to make ourselves whole on PPP, since we never created these contracts in the first place, and they appear to recognise that. But the refrain that we keep hearing is that level funding, that is the same funding that you have right now, may be the most that we can expect. Therefore, our business plan has to reflect that, because we are required by law to run a balanced budget.


I think we are at one of those points in time where there is a lot of uncertainty in the air. PPP contracts are really just getting under way. It does take a year to mobilise the renewals, at least. We are watching the maintenance activities; we are not entirely happy with the way things are going, but we do not want to be judgemental too quickly. We are all going to have to have a little more patience. Not a lot more patience; a little more patience for just a few months and, at that point, we will be doing an appraisal of exactly where we are. 18/2004 Workplace Parking Levy

Darren Johnson Given that they are preparing to introduce the workplace parking levy in Nottingham do you still believe it is not feasible for London? The Mayor: Under current legislation, because it would require distinguishing between workplace parking spaces and other or mixed-use parking spaces in addition, even a scheme charging £3,000 per annum per workplace parking space would have considerably less impact on congestion than the Congestion Charging scheme. Darren Johnson (AM): Where are you getting your information from about the difficulties of effectively enforcing a scheme? None of the legal advice and professional advice I have looked at suggests that it would be impossible. The Mayor: From the same team that managed Congestion Charging. The Congestion Charging team deal with this as well. Darren Johnson (AM): Why do you think Nottingham are pursuing this and looking into it? The Mayor: Their circumstances are substantially different and you have not got the same degree of mixed use of car parking spaces that we have in central London. Darren Johnson (AM): Has TfL actually done a further study since the ROCOL [Road Charging Options for London] Report of four years ago? The Mayor: I asked for them to look at whether or not we could bring this forward, and the conclusion was that it would require primary legislation to clarify that problem. Although we can introduce workplace parking, we do not have any right to enter the car park to enforce it. That is a real problem actually; that someone driving in or out of the car park can simply say that they are here for a different purpose than the one they went in for. Take a car park like Homebase, or something. Who is going to stand there saying whether you came there to work or whether you came there to buy a saw? Darren Johnson (AM): Will you look at Nottingham? The Mayor: We will certainly look; if Nottingham works, it will point the way forward, but also do not forget that this does not do much for congestion. If we have got money to spend, it will be better spent on extending the congestion zone than actually bringing this in.


Meg Hillier (AM): Valerie Shawcross [AM] and I raised with you concerns about the impact of the Congestion Charge on schools inside the zone, as compared with very similar schools immediately outside the zone. In the work that TfL is doing, are you looking as well at the broader issues of the double whammy that could hit people who have workplace parking places inside the congestion zone? We do appreciate the issues about primary legislation to identify a workplace parking space, as you have identified just then. But that is something that needs to be included if you are looking at this in more detail. The Mayor: We had to take the decision whether to go for the Congestion Charge, because you could not do both at once – you have to prioritise. We went for Congestion Charging because the impact on congestion is massive. Looking at this, the impact is fairly minor. Meg Hillier (AM): We are talking about on the individual. The Mayor: Also there would be real problems on individuals, because paying £5 a day tots up to about £1,200 a year. You are talking here about something three times as expensive, and, when we did opinion polling on this, whereas broadly a narrow majority of Londoners supported Congestion Charging, this was rejected by a majority of four to one. I just do not believe you can steamroller over massive public opposition. Support is not there for this scheme, and if any of my enemies wish to promote this in the next election I will be delighted. Angie Bray (AM): You talk about £3,000 -The Mayor: (Steve) Norris wants this, does he not? Anti-car Norris. Angie Bray (AM): He is not at all in favour of workplace parking, because of the finances of it. But I was going to say one of the reasons why he is not is because is it not the truth that where companies might be prepared to take on the £3,000 for their employees, those employees would then attract tax on the benefit? The Mayor: This is why I will be interested to see what happens in Nottingham. It is amazing to me that someone has been able to get the scheme off the ground. It might be that the circumstances in Nottingham are just so massively different. But there has got to be primary legislation before we could do it in London. If the Government is saying, „look, would you promote a bill in Parliament‟, I would say, „well, give us Crossrail or give us a hybrid bill for the Thames Gateway Bridge and save some years there and not piddle around with this‟.




TfL Free Travel

Eric Ollerenshaw Further to my previous question, the Mayor also justified the awarding of these free passes on the grounds that such a scheme aids recruitment and retention. As he then went on to say that free travel was still allowed for retired employees, how does this scheme encourage staff to remain in employment at TfL instead of retiring early? The Mayor: Only staff who have completed 20 years‟ service or more and are over 50 years of age at the time of their retirement are allowed to keep their staff travel pass when they retire from Transport for London. 80% of retired staff are over the age of 60. If they live in London they would, in any case, be eligible for free travel via the Freedom Pass. Eric Ollerenshaw (AM): It does seem a very complicated perk. What astonished me when I asked the original question was when I was told that this perk apparently goes back to the 1930s, which makes it quite a modern kind of embellishment to being employed by the Underground. We issue over 109,000 free passes at a cost of £168 million, and 85% of those passes, that is 93,000 passes at a cost of £143 million, are to people who are not employed by TfL, some could be retired, some could be partners, what you will. It does seem to me, that in the modern day and age, this kind of perk needs at least looking at, in terms of the quantity of money. The Mayor: We are looking at it and going back to make sure there is not fraud here, but you are right –109,000. At the moment, 16,800 staff have the pass and there are 16,900 staff nominees. Now I assume that we do not have 100 bigamists on the staff, so those figures should tally. We have then got 13,000 staff who were transferred prior to privatisation to Seeboard Powerlink and vending service staff, so they had a guarantee under Transfer of Undertakings Protection of Employment (TUPE) transfer terms. We have bus operational staff of 20,700. We have bus operational nominees of 15,000; and then we have retired staff and their nominees of 27,000, of whom 22,000 are over 60. When you come to break it down, we are tied up with TUPE on a lot. In a sense, it really does not matter; people are not getting a double benefit of having a pensioner pass and a staff nominee pass, because the reality is they get a better deal, I suspect, out of actually having a pensioner pass, where you have got the access to national rail. But Bob (Kiley) is going to go back and look over this, because clearly with something that has not been looked at, presumably since 1930, it may be worth making sure that fraud has not slipped in there. Bob Kiley, Commissioner, Transport for London: We have commenced both a full financial audit and a management audit, and I am hopeful this will be finished by the end of February at the latest and we will let you know what the outcome is, because I had a reaction similar to your own when I first saw the numbers. 65/2004 Junction Dangers in Southwark 38

Valerie Shawcross A new local constituent has contacted me about their very real concern about poor road safety in the area of Southwark around Borough and London Bridge tube stations. He told me: ‘I am very surprised at the lack of green/red man crossings at very many busy roads. Especially now that it is getting dark earlier again, and is thus during the evening rush hour, I am certainly finding walking home quite dangerous at times.’ I have contacted Southwark Council about this; they reported that there had been 112 accidents in the last 36 months, just around Borough tube; and 12 at just one junction. The Mayor: TfL and I share the concerns of your constituent about the accident numbers around Borough tube station. Priority is given to schemes that are most likely to deliver the best value for money in terms of casualty reduction. The London Road Safety Unit manages the TfL road safety engineering budget to support cost-effective casualty reduction schemes on both the Transport for London road network and borough roads. Although just a single road accident is one too many, the number of recorded accidents involving pedestrians between London Bridge and Borough stations has actually been falling over the last few years. Currently there are no locations in the London Bridge and Borough tube station areas that have been submitted by Southwark for support through the borough spending plan. However, I confirm that TfL will continue to work with Southwark to improve safety. Val Shawcross (AM): Thank you very much, Mayor. That is very helpful. I am sure we can now work to prompt Southwark to submit for Borough Spending Plan support. Can I just call into question, perhaps, the general methodology that is used by councils, and to some extent TfL, about assessing where resources should be applied for accidents? There does seem to be this methodology which looks at accidents after they have happened, and yet the Health and Safety Executive‟s whole modern approach is about pre-emptive risk assessments, looking for the features and the characteristics of a place where an accident may happen. Very often communities, it seems to me, know where the danger spots are. There is a degree of self-censorship; people do not go through certain areas or do not allow their children through certain areas. Do you think it is time that we actually looked at the basic ad hoc methodology that is being applied at the moment, to see if there is a more preemptive approach we could be taking to traffic safety in the whole of London? The Mayor: If you remember the point that Len Duvall [AM] raised a year or so ago about a new school that had been opened - It illustrated this point very clearly, that we normally look at a pattern of accidents over years, and clearly if a new school has opened, there is nothing; you cannot wait for several kids to be killed before you decide there is a problem. I assume this is built-in into our thinking; I will need to go back and check on that. If you look at the accidents that have been recorded on the A3 between London Bridge and Borough stations during the three years up until August this year, 21 involved pedestrians. But there does seem to be a pattern, which is that three years ago it was 42 accidents. The following year 35, and in the year to this August it was 30. So that might be indicative of a 39

downward trend, and I would like to get further detail on what the spread of the pedestrian accidents is. If you actually look at, say, the pattern we have taken with 20mph zones, we really have looked at where the worst accidents are, and then we have put them in, so they are led by the scale of accident. I would need to get more detail about the 21 accidents involving pedestrians, and we can come back and have another look at this with Southwark. Val Shawcross (AM): Can we have a look at the methodology? The Mayor: Yes. Nicky Gavron (AM): I wanted to raise the fact that two-thirds of all pedestrian accident deaths occur at junctions in London, and 60% of our most serious injuries. This is something I have got a lot of personal experience of, because when I chaired the engineers in Haringey, I noticed that all the accident hotspots were at junctions, and I looked carefully and decided that we needed to have all red phases, and we introduced one at Spouters Corner, which dramatically cut deaths. This is something that I think TfL really can do something about, because they control most of these junctions and, even if they do not, they can influence the Boroughs. It is an issue I have raised both with the TfL board and at Mayor‟s Question Time and I am very, very keen to know what progress we are making on introducing better pedestrian phases. I would introduce all red phases at each arm of the junctions and no left and right hand turns during that time. However, there may be some other solutions. I would like to know what we are doing about this. I have also been asked by Meg (Hillier, AM) if we can particularly look at the Angel junction, which is a big issue and has been raised many times. The Mayor: We will go away and look at the Angel junction. In each of these junctions there is a balance to be struck between the people‟s right to get across and also the impact on traffic flow. Before we go down that road, I would actually like to look at the system that operates in the United States, where, when I have been in big cities in the States, what you have at a junction is that, as the lights change, pedestrians have priority and cars that want to turn left wait until the pedestrians go across. Now it might be that that is disaster when it comes to what the accident figures are, but that would be another way forward in this, that you actually maximise the traffic flow, but you gradually train drivers into always giving pedestrians the priority at crossings. If we are going to move away from the pattern we have inherited, which I do not think is very satisfactory, we want to look at all the options before we go down another route. We will look at this at TfL. Clearly, it is not going to happen quickly; we will need to get figures from the States about what happens there. We will look much more quickly at the situation at the Angel. Whenever I am there, nothing ever seems to get up the speed to be able to do an accident or damage, but obviously that is not the case. Whenever I am there it seems to be almost grid locked all the time. Meg Hillier (AM): That is one of the problems.


Bob Kiley, Commissioner, Transport for London: The last time I was in New York I noticed that there were new traffic lights that had walking men on them, and I was horrified that the influence is running in the wrong direction. Both Peter Hendy (Managing Director of Surface Transport, TfL) and Peter Brown (Director of Traffic Management, TfL) are going to be conducting a thoroughgoing review of the major junction situation, the traffic signal situation – all are crying out for serious study. It is going to take some time. You have an antique traffic signal system, and it may be that we need to look at New York and a few other places to see if there are not technologies that might be more helpful to us than what we are using right now. It is long overdue. Nicky Gavron (AM): In Haringey I just introduced a pilot for six months. It has so dramatically cut accidents; it did not stop the flow of traffic in a very big way, and the engineers were converted. I actually do not think the answers are so complicated. Bob Kiley, Commissioner, Transport for London: There are junctions where there are no traffic signals and those are troublesome junctions as well, because I think pedestrians are not clear about what their rights of leverage are when they enter a junction. Does a car have the right to pull right out into the middle of the junction, before even looking to see if anyone is walking? It is a real problem. The Mayor: I am sure you have all forgotten this now, but you have only got to go back 18 months to absolute uproar in some quarters of the media because, at a few junctions in central London, we introduced proper pedestrian crossings, so that people did not have to just run across the road. I remember that very painfully. That was about six or seven that we did. Lynne Featherstone (AM): I went to the Angel junction with Bridget Fox, who is an executive member on Islington Council. The Mayor: You do know it is not in Hornsey, do you not? Lynne Featherstone (AM): Yes, I do get around across the whole of London; you should be aware of that, Mayor. It is one of the most dangerous junctions I have ever seen. Myself and Bridget (Fox) nearly got killed a number of times, which would please everybody no doubt, because there is almost no safe phase when you cross. But the answer from TfL at that point was that everyone knows about the junction; it is well known for being a dangerous junction. But my understanding is that they said there is nothing much they can do about it. I would ask you to go back and have a look, because I do not think that is an answer that can be given. The Mayor: Do not worry; we are going to have a look at it with Peter Brown. Lynne Featherstone (AM): Thank you.

Roger Evans (AM): Tomorrow, at your Surface Transport Panel at Transport for London there is going to be a discussion around future measures for siting traffic signals in


Boroughs and the conflict there has been between Transport for London and boroughs over priorities up to that point. Can you just update us on what the situation is and how you are going to be satisfying Boroughs‟ concerns? The Mayor: There are conflicts with some Boroughs. Boroughs have different priorities; some are closer to ours than others. I think gradually as the Local Implementation Plans process rolls forward, that will cease to be a problem. They will do what they are told. That is a joke. Bob Kiley, Commissioner, Transport for London: Frankly, my feeling is that, now having been to 31 of the boroughs, when it comes to the subject we were just discussing, traffic signals, the boroughs ask and TfL simply responds by doing it, with little regard for the effects on the total network. That should change, but it should not be changed so that TfL is doing things arbitrarily. There needs to be a process that does not automatically result in a traffic signal change, installation or removal simply because a borough asks for it, because there has to be some kind of network regard that comes into play before a decision is made. I have mentioned this to borough officers wherever it comes up, and I do not think they look at that as an unreasonable statement, but they worry a little bit about a tendency on the part of TfL and other areas to be, shall we say, a tad on the arrogant side, in that this could be abused. We will have to put something in place that makes sense, and the place to do this really is in the new traffic management directorate, because it will have, if this bill does have regulations associated with it that make sense, a strategic network responsibility that will go beyond the Mayor‟s network itself and will extend into some of the borough roads. It is not that we are taking them over; it is just that, when it comes to traffic management priorities, according to the language of the bill, we will be the authority. Sally Hamwee (Chair): Thank you very much. That concludes the questions, and concludes the meeting. Thank you.