Tube Strike hits London, but what is our Mayor doing about it?

Huge queues outside bus stops, lots of road traffic; both cars and bikes, and London losing out on £50 million today according to the Daily Mail.

So why the strike?

Well, the strikes are over 800 jobs that are proposed to be axed… yes 800!!!

An estimated 90% of stations affected by the staff reductions will be in outer London. The controversy is that the now Mayor Boris Johnson actively campaigned on a ticket to save jobs at ticket offices, quite deceivingly, as it was never Ken’s intention to leave stations that were under TfL control totally unmanned.

Ken Livingstone highlighted a campaign we championed in Brent in the Harrow Times to highlight the importance of staff at tube stations:

1996 stock used on Jubilee Line by London Unde...
WikiImage

He said, “we had a huge campaign about four years ago because a banker was stabbed to death as he left Kensal Rise station, which was unmanned.

“I gave a commitment that all the stations that came under the control of TfL would have staff in them.

“Nobody wants to come out of the station at 11pm seeing that there’s no one on the platform and no one on the barrier.”

My electoral ward includes two major underground stations on the Jubilee Line (Neasden and Dollis Hill) and borders another (Willesden Green). Leaving these stations unmanned will be an invitation to criminals. Presence prevents crime.

So what has been the Mayor Boris Johnson’s approach?

In the lead up to the strikes, HE DIDN’T EVEN MET THE UNION LEADERS TO NEGOTIATE!!!!!

This is the most barmy part of it all. During the 2008 London Mayoral election campaign, Boris said that he would move to negotiate a no strike deal with the Unions. Yesterday, it emerged that in what is set to be a disruptive ordeal for many Londoners, that he hasn’t even intervened personally to try and strive for a resolution. All we’ve seen from him is some media interviews.

London needs a Mayor that’s about action in this strained economic climate. Not one that leaves the work to his officers. After all, the Mayor of London is a serious role, not a ceremonial one.

Say no to Boris Johnson’s police cuts in London

A petition has been opened up by Labour’s Mayoral candidate hopeful Ken Livingstone, to which I am encouraging all Londoners to sign. LINK

The Mayor of London Boris Johnson, is proposing to cut police jobs in London by 455. All of this despite the fact that during his 2008 election campaign, he canvassed that cutting crime would be his top priority. But what he said and what he is doing by cutting police jobs differs a great deal.

During the 2010 Local Election campaign it was an issue that residents were already feeling disgruntled about when I was on the doorstep campaigning. I made it known to residents that your vote in the London 2012 elections is going to be crucial for London’s future, even more so than your vote in this years’ local election.

In the last few months, there has been a series of burglaries in parts of Dudden Hill, and residents weren’t best pleased with what Boris Johnson is proposing.

What’s more is that there is no sense in making these cuts. Yes, we are under increasing financial pressure from Central Government, and the Liberal Democrats and Conservatives nationally are chopping our services left, right and centre, but the Home Office budget for London policing has actually increased! BORIS HAS NO EXCUSES!

People in Brent have voiced their concerns to me and it’s great that Ken has taken the initiative to drive this petition forward. Last month, Ken officially launched his campaign to be the Labour Party candidate for the 2012 London Mayoral elections. His staunch opposition to Tory and Liberal Democrats cuts to our services and his vow to protect Londoners from these cuts is one of the reasons why I will be backing Ken to be our candidate for the 2012 London Mayoral elections.

Lib Dem Broken Promise: Dollis Hill House

Dollis Hill House is historically significant building in Brent, and is within Gladstone Park. You may have heard of Chequers, which is the official country residence of the UK Prime Minister. Well, Prime Minister William Gladstone (you may recognise the name from the primary school on Sherrick Green Road), used Dollis Hill House as his country home, and the House was the Chequers of that time.

The House has been subject to multiple arson attacks and a campaign snowballed to save the House.

The Brent Lib Dems promised to save Dollis Hill House. Instead the Council took the easy option and chose to seek to demolish the house, rather than working with English Heritage to find a better solution. Thankfully, and after successful campaigning from the Dollis Hill Residents’ Association, the heritage came through for the House and and after clarity that the Council had not worked hard enough to seek alternative solutions to demolition, the plans to demolish the House have thus far failed.

Another disappointing twist in this saga is that Ken Livingstone is no longer Mayor of London. As Mayor, he pledged financial support to rebuild Dollis Hill House and commitment from Boris Johnson has not been forthcoming.

So Dollis Hill House is another reason to Bring Labour Back on May 6th.

Secretary of State issues stop notice to Brent Cross development plans

Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government John Denham MP has issued a stop notice under planning legislation to the Brent Cross Development plans. The Labour Government intervention comes only a day after London Mayor Boris Johnson gave the project the green light.

The development plans have been deeply criticised by both the Brent Liberal Democrats and Brent Labour Groups. More bad news for Boris who’s just had to deal with the departure of Bertha Joseph.

Traffic problems persist on Tanfield Avenue – Labour takes action

A concerned Tanfield Avenue resident highlighted to me an alarming transport issue that has been affecting residents who live on the road for a number of years now. I therefore wrote to residents who live on Tanfield Avenue and worked through our Brent and Harrow local London Assembly Member, Councillor Navin Shah, who at the London Mayor’s Question Time, raised the issue to Mayor Boris Johnson. See the correspondence below:

Tanfield Avenue, NW2

Question No: 748 / 2010

Navin Shah

What measures are TfL looking at to reduce road traffic casualties and bus journey times along Tanfield Avenue NW2?

Answer from the Mayor:

The London Borough of Brent is the highway authority for Tanfield Avenue. Through the Local Implementation Plan (LIP) process, TfL provides funding to each London borough for improvements to its transport network. This includes works to reduce road traffic casualties and improve bus journey times.

Tanfield Avenue has been prioritised by the London Borough of Brent for LIP funding in 2010/11. The borough will investigate improvements to bus journey times while maintaining an emphasis on road casualty reduction.

TfL has worked closely with officers from Brent to develop proposals for Tanfield Avenue as part of a package of corridor improvements to bus route 182. Implementation of any schemes rests with Brent as the local highway authority and TfL will continue to assist the borough in this regard.

Last London Mayor’s Question Time of the Decade

A special thanks to oSource: london.gov.ukur London Assembly Member Navin Shah who asked a few questions to London Mayor Boris Johnson directly affecting Dudden Hill residents at the last Mayor’s Question Time of the decade. Navin was elected as Brent and Harrow’s Assembly Member in 2008.

See Below:

“Particularly Challenging Problems”

Question No: 3739 / 2009

Navin Shah

What are the “particularly challenging problems” Tube Lines are facing at Neasden and Wembley Park?

Answer from the Mayor:

The issues Tube Lines face at Neasden and Wembley Park are because the track and signalling layout in these areas is especially complex, largely as a result of the depot at Neasden.

In this area there are numerous points and crossings which control the movement of both Jubilee and Metropolitan line trains, and each line crosses the path of the other at regular points, especially towards the entrance to the Neasden depot.  The new Jubilee line signalling will need to interface with the Metropolitan line signalling in the area.

Neasden Station

Question No: 3740 / 2009

Navin Shah

What work is required to bring the Metropolitan Line platforms at Neasden station to a safe and useable level?

Answer from the Mayor:

Work would be required to repair the uneven platform surfaces and edges and remove vegetation.  Lighting, signage and CCTV would need to be installed.

Furthermore, because the former access route to/from the northbound Metropolitan line platform now forms part of the ticket office, customers would be required to exit via the Jubilee line platforms and a subway at the north end of the station, which is currently used by staff only.

The subway requires substantial work before customers can use it, as lighting, flooring and wall surfaces are below standard and in poor condition.  In addition, there is no information or safety signage.

Extending Bus Route

Question No: 3741 / 2009

Navin Shah

Brent Council installed a bus stand and toilet on Church Road, NW10, in the expectation that a bus route would be extended to this area, which has limited bus routes. When will the Mayor actually extend a bus route that will use this facility and improve transport for this deprived local community?

Answer from the Mayor:

The bus stand at Church Road was installed as part of a road scheme designed, in part, to enable increased housing provision in the area.  TfL was involved in the development of this scheme and welcomed the improved bus infrastructure provided.  However, no commitment was given for its immediate use as the area is currently well served by three high frequency services which are adequate for the existing level of demand and which provide good links to the surrounding area.  When additional housing is developed demand will increase and TfL will reassess any business case for service extensions at this time.

Track Inspections

Question No: 3742 / 2009

Navin Shah

How can the Mayor and Transport for London be sure that reducing the frequency of track inspections on the Jubilee line will not compromise passenger and staff safety? What advice was taken on the safety implications of this? Were staff and the unions consulted?

Answer from the Mayor:

The proposed reduction in the frequency of track inspections applies only to the newest section of the Line (the Jubilee Line Extension) and will only affect track patrolling.  All other track safety inspections will continue to be performed at the present frequency.

The London Underground standards currently require track patrolling to be undertaken at least twice per week. This compares to the track patrolling frequency of once per week mandated in the Network Rail standards for track with equivalent service duty (speed and tonnage). The primary reason for this difference in standards is the presence of the now obsolete Bullhead Track on much of the London Underground Network.

The Jubilee Line Extension was constructed with a modern track comprising continuously welded flat bottom rails on concrete sleepers. This track is identical to the track used on Network Rail and, as a result of its design, requires less maintenance and is less prone to defects and failures including broken rails.

The proposal to reduce the patrolling frequency on the Jubilee Line Extension is supported by a full safety analysis including risk assessment in accordance with the requirements of the London Underground Safety Management System. The safety justification was reviewed and approved by Tube Lines safety and engineering experts, in compliance with the full requirements of their Safety Review and Change Control procedure. Following approval within Tube Lines, a request for a concession to the London Underground Standard was submitted and reviewed by the LU Head of Track, our relevant engineering expert. The concession request was subsequently approved on the basis that there was adequate assurance that the proposed change would have no material detrimental effect on the safety of the railway service or staff.

A condition for the approval of the concession request was that Tube Lines ensured that staff and trade union representatives were adequately briefed about the proposed changes and the associated safety justification. Tube Lines have subsequently confirmed that this has been done.

London Transport prices take unprecedented hike

boris-johnson-yawn_667484nBig news today on London Transport fares. Boris Johnson is introducing an unprecendented rise to London Transport charges – THE LARGEST EVER in tube and bus fares!

Here’s what they’re all saying about it:

Bus fares are to go up by 12.7% and Tube fares will rise by 3.9%. Oyster card pay-as-you-go bus journeys are to rise from £1 to £1.20.
The Congestion Charge is rising to £10, while Mr Johnson said a £9 charge for those using a new account system would be operational next year.
The mayor said the price of a seven-day bus pass will also jump from £13.80 to £16.60 but London Travelcard prices will be frozen in the vast majority of cases.

Source: BBC

We’ve got a very, very clear choice. It is to pay a comparatively small price now, or [rather] in January, or pay a huge price later on, in five, ten, 15 or 20 years time. If we miss this opportunity to continue the upgrades and the improvement of London’s transport infrastructure, which will make this city not only much more liveable and better for everybody to move around in, but more competitive for generations to come.

Mayor of London Boris Johnson

I left Boris Johnson with very large Transport for London reserves and plans to raise more funds and protect the environment. He has cut investment, reduced protection of the environment and hammered ordinary Londoners with above inflation fare increases. In essence his policy is that the majority of Londoners should pay to subsidise the better off and worst polluters. That is no joke for London.

Former Mayor of London Ken Livingstone

The Mayor is pricing people off public transport, whilst favouring motorists by going ahead with plans to cancel the western extension of the congestion charge. Part of his fares increase will pay for the gap left by losing around £55m of congestion charge income. The Mayor has today highlighted the pollution caused by old buses, but he was the one who dropped the £25 congestion charge on gas guzzling cars, which would have generated around £30m in its first year. Everything the mayor does shows a bias in favour of the motorist and against public transport users. Even the long delayed increase in raising the congestion charge will be after bus and tube passengers have already started paying their extra fares.

Green Party London Assembley Member Jenny Jones

pdf Document with the breakdown of the changes from the BBC’s website: LINK

.. and from the Evening Standard: LINK