Today the Mayoral press machine went to town on the headline that the Mayor is to invest Â£500 million in walking and biking. Before you fall off your seat remember that this is over ten years – one way of making the number seem bigger than it is. Boris Johnson’s campaign team came right back and complained that the Mayor was was playing catch up and that his ideas were not ambitious enough.
Boris is right. We do need to change people’s behaviour and we do need to be more ambitious. You can only spend money once and Transport for London is burning Â£1.6 billion a year on the current account. Rather more of this needs to be directed at walking and cycling and away from other modes.
The Â£500 million sounds like a rather modest sum when you compare it with the bus subsidy over ten years Â£6.2 billion or the Tube subsidy over ten years Â£5.5 billion or the DLR subsidy over ten years Â£800 million. None of the later numbers include capital spending which would make the comparison even more grotesque. It looks like the two Green assembly members have sold themselves somewhat cheaply. The Mayor could not have got his budget through without them.
The picture of the Mayor and the rather cheap Jenny Jones on their Post Office issue bikes made me laugh.