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Mayor Johnson

Mayor on transport

Today the Mayor has launched his Way to Go! transport vision document. Like Monday’s crime vision thing called “Time for Action” it is very readable. Labour’s transport spokesman on the London Assembly, Valerie Shawcross, is very rude about it (see the Labour Group statement here):

This document represents a shocking failure to understand the importance of transport to Londoners and fails on every single level to provide London with a ‘Direction of Travel’ on our future transport needs. It is utter drivel. This is a huge disappointment for London’s travelling public. In his six months as Mayor this drivel is all Boris has managed to come up with.

A typical Labour moan is that the document lacks “any vision or ambition”. This is Labour code for “there are no promises to spend lots more money”. Shawcross is a lightweight who isn’t going to make many converts with this kind of language.

Shawcross goes on to say:

There is nothing about how the Mayor will encourage people onto public transport, but plenty about giving back road space and speeding up traffic lights in favour of the ‘oppressed’ motorist.

I guess Shawcross hasn’t spent much time on outer London council estates where every spare bit of land is covered with cars. Whilst middle class, professional Londoners might tend to maintain cars that they use at the weekend whilst using expensive public transport for commuting less affluent people tend to use cheap cars to make a living. Shawcross might think it will be improving for these people to waste their lives queuing at traffic lights set to punish them but some of us feel that that is simply an evil waste of life. Have Labour politicians really got this out of touch?

One bit of the Mayor’s document I really liked was the statement:

And that is why Peter Hendy, Transport Commissioner, has called in consultants to help with a thoroughgoing search for savings, on which I will be reporting in due course.

I look forward to reading that piece of work. I might suggest that some organisations can look for their own savings without spending out on consultants but that would perhaps be churlish. I could certainly give our Peter a few good tips.