Ex-Mayor Livingstone Tram

Mayor tries to bury Tram survey

The Mayor’s latest Tram survey is not being published on the GLA/Mayor’s website because it gives the wrong answer.

According to an Ealing Conservative Group press release issued today:

“A Mori survey commissioned by Ken Livingstone has confirmed that local opposition has hardened against the West London Tram in face of the Mayor’s determination to carry on regardless.

The survey, released today, shows that overall, 44% oppose the scheme along the route of the tram whilst 40% are in favour. However opposition is far deeper than this suggests when the details are studied:

  • In parts of the borough where the roads are particularly narrow, feeling is decisively against the tram. In West Ealing/ Hanwell 59% are opposed whilst 28% are in favour. In Ealing 58% are opposed, 28% are in favour. In Acton 48% are opposed, 34% are in favour.
  • The better the understanding the more likely residents are to oppose the scheme. Of those with a ‘good’ understanding of the scheme, 67% are opposed, of those with a ‘general’ understanding, 51% oppose, whilst those with a ‘limited’ understanding of the tram only 31% oppose.
  • 78% think the tram will cause too much disruption whilst the building work takes place.
  • 57% are not convinced that it will improve transport in the area.
  • 74% were less favourable to the scheme when told that some traffic would have to be diverted from Uxbridge Road to neighbouring roads.”

How typical of the Mayor to spend thousands of our money on a survey and then bury the results because they are not what he wants to hear.

Ex-Mayor Livingstone Tram

Tiny Tramlink

I have written back to the ASA today to point out that they have accepted Tramlink/TfL’s arguments too easily.

According to TfL’s 2005 Annual Report London Underground had 976 million passenger journeys and London Buses had 1,973 million passenger journeys in 2004-5. Croydon Tramlink journeys are so trivial that they do not even mention them beyond saying “Though passenger journeys were up on Croydon Tramlink, TfL still has concerns about the performance of our concessionaire company …”.

Croydon Tramlink.jpgSome indication of Tramlink passenger journeys can be found in the NAO report on trams. See Table 6 on page 21. This says that the promoters of Croydon Tramlink were expecting passenger number of 25 million. They achieved 15 million in the first year of operation and 19 million in 2002-3. This represented a 24% shortfall.

This tiny number are in no way comparable with London Underground (50 times bigger than Tramlink) and London Buses (90 times bigger than Tramlink). The total so-called network amounts to 18.5 miles of track with three tiny routes. Whilst there is nothing wrong with Croydon Tramlink it is utterly irrelevant to the vast majority of Londoners. Therefore the recent TfL ads that put trams on a par with the tube and buses are essentially dishonest.

Ex-Mayor Livingstone Tram

ASA think Croydon = London

The ASA responded to my complaint of 22nd August today (see previous posting) regarding the Mayor and TfL trying to kid us all that Croydon Tramlink is available across London. Apparently they agree with him. Pretty quick work I guess. Only a 2 week turnaround.

ASA 4-9-2006.jpg


Tram bill keeps adding up

Ealing Times is reporting that they just did a Freedom of Information request on tram costs to-date and got a number of £24.5 million out of TfL.

Back in May Councillor Will Brooks got the number “approximately £23 million” out of them. See previous posting. So they have added £1.5 milliion doing what over the summer?


TFL adviser admits trams are a waste of money

The Conservatives on the GLA today issued a press release relating how Dick Halle, a senior Transport for London adviser, has admitted that tram schemes are not feasible because they cost 10 to 20 times more than buses and provide little added benefit.

Apparently, the admission came during today’s London Assembly Transport Committee (10.00am City Hall 8th June), when members questioned him on the viability of tram use.

Halle explained that as long as buses are allowed to by-pass traffic they can produce the same journey times as trams but at a lower cost. He said:

“It doesn’t matter whether you have a bus or tram, the real difference is how much priority you give them on the road. Tram schemes cost 10 to 20 times more, they are not feasible.”

Hopefully, this is another nail in the Tram’s coffin. Richard Barnes, our GLA member says:

“Dick Halle is right, there is no point wasting all this money on a tram scheme when buses could do the job cheaper and with less inconvenience to drivers. It’s time for the Mayor to cancel this expensive, unpopular and unnecessary scheme.”

Ealing and Northfield Ex-Mayor Livingstone Tram

TfL blows £23 million on the Tram

Councillor Will Brooks, Cabinet Member for Environment and Transport, has been chasing Transport for London to tell him what the West London Tram has cost so far using the Freedom of Information Act 2000. Their project “director”, Christopher Dean, wrote yesterday to say that: “Since the inception of the West London Tram project in 2002, Transport for London has spent approximately £23m on the development of the scheme.”

He blathers on: “This development cost is small relative to overall investment in infrastructure that the tram would bring to West London and is entirely in line with other major infrastructure developments.”

No you silly man this is a lot of money to spend on a scheme that we do not want in West London and is now just a totem that allows Mayor Livingstone to talk about how he is “investing” in West London. The reality is that the Tram simply destroys one public transport system (the bus) and replaces it with an unproven one while West London spends four years in chaos not to mention a couple of years of planning blight thrown in.


Budapest tram lessons for West London

Having a break in Budapest this weekend I was interested to see their trams in operation. Their system looks quite elderly and our guide talked in terms of the system having been going throughout the length of the last century. He was clearly attached to this method of transport.

The Hungarian capital is fairly low-rise with many wide boulevards. All of the tram tracks I saw ran on special purpose lanes. Sometimes they were separate from the roads. Sometimes the lanes went down the middle of a road with one or two lanes of traffic running either side. I was interested that their trams were about 26 or 27 paces long, much smaller than those proposed for the West London Tram which will be 40 metres. I can’t see how bigger trams in smaller streets make sense in Ealing.

See BBC story.


Unanimous on Tram

Last night a set piece drama unfolded in the council chamber as the whole council voted unanimously to stop the Tram. There was a “recorded” vote where each councillor has to call out their vote in turn. All the Tories answered “For” to their name. When the first Labour councillor answered For too there was a murmur in the chamber. Soon it was clear that it was going to be a unanimous vote as the Labour group voted with the Conservatives then the LibDems. There was a huge round of applause as the result was announced.

In the preceding debate the arguments against the Tram were rolled out and Labour councillors acknowledged that the people had spoken on the Tram and that the public had decided against the Tram.

As a new councillor it was a great treat to take part in the proceedings and to see the council at work. I don’t suppose I shall another unanimous vote for a while.

See Ealing press release.

Ealing and Northfield Ex-Mayor Livingstone Tram

Mayor brands old Ealing Labour administration as incompetent

Ealing Times today covers the Mayor’s weekly press conference that took place on Tuesday. Mr Livingstone said: “The Labour-run council in Ealing were frankly not good enough in their performance, and the people were deeply unhappy with the incompetence.”

The Mayor would rather blame the Labour administration for Labour’s loss of Ealing than blame the Tram although he did conceded that if public opinion continues to move against the West London Tram the project will have to be reviewed.


Tram in the Independent

The Independent on Sunday (IoS) covers the West London Tram and the changes in control across the three boroughs that will have to deal with the impact of the Tram. The IoS points out that Transport for London will need to get at least half the cash from central government and that last year the previous Transport Secretary refused three tram schemes.

I think the most likely outcome of the whole Tram saga is that eventually a Transport Secretary will refuse to put up any cash. I hate the idea that we will spend £10s of millions on a public enquiry before we get to that stage.