Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Mayor's Question Time

Question Time this morning, and my first outing as group leader, although I have acted in the role on past occasions. The Labour people went racing off and used up their allotted time more quickly than usual, with the result that we got through all of our Conservative questions at a leisurely pace towards the end of the session.

The meeting attracted a packed audience for once, but we soon discovered that protesting tube cleaners - well their representatives anyway - had infiltrated. They interrupted twice, calling the mayor a liar and causing suspension of proceedings whilst they were persuaded to leave. Their tactics don't do much credit to their cause.

Bendy Buses

Labour and the Greens seem to be setting up a bendy bus preservation society (same members as the Ian Blair fan club), judging by today's efforts to force the mayor to keep the articulated monsters. I don't think it will catch on - no calls for a 'heritage route' using bendys for tourists, no requests from members of the public to buy a bendy for the back garden. Boris is adamant that we will see the back of these vehicles.

Economy of London

There was a lot of agonising about the future, diversifying beyond financial services, avoiding knee jerk regulation. Boris was quite upbeat, assuring us that the TfL investment programme - most especially Crossrail - would not suffer.

Traffic Lights

Richard Tracey sought a faster rephasing programme, reducing red phases and clearing some of the unnecessary jams. Other members had pleas of their own and the mayor agreed to press TfL for action, even considering the removal of traffic signals completely in some locations. With the lights at Admiralty Arch on green for just 8 seconds - blink and you miss it - a guaranteed minimum green phase somewhat longer than that would be considered for the capital.

Buses in Oxford Street

Victoria Borwick sought measures to reduce the permanent bus jam in Oxford Street. Perhaps some routes can be diverted, others might be terminated at each end of the street, after all this part of the route can't be helping their overall reliability.

Olympic Costs

Revelations that the contingency fund has already been dipped into after the athletes' village ran into credit crunch trouble. Everyone tries to put a brave face on it, especially Livingstone who was back in his customary place in the public gallery.


weggis said...

Long may he remain there!

Dave Hill said...

You have to admit, though, Roger that purging the bendies is likely to prove a bit trickier than Boris seems to have thought.

Roger Evans said...

Is that a bid Dave? I'm sure we can find you a bendy for display in your garden - at a reasonable price...

judith said...

Mr Hill: about as tricky as the manoeuvring of bendy buses round (or rather across) some of the turnings in my part of East London.

You certainly don't want to be standing with 8' of the kerb on those occasions. And let's forget all about the chap who was killed by one down our way, because the driver couldn't see him.

Articulated buses were designed for the wide boulevards of Continental cities, where they are no doubt ideal, not for negotiating ancient road routes.

Roger Evans said...

So we won't be keeping the number 25 as a 'bendy heritage route'...

Anonymous said...

As ususal for a Tory, you fail to see things from the point of view of a public transport user, prefering to make your gut judgements from the windows of your 4x4.

Those of us - millions - who take buses to work do so in the knowledge that double-deckers are useless for the task - they have one door, a pointless top deck that no-one uses (reducing capacity still further) and take a long time to load and unload.

Bendies, on the other hand, are like trams (the other form of transport despised by Tories), in that they have a high capacity, plenty of doors and are efficient.

Not that Conservatives really (in their hearts) give a fig about efficiency and practicality when it comes down to it.

Roger Evans said...

Don't have a 4x4, don't have a car at all actually. I got rid of my old Saab last year when I found I was paying more for tax and insurance than I was for petrol, basically because I wasn't using it much.

I do use the bus to commute, every weekday, except when I walk. And I prefer double deckers to bendys if I have the choice, because I'm more likely to get a seat - probably because I can be bothered to climb the stairs. The top deck of a bus is a great place to enjoy London, indeed I'm considering writing a guidebook based on that principle.

So take your prejudices elsewhere please 'anonymous'.

Oh, and double deckers have two doors, not one. Are you sure you use them?

morris hickey said...

Other than reasons of courtesy, why even grace with a reply somebody who throws insults from behind a cloak of anonymity?

Bring back the trolleybus.

Roger Evans said...

Some of my anonymous contributors are not technically capable of putting a name to their posts. I humour them.