Wednesday, June 20, 2012
This morning Boris and TfL Commissioner Peter Hendy, appeared before the whole Assembly in a plenary session which dealt with transport issues.
Caroline Pidgeon asked if Boris was concerned about London Underground's recent performance. He replied that new measures being taken to respond to breakdowns would hugely reduce delays. Most disruption was within London Underground's control but recently the Central Line was put out of action by a burst water main which flooded the tunnel near Stratford. He had met Thames Water and presented a bill for £250,000, this being the sum which was paid to compensate the passengers.
I asked about disruption around Upminster Depot. Work is under way to expand the site in preparation for new, longer trains but noise is disturbing residents. Peter Hendy agreed to arrange a meeting on site within a week.
Val Shawcross asked about Friday's planned strike over Olympic pay. Boris stated that it was a matter for negotiation between the unions and bus operators, however he was making £8.3 million available from the Olympic Development Authority underspend to make some reward possible. This sum would be withdrawn if strikes took place.
Boris felt that incessant strike ballots were damaging the reputation of the capital. Introducing a law to require greater member participation in strike ballots would eliminate much of the vexatious claims and he was in favour of government action to alter legislation accordingly. London's record was better than Paris, with 17 unions on the network, but worse than New York, where striking is outlawed.
Jennette urged Peter Hendy to get tough on sexual harassment on public transport. She wanted him to consider a public information campaign similar to that used in New York. If it was successful we should consider copying the initiative in London.
Cycling was discussed and Boris agreed that TfL should focus on the large tipper trucks and skip lorries that seemed to be involved in so many accidents - with cyclists coming off worst. He asked which of us cycled to work and got a very tepid response - understandably, as we don't all live in Islington and it's a long way from Romford on a bike.
Finally I asked Boris to intervene to reduce the tolls at the Dartford Crossing - specifically to introduce discounts for my residents to match those enjoyed in Thurrock and Dartford. He said he would raise the proposal at his next meeting with transport ministers...