TfL's Consultation Process (Supplementary) [1]

Session date: 
October 16, 2002
Question By: 
Valerie Shawcross
Organisation: 
Labour Group
Asked Of: 
Ken Livingstone

Question

When is a standard letter not a standard letter? I have a similar problem in my constituency as Elizabeth has, with an over-large bus going down a short, but narrow and difficult section of a route. When I raised it with you previously, Mayor, you kindly helped initiate a consultation. The consultation came back 4:1 in favour of re-routing and TfL have decided not to do the re-routing.

There are, I think, social reasons why but can I just point out to you that one of the things I found bizarre about the consultation is that TfL have counted in to the consultation standard letters which were sent in and signed, and they have counted out of the consultation standard postcards that were counted and signed. There is a problem of methodology and I was very pleased to hear you say that you think that TfL do need professional guidance, support and independent advice on consultation, because they clearly do.

One of the problems with that kind of behaviour is that it does breach the relationship and the trust between Transport for London and the community. I have no doubt in my mind of the goodwill and intention of the people who are running the bus services in London, but that sort of thing is a very bad message.

My question to you is: what do you do for the disappointed? For the majority of people who are disappointed in this case, we need fast action. When TfL sends a message back to the community that, "Oh yes, we see that the majority of you want X but you"re going to get Y', does it not behove Transport for London to try and find quickly alternative solutions to those problems?

Supplementary To: 

Answer

Answer for TfL's Consultation Process (Supplementary) [1]

Answer for TfL's Consultation Process (Supplementary) [1]

Answered By: 
Ken Livingstone

Without having reviewed the particular route that you mention, there is a real problem. We are going through the most extensive expansion of the bus service that there has been since the war and there are many areas where people don't want a bus down their road. Many people don't use the bus service; some people use the bus service but still don't want it coming down their road.

Where we put a bus route is determined by me on the basis of transport needs of a wider community than one particular road, and some people won't be happy with the decision. What we can't give is the residents in each road in London a veto over whether or not buses will go down their road and, therefore, a lot of people are going to be disappointed. What we have, very often, is a situation where people genuinely have a concern but then others get involved and whip it up and it becomes a big issue. I think that's been a problem with some of the consultations on the tram issues and it's been politicised. People think they can win political seats at the borough council elections by making a song and dance about all this and creating an impression that what is coming is the end of civilisation as we know it.

There will be genuine problems where a bus route diminishes the quality of life for people down one particular road but, overall, allows the majority of Londoners to get around their city.