Tram Strategy (Supplementary) [6]

Session date: 
December 6, 2006
Question By: 
Geoff Pope
Liberal Democrats
Asked Of: 
Peter Hendy (Commissioner, Transport for London)


OK. So you are proposing tram schemes right across London with the exception of the Thames Gateway and Greenwich water front area which, in the Mayor's Strategic Plans, are featured as priorities for regeneration and, presumably, modal shift. There is quite a lot of concern on the Assembly that there is not a tram proposal on the table. The Mayor has said he is pretty sure that once the transit buses have been running a year or two, we will be able to propose a tram, whereas Dick Halle (Director of Strategy for Surface Transport, TfL) told the Transport Committee: `We do not see there will be an upgrade or a change to a different mode of operation'. Where do you stand?

Supplementary To: 


Answer for Tram Strategy (Supplementary) [6]

Answer for Tram Strategy (Supplementary) [6]

Answered By: 
Peter Hendy (Commissioner, Transport for London)

That is only the difference between timescale, optimism and pessimism. These schemes will be designed so that they can be turned into light rail schemes in due course.

One of the issues which you know very well and which is part of the issue here, is that any light rail scheme has an extraordinarily long gestation period. You have to go through a public inquiry. They do cost a lot of money. They do need good business cases which are, in many respects, determinant on having high volumes of people. The Liverpool scheme failed, in particular, because trying to use light rail as a regeneration scheme when there was not sufficient traffic on the corridor in the first place, made an appallingly poor business case.

When I have been to East London and to Greenwich talking about those two schemes I have talked about the ability to deliver something in the near term which certainly would not be there if they were tram schemes. If Ken [Livingstone] is right, and I am sure that he will be, that they contribute to high density development of regeneration areas, then they will be designed so that tram proposals can be brought forward.

Dick [Halle] is also right that we do need to talk to people in the community as though what we are proposing to do in the near future is a reality, otherwise people keep depending on the long term future without anything actually being delivered. It is quite important that it is delivered in our view.