2012 Games - driving ban

MQT on 2011-10-12
Session date: 
October 12, 2011
Question By: 
Dee Doocey
Liberal Democrats
Asked Of: 
The Mayor


It has been reported in the Evening Standard (27 September) that the International Olympic Committee would like a city centre driving ban during the Games. Do you agree with them?


Answer for 2012 Games - driving ban

Answer for 2012 Games - driving ban

Answered By: 
The Mayor

OK, that is good news. Can I just ask you, if such a suggestion were made, are you able to give a categorical assurance that you would not allow this to happen?

Boris Johnson (Mayor): It may be that there are people. I mean, I notice some hostility to drivers and motorists in this Chamber today and maybe there are some people --

Dee Doocey (AM): No, just answer the question.

Boris Johnson (Mayor): -- who want to ban cars during the Olympic Games; that is not me. I think it would be crazy.

Dee Doocey (AM): Sorry, would you give a categorical assurance?

Boris Johnson (Mayor): No.

Dee Doocey (AM): You will not give a categorical assurance?

Boris Johnson (Mayor): I give a categorical assurance that I won't do it.

Dee Doocey (AM): That you would not allow it to happen. That is really good; thank you very much. Can I just ask you about traffic levels during the games. The Olympic Bid document said that in August, travel was reduced by 20%. It also said that the games will add an extra 5%. Those figures were done by TfL. TfL is now saying - it is actually issuing dire warnings - that traffic needs to be reduced by a further 30% a day which means that Transport for London has miscalculated the number of journeys during the Olympics by more than two million journeys a day.

Boris Johnson (Mayor): Obviously, I disagree with the implication that TfL --

Dee Doocey (AM): Sorry, just before you disagree, can I tell you that these figures come from the Olympic Delivery Authority (ODA), the latest traffic management. Can I ask you what you have done as Chair of TfL to make sure that the TfL figures that it is quoting now are actually correct and that these are not out by another two million journeys a day?

Boris Johnson (Mayor): The important point is that provided business understands what the roads are going to be like and how their particular part of London is going to be affected, they will be able to plan, they will be able to prepare for that period when usage of the roads will be at its maximum, which will actually only be a very brief period, and they will be able to profit from the Olympic Games. The message I want to get out, Dee, with your help, and thank you for asking this, is that I do think there is a risk that we will all start to get a little bit millennium buggish about traffic on the roads during that time.

Dee Doocey (AM): Sorry, excuse me, Mr Mayor; you are not actually answering the question. So could I rephrase the question so it is maybe clearer?

Boris Johnson (Mayor): You asked me what I was doing as Chairman of TfL, what we have done is hold a series of meetings with business, with boroughs, to educate them --

Dee Doocey (AM): To make sure that TfL is not miscalculating its figures.

Boris Johnson (Mayor): -- about the Olympic Route Network (ORN), its implications and what they need to do to prepare.

Dee Doocey (AM): Sorry, Mr Mayor. Let me repeat the question. First of all, are you concerned that TfL got its figures wrong by more than two million journeys a day?

Boris Johnson (Mayor): That is not right.

Dee Doocey (AM): No, it is right.

Boris Johnson (Mayor): That is not right.

Dee Doocey (AM): Actually, you really should know me better.

Boris Johnson (Mayor): That is not right.

Dee Doocey (AM): If I quote figures, they are right and they come from the Olympic documents.

Boris Johnson (Mayor): I have to tell you, as much as I respect you, Dee, that is not my experience.

Dee Doocey (AM): It is right. Well, it might not be your experience, that I absolutely accept, but they are correct. The second thing is I wanted to know what you have done, as Chair of Transport for London, to make sure that the figures it is quoting now are correct.

Boris Johnson (Mayor): What we are doing --

Dee Doocey (AM): Not what you are doing with business. What have you done as Chair of TfL to make sure its figures are correct?

Boris Johnson (Mayor): Well, as I say, what we think is right is to make it clear to people that there will be times, there will be days when congestion will be an issue and they may want to think about reducing their number of journeys and 30% is the figure that has been quoted for some businesses in some places at some times and that is entirely sensible. The crucial thing here is that people understand in detail where the Olympic Route Network is, how it is likely to affect them and they prepare.

Dee Doocey (AM): Mr Mayor, I didn't speak about the ORN but if you want to talk about the ORN, maybe you can explain then why 82,000 people are allowed to use the ORN of which only 18,000 are actually officials who are necessary for the games and athletes. So what have you done to make sure that the rest of them, who are not necessary for the running of the Games, are not using the ORN?

Boris Johnson (Mayor): We have, as you know, and we discussed this repeatedly, they are under strong, strong urgings and the Institute of Fiscal Studies (IFS) has accepted it, Jack Rogge [President of the International Olympic Committee] has accepted it, everybody understands that they will get travel to the games with their tickets on public transport; they should use that. The Javelin will be there. Six minutes --

Dee Doocey (AM): Thank you, Mr Mayor. I think your answer is nothing.

Boris Johnson (Mayor): -- to Stratford from Kings Cross. They are urged to use public transport. What we cannot do is, I am afraid, alter the terms of the Bid Book, which I did not negotiate, perhaps you did but I didn't negotiate them, and told people who have paid up to sponsors and others who have paid a total of £2 billion to enable London to put on the games that they can't have this entitlement that was negotiated in the Bid Book. Just for the benefit of people because I know this is causing a lot of --

Jennette Arnold (Chair): No, Mr Mayor, we must move on.

Boris Johnson (Mayor): Londoners need to know about the ORN and the --

Jennette Arnold (Chair): No, the question wasn't about the ORN specifically.

Boris Johnson (Mayor): All right.

Jennette Arnold (Chair): No. Can we now move on to the next question and that is question number 3146 and that's about the 5% fare cut but can I also call on Assembly Member Coleman and bring your question forward and your question is specifically about the Northern line upgrades?