Outer London Public Transport (Supplementary) [1]

Session date: 
March 14, 2012
Question By: 
Steve O'Connell
GLA Conservatives
Asked Of: 
The Mayor


Chair, I thank Valerie for her question. It is one that I considered and she beat me to it because I consider it is a perfect opportunity to highlight what this mayoralty has done for the benefit of my residents in outer London. It is outer London that we are talking about.

A couple of years ago TfL took over the tram. I only judge this by the experience of my residents. To my mind, there has been a marked improvement in the tram offering to Croydon, to Merton and to Wimbledon. I urge you, Mr Mayor, to continue that investment. I would ask you again to look at and I ask you to comment on tram extensions, but I would say so with the proviso that I have some experience of inheriting a previous Labour administration budget which is normally unfunded promises. Whilst I look forward to your commitment around the extension to Crystal Palace and Sutton, I would urge you to make sure you have the funding in the first place before you commit to it. Your comments, please?


Answer for Outer London Public Transport (Supplementary) [1]

Answer for Outer London Public Transport (Supplementary) [1]

Answered By: 
The Mayor

Boris Johnson (Mayor of London): Thank you very much, Steve. You are a great lobbyist and campaigner for Croydon. I would point out that because of the economies that we have made in the transport budget, we still have to cut huge sums of waste from transport budgets in order to deliver these programmes. There is another £4.7 billion of savings still to be found. That is why the policies advocated by the Labour Group are so bankrupt and have already been drawn to the attention of the ratings agencies who think they would present a serious risk to London transport finances.

But what we have been able to do is to improve the Croydon tram network. We have another six new trams coming on this summer, adding an extra four trains an hour to those services. Yes, of course, as I have said to you and to others many times, we are now looking to see what we can do to extend that tram network and that will be part of the programme over the next four years. What I will not do, unlike the Labour Group, is make promises that are unfunded and that I cannot keep.

Steve O'Connell (AM): Thank you very much. On the same point, again, I will be driven by experiences of my residents in Croydon and Sutton. Croydon residents now enjoy the London Overground which you commented on earlier and which was opened last year and links West Croydon and east London. You will be aware and you may like to comment on the wish that we all have around the Chamber to regenerate that area of West Croydon which suffered particularly from the riots six months ago. So, again, Mr Mayor, would you like to comment on that extension of the London Overground which was opened only a year or so ago?

Boris Johnson (Mayor of London): Yes. This is something that is going to be complete this December. It is a fabulous new network. It is the single most popular part of the train system in the whole of the country. TfL has done a very good job in running it. Ridership is increasing vertiginously. It is vital that we continue investment in it. By the way, I think we need another car on each of those trains. We are campaigning for that and I hope very much to secure that from the Government.

What would be inconceivable is that the extra capacity we need on that overground service could be secured by a Labour administration that is so obviously irresponsible in its approach to transport finance.