Sir Peter Hendy (Supplementary) [1]

Session date: 
October 22, 2014
Question By: 
Valerie Shawcross
Organisation: 
Labour Group

Question

I am interested to hear that you agreed with Sir Peter Hendy because, as well as a colourful metaphor, as you call it, he made some very clear analytical factual statements.  One was that the growth in bus demand has far outstripped the mileage because we have not had the money.  Another was that he talked about people on low pay and said, “A future mayor is going to have to make sure they can afford to get to work”. 

Do you not think, Mr Mayor, that this is actually quite a serious indictment of your treatment of bus passengers in this city?  They have had a particularly poor deal under your mayoralty.

Supplementary To: 

Answer

Answer for Sir Peter Hendy (Supplementary) [1]

Answer for Sir Peter Hendy (Supplementary) [1]

Boris Johnson (Mayor of London):  Come on!  Under this mayoralty, as you know, we have been able to hold down fares at the retail price index (RPI) rather than RPI plus 1% now for the second year running.  We maintain concessions in London of a kind that no other place in the country has like a 24-hour Freedom Pass for those over 60,  concessions for young people which are not available anywhere else in the country, for those in search of work, for injured war veterans and so on.  We have an absolutely massive and growing bus service and we also have massive and growing demand. 

What Peter is rightly saying is that you cannot go to Londoners or to the country promising huge cuts in budgets for buses caused by fare cuts.  As you will remember, you campaigned only a couple of years ago on a manifesto to take more than £1 billion out of TfL’s budgets with a ludicrous fare cut that you knew the city could not possibly afford.  It was a 7% fare cut.  Buses are the most subsidised form of public transport.  They require more subsidy per mile than any other form.  What your policy would have ended up doing is leaving people on street corners unable to get to work. 

Valerie Shawcross CBE AM:  Mr Mayor, I do not know if you have ever been on a proper bus in London and not just there for a photo opportunity. 

Boris Johnson (Mayor of London):  I do not think you were paying attention to my answer.  I am sorry. 

Valerie Shawcross CBE AM:  Can I just ask you, Mr Mayor ‑‑ 

Boris Johnson (Mayor of London):  She was not even listening to what I said. 

Valerie Shawcross CBE AM:  Mr Mayor, can I ask you ‑‑ 

Roger Evans AM (Chairman):  Can we let Assembly Member Shawcross finish her question? 

Valerie Shawcross CBE AM:  Sorry.  I hope my clock was stopped there, Chair. 

Roger Evans AM (Chairman):  It did.  Please carry on. 

Valerie Shawcross CBE AM:  Thank you, Chair.  Mr Mayor, there is a distinct lack of awareness of what you have done to bus passengers in London in your statements there.  This is increasingly a rather glass bubble you are sitting in here at City Hall because you have actually disproportionately put bus passengers’ fares up in the last six years.  We have had a 43.7% increase in bus fares, which is actually more than 10% higher than the increases that Tube passengers have faced.  We have had a 40% cut in the bus subsidy in London. 

Boris Johnson (Mayor of London):  Sorry, you are talking complete nonsense. 

Valerie Shawcross CBE AM:  I think you said there has been massive bus growth.  There has not been massive bus growth.  The whole point of what Peter Hendy was saying was that the bus service has stayed at the same level.  It has flat-lined.  There has not been any significant growth to deal with the population demand.  We know that people are being left at bus stops in the morning rush-hour.  The buses are getting really overcrowded.  If there are any bus passengers watching this, please email the Mayor and tell him what your bus journey is like in the mornings because he clearly does not know. Are you going to do something, Mr Mayor, to help the bus passengers in your last year of office? 

Boris Johnson (Mayor of London):  It is considerably longer than that, I am proud to say. 

Valerie Shawcross CBE AM:  You have sadly neglected the needs of some of London’s lowest-paid workers in this city.  For bus passengers, what are you going to do? 

Boris Johnson (Mayor of London):  On the contrary, as you know very well.  You have just talked a load of absolute nonsense because what you were proposing was to take about £1.6 billion out of our budgets, a lot of which of course goes into bus subsidies and ‑‑ 

Valerie Shawcross CBE AM:  Will you answer my question, please, Mr Mayor? 

Boris Johnson (Mayor of London):  Yes, I am answering your question and ‑‑ 

Valerie Shawcross CBE AM:  What are you going to do for the bus passengers in your last year of office? 

Boris Johnson (Mayor of London):   What we have done is, by continuing support for bus passengers and by maintaining all of the concessions that we have, we still have an average bus fare per journey in London of 65 pence compared to well over £1 in other cities in this country. 

Valerie Shawcross CBE AM:  What are you going to do for the bus passengers in your last year of office, Mr Mayor? 

Boris Johnson (Mayor of London):  What I am going to do is I am going to join Sir Peter Hendy who has the right arguments, to campaign for proper funding for transport in this city - all modes of transport - and not to go around making rash promises to cut fares one year and then whack them up by dizzying amounts the next year, which is of course what the previous Mayor did. 

Valerie Shawcross CBE AM:  I think that was nothing, from what you said. 

Boris Johnson (Mayor of London):  We have been completely straight with Londoners about what we have done. 

Valerie Shawcross CBE AM:  I will leave it there, Chair, because I do not think the Mayor is going to reply. 

Boris Johnson (Mayor of London):  We have not only maintained but we have extended the Freedom Pass and all the other concessions.  We will maintain support of London’s bus fleet.