Devolution of rail services

Meeting: 
MQT on 2015-05-21
Session date: 
May 21, 2015
Reference: 
2015/1238
Question By: 
Caroline Pidgeon
Organisation: 
Liberal Democrats
Asked Of: 
Caroline Pidgeon
Category: 

Question

What discussions have you had with the Department for Transport on the further devolution of suburban rail services to Transport for London?

Answer

Answer for Devolution of rail services

Answer for Devolution of rail services

Answered By: 
Caroline Pidgeon

Boris Johnson MP (Mayor of London):  Thanks.  Caroline, yes.  We are in constant discussion with the DfT and with the Government at all levels about further devolution to London of many things.  Rail services obviously we are making substantial progress on.  From 1 June there will be, as you know, the devolution of the services on the West Anglia line, that is the West Anglia and Shenfield services.  I can announce today that 80% of the fares that we are taking over, on those routes that we are taking over, will be lower.  None will be higher.  Some fares will fall by as much as 40%.  That is the result of TfL taking over that franchise. 

Now, that is just the beginning.  I want to stress that the improvements in the service of the kind that we have seen on the orange ‑‑

Caroline Pidgeon MBE AM:  My question is about your discussions with the DfT.  I welcome all this, but let us just be very specific: have you had any more recent discussions, particularly given West Anglia - absolutely welcome - and the news you are giving this morning?  Southeastern routes we really are keen to see.  Given your TfL Commissioner recently described them in rather colourful language - which I am not going to repeat here - but many of us have absolute sympathy with it - will you make renewed representations to the Secretary of State for Transport and examine this case for devolution?

Boris Johnson MP (Mayor of London):  Yes.  You can take it that during the course of the conversations that followed the London Bridge series of extreme difficulties that passengers encountered, everybody does see the argument for having a locus of political accountability.  As I said to everybody here, when a TfL station is up the spout, it is my job to sort it out.  The trouble with what happened at London Bridge was that nobody was quite sure whose arse they should be kicking, so to speak. 

Caroline Pidgeon MBE AM:  In the past, the Secretary of State for Transport has been a little bit sceptical or at least he had said for the time being - I think it was reported to the TfL Board - they were not going to devolve Southeastern. 

Boris Johnson MP (Mayor of London):  Patrick [The Rt Hon Patrick McLoughlin MP, Secretary of State for Transport] said that.

Caroline Pidgeon MBE AM:  I believe that was reported back to the TfL Board.  Will you use your influence, not only now as Mayor of London but as an MP and as a member of the Prime Minister’s (PM) political cabinet, to try to really bring this forward, not only for Southeastern but for some of the other franchises in London?

Boris Johnson MP (Mayor of London):  Yes.

Caroline Pidgeon MBE AM:  Fantastic.

Boris Johnson MP (Mayor of London):  I hope Londoners will see the benefits that will go to users of the services operated by Abellio Greater Anglia and that we will be able to perform the same trick across London.

Caroline Pidgeon MBE AM:  Thank you.  Elsewhere.  Brilliant.  Thank you very much.