Congestion in London

MQT on 2016-01-20
Session date: 
January 20, 2016
Question By: 
Caroline Pidgeon
Liberal Democrats
Asked Of: 
The Mayor


What plans do you have to make the congestion charge more effective at reducing congestion?


Answer for Congestion in London

Answer for Congestion in London

Answered By: 
The Mayor

Boris Johnson MP (Mayor of London):  Thanks, Caroline.  I gave part of an answer to that earlier on.

One of the reasons we have seen a general rise in traffic is because we have a big rise in population with 120,000 more people in this city this year than last year and unbelievably rapid growth.  That is something that we have to deal with.  We also have a fall in the price of petrol, which is getting people into their cars in a way that most of us would think we wanted to discourage and, as I say, a huge number of Private Hire Vehicles.  I have mentioned already some of the proposals that we have to try to tackle that.

We are also of course tackling congestion with all sorts of interventions on the carriageway, including the Split Cycle Offset Optimisation Technique (SCOOT) for traffic lights, which have cut delays by 12% at the junctions where we have it.  We have 1,200 sites with SCOOT now across London, saving Londoners hundreds of thousands of hours sitting in traffic by managing those junctions better, and of course we have the Lane Rental Scheme for roadworks as well.

Caroline Pidgeon MBE AM:  Brilliant.  Thank you very much for that.  Obviously any congestion really is bad for the city and has a cost.

One thing that I want to ask you about is whether you would look at, in your final few months, considering a workplace parking levy in central London.  This is something that has not been considered thoroughly for probably 15 years, but City Hall as a building functions with only four parking places and they are rarely used, from what I understand.  Surely it cannot be right for employers to effectively encourage their workers to drive into central London by providing them with free parking.  Will you investigate or ask TfL to look into whether this sort of levy is an option to try to tackle congestion?

Boris Johnson MP (Mayor of London):  I will look at that, actually.  The whole thing is crackers.  The number of people who make very short journeys in their cars to go to work in London is amazing.  Much of the increase we are seeing on the roads is of course caused by white vans that are driven by internet shopping, and that is a real problem we have to deal with.  We have still too many people in cars and too many people in limos going around feeling grand and posh because they are in the back of a car when really they should be on a bicycle or on the Tube or on a bus.

Caroline Pidgeon MBE AM:  Is this something that you will properly consider and ask TfL to look at?  It is a power that you have under the GLA Act and it is not something that you have done over the last seven-and-a-half years.

Boris Johnson MP (Mayor of London):  I have not done it, but I know that we do have that power.  I will look at it.  As I say, I sometimes cannot believe people’s decision to get into a car and drive a very short distance to work.  I just cannot understand it.

Caroline Pidgeon MBE AM:  Thank you very much.