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Navin's News: Transport for London

Mayor disregards Harrow-on-the-Hill petition

By Navin Shah AM

I am extremely disappointed’ by the Mayor of London’s response to the 500-signature strong petition submitted last March regarding the lack of accessibility at Harrow-on-the-Hill station.

The petition I submitted at the London Plenary meeting in March, stated that residents and visitors to Harrow want the Mayor of London to restore funding, previously agreed with the former Mayor and TfL, to make Harrow-on-the-Hill fully accessible and integrated with Harrow Bus Station.

Over 500 residents signed the petition.

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The response to the petition, sent by Deputy Mayor for Transport, Isabel Dedring, said: “The Mayor recognises that there is more to do to further enhance the accessibility of London’s transport system.

“Harrow-on-the-Hill has been identified in this plan as being in an area for the LU network which should be considered for additional step-free access provision.”

I will continue to lobby the Mayor about this as residents really need and want Harrow-on-the-Hill station to be accessible for them. I am extremely disappointed with the Mayor’s decision, as I’m sure those who signed the petition will be as well.

The £25 million of investment for regeneration and step-free access to Harrow-on-the-Hill Station that the Mayor of London cut in 2008 is desperately needed to make this station a viable transport hub.

One in ten Londoners are excluded from large parts of the transport network because of mobility issues and in Harrow only 4 tube and rail stations out of 14 have step-free access. This is not good enough.

Cllr Sue Anderson, lead petitioner, said: “I was really disappointed to find that despite the campaign to get step-free access for Harrow-on-the-Hill promised to us by the Labour Mayoral candidate Ken Livingstone, Boris hasn’t made any such commitment.”

NEW YEAR BRINGS NEW HIKE IN PUBLIC TRANSPORT FARES

In 2012 I want to see a safer, fairer and equal London and continue my work with our richly diverse communities in Brent and Harrow. To deliver this vision my New Year's resolution is to fight a successful election in 2012 and be part of the team Londoners can be proud of.

Right from the beginning of the New Year Londoners have been hit hard by a fourth year of inflation-busting fare increases from London’s Mayor. The fares in London are now costing over a quarter of the minimum wage take home pay and the increase hits Londoners hard at a time when people are facing a squeeze on their quality of life and the London economy continues to struggle under George Osborne’s failed policies.

This is the wrong fare rise at the wrong time, taking money out of people’s pockets when the London economy is struggling and when people are very hard-pressed. The impact of the fares increase applies across Harrow, Brent and London and across ages and income brackets. Every year the Mayor rakes in more income from fares than his budgets and business plans say he will.

Under the Tory Mayor the cost of a single bus ticket has risen by a massive 50 per cent since 2008. The price of a monthly zone 1-2 Travelcard is up 21%, costing £230.40 per year more and the price of a zones 1-6 Travelcard is up a fifth since 2008. Since Boris Johnson was elected in 2008 fares have risen to a staggering level:

  • Bus fares have gone up from 90p in 2008 to the current £1.30. Cost to passengers is £176 per year
  • Outer London is hit hardest. Last year the Mayor withdrew, in the guise of ‘simplification’ the zone 2-6 travelcard (£5.10), forcing passengers wishing to travel from zone 6 but not into zone 1 to buy a premium priced zone 1-6 (£8) card.

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New figures from the House of Commons library shows the increase means an office manager in central London earning £25,600 living in zone 1 or 2 would have to work for three weeks and three days before the cost of their travel was covered. A cleaner on the minimum wage (£11,730) would have to spend 27 per cent of their take home pay in order to pay for a weekly zones 1-6 Travelcard. A newly qualified nurse working in inner London (£25,411) and living in Zone 4 would have to have to work for 5 weeks and a day before they'd paid for their travel, whilst a shop assistant earning the London Living Wage (£16,013) would have to spend 21 per cent of their take home pay to be able to afford to pay for a weekly zones 1-6 travelcard. Hardly surprising that this year’s Annual London Survey showed that 48 per cent of people questioned said the price of fares were their top concern.

Against the impact of unprecedented fare increases by Mayor Johnson, Ken Livingstone is offering a ‘Fare Deal’ to commuters. He plans to cut fares by 7 per cent and slash bus tickets from £1.35 to £1.20. His proposals also include wiping out the Tory Mayor’s planned increases for 2012 and saving the average commuter £1000 over the next four years. That’s what Londoners want, and need.

Navin Shah AM

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13th January 2012

Mayor committed to 20 years of above inflation fare rises

Mayor Boris Johnson today rejected calls from local Assembly member Navin Shah to cut the cost of public transport in London in a row over fares at City Hall. The Mayor confirmed he is committed to putting fares up above the rate of inflation every year for the next twenty years.

Pressing the Mayor to "put commuters first", Brent and Harrow's London Assembly Member Navin Shah said "Londoners are paying more and getting less” under Boris Johnson.

TfL’s operating budget currently has a surplus of £727 million, which means fares could be cut by 5% to help put money back into the pockets of commuters. Labour Assembly members today called on the Mayor to use the money to lower fares.

But Boris Johnson said he remained committed to increasing fares above inflation for the next twenty years, saying a cut is "the last thing Londoners want or deserve”. He said reducing fares "is not right thing for this city."

The Mayor described the under-spends in TfL's budgets as "completely irrelevant" and said that cutting fares would be a "historic mistake".

 

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Speaking at City Hall today, Labour's London Assembly Member for Brent and Harrow Navin Shah said: "Since Boris was elected, fares are up as much as 56 per cent. Tube delays are up 10 per cent – we’ve just had the worst week of delays and closures.

"A travelcard now costs residents in Brent and Harrow almost £400 a year more. Londoners are paying more and getting less but the Mayor still wants to raise fares above inflation every year for the next twenty years. He should be putting be commuters first and cutting fares instead of raising them"

Fares have gone up above inflation every year since Boris Johnson was elected. A single bus fare is up 56 per cent. In the same period the average annual operating surplus at TfL has been £301 million.

 

 

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12th October 2011

A lesson from Delhi for Boris

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By Navin Shah AM, Member of Labour Friends of India Policy Forum

The Delhi Metro has become the first rail system in the world to earn ‘carbon credits’ under a United Nations scheme. The credits were given by the Clean Development Mechanism (CDM), which gives firms in developing countries an incentive to cut greenhouse gases.

As transport links suffer from government cuts and London suffers from some of the worst urban pollution in Europe, the Delhi story provides a timely reminder of the value of environmentally-friendly and affordable transport.

The Delhi Metro was launched in 2002, and aimed to tackle massive congestion in the city. Delhi has 14 million inhabitants and a population density of almost 12,000 people per square kilometre (as a comparison, London has around 5,000 people per square kilometre), leading to massive congestion and pollution.

The effects of creating an environmentally-friendly metro on this problem are truly impressive.

The Metro carries about 1.8 million people every day. It is estimated that it has helped to have taken 91,000 vehicles off the road. 90% of vehicles circulating in Delhi are personal vehicles, and for every passenger who chooses to use the Metro instead of a car or bus contributes to a 100gm reduction in carbon dioxide for every trip of 10km or more.

Not only is this improving the lives of Delhi’s commuters, and reducing pollution in the city, it is the kind of cumulative contribution in the battle against climate change that is so valuable.

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Earlier this month, a major report found that London ranked among Europe’s unhealthiest major cities, with only Dusseldorf, Milan and Rome ranked lower, and had taken "backwards steps" in combating pollution. The European Union has consistently had to press the government over its failure to meet minimum air quality standards in London. Another study found that pollution in London causes 4,267 early deaths.

Despite all this, Boris Johnson has scaled back the congestion charge, introduced above inflation rises in rail fares and government spending cuts have delayed the Crossrail project.

With London rail fares set to increase 2% above inflation 7% in January 2012 it appears that Boris Johnson has failed to grasp the connection between transport, pollution and the economy.

As Labour Mayoral candidate Ken Livingstone said

"Fares must be cut on transport grounds to make the system more attractive, but also on economic grounds to put ordinary Londoners first by putting money back in the pockets that will boost the London economy."

The Delhi Metro Carbon Credits for which it will receive £6.1m annually, which will increase as passenger numbers rise show how long-term planning can pay off both environmentally and economically. Whilst this UN scheme is open only to developing nations, it still pays for London transport to be environmentally sound.

It is estimated 725,000 work days are lost across the European Union annually due to pollution. The savings are not just the result of an improved environment, but an efficient transport system is also a massive plus to the economy. It is estimated that a 5% reduction in travel time could save British businesses £2.5bn a year, whilst traffic congestion is believed to cost the UK economy £25bn by 2025.The authorities in Delhi have understood this, and the return on their investment in environmentally-friendly transport is evident not only in the £6.1m they will now receive each year or the 91,000 vehicles they have taken off the road, but the improvements in quality of life for its citizens.

The value of an efficient public transport system is immeasurable, affecting every corner of city living.

 

Mayor's 'unfair' fare rises slammed

Local London Assembly member, Navin Shah, has described Mayor Boris Johnson's latest public transport fare rises as unfair and unnecessary.

The Mayor this week announced that fares will soon rise by as much as 8 per cent - the third significant hike since Boris Johnson was elected in 2008. A single bus fare has now gone up by 56 per cent.

A zone 1-6 travelcard will now cost commuters in Brent and Harrow an extra £160 a year.

Navin Shah, local Labour London Assembly member, said: "This is another painful and unfair squeeze on the pockets of anyone who has to use public transport. Bus, train and tube users are being made to pay for the Mayor's unnecessary shrinking of the congestion charge and re-design of the buses. 

"Boris should spend less time campaigning for tax cuts for the richest 300,000 people in London and more time keeping fares down for the other seven and a half million."

 

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Fare rises since 2008

Single bus ticket up 56%

·        was 90p in 2008

·        will be £1.40 in 2012

Costing Londoners £260 a year more

Weekly bus and tram pass up 47%

·        was £13.00 in 2008

·        will be £19.10 in 2012

Costing Londoners £317 a year more

Weekly zone 1-2 travelcard up 23%

·        Was £24.20 in 2008

·        Will be £29.80 in 2012

Costing Londoners £291 a year more

Weekly zone 1-4 travelcard up 23%

·        was £34.60 in 2008

·        will be £42.60 in 2012

Costing Londoners  £416 a year more    

 

 

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15th September 2011

Only 4 Stations in Harrow are accessible

New figures reveal that 71 per cent of Harrow’s stations cannot be used by people with restricted mobility

One in ten Londoners are excluded from large parts of the transport network because of mobility issues, according to a report by the London Assembly. The report found that in Harrow only 4 tube and rail stations out of 14 have step-free access.

There are 26,620 residents who live in the borough with reduced mobility. Stanmore and Harrow-on-the-Hill are two key stations in the borough that have been identified by local interest groups to have a severe lack of accessibility.

Local London Assembly member, Navin Shah, has called on Mayor Boris Johnson to get a grip of the situation. Last year the Mayor deferred the plans of his predecessor to make 22 stations step-free. Navin said: "Parents with buggies or prams, elderly people and those with disabilities are frozen out of so much of our transport network. Boris Johnson needs to get a grip of this and show that he is a Mayor for all Londoners.

“This affects a high number of residents in Harrow and little progress has been made. The refurbishment of Harrow-on-the-Hill will regenerate the area and make it a fully integrated transport hub. Stanmore is another station where lack of accessibility is just not good enough.” 

The full report, supporting maps and evidence can be found here. You can sign the petition here.

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26th November 2010

Only 6 stations in Brent are accessible

New figures reveal that 78 per cent of Brent’s stations cannot be used by people with restricted mobility.

One in ten Londoners are excluded from large parts of the transport network because of mobility issues, according to a report by the London Assembly. In Brent only 6 tube and rail stations out of 27 have step-free access. There are 33,225 residents who live in the borough with reduced mobility, yet only 43% of Brent’s bus stops are fully accessible.

Local London Assembly member, Navin Shah, has called on Mayor Boris Johnson to get a grip of the situation. Last year the Mayor deferred the plans of his predecessor to make 22 stations step-free. Navin said: "Parents with buggies or prams, elderly people and those with disabilities are frozen out of so much of our transport network. Boris Johnson needs to get a grip of this and show that he is a Mayor for all Londoners.

“This affects a high number of residents in Brent, yet little progress has been made. Lack of accessibility is just not good enough, especially when people from around the world come to Wembley to visit the stadium.” 

The full report, supporting maps and evidence can be found here.

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26th November 2010

Supporting the Tube strikes protest at King's Cross

Watch Navin being interviewed about the tube strike at Kings Cross on 29 October 2010 here.

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29th October 2010

Ticket Office Closures

TfL plans to shed up to 800 ticket office and gateline jobs on the London Underground came under fire this morning after a motion was passed opposing the move.

Labour Assembly Members led the charge against the Mayor of London, asking him to review the decision to lay-off London Underground employees in an effort to maintain service levels in stations across the network.

The motion was supported by all parties aside from the Conservative Assembly Members, who having previously walked away from debating ticket office closures, voted against the motion at the Assembly’s Plenary earlier today.

Navin Shah, Assembly Member for Brent and Harrow, said: “I find it disgraceful that the Mayor continues to betray Brent and Harrow and outer borough Londoners by refusing to do the right thing and reverse his decision to close ticket offices and his plans to restrict opening hours of ticket offices.

“The real issue here is the safety of passengers using London Underground and the accessibility of the service for passengers, which the closure of ticket offices severely jeopardises.

“The Mayor has done a complete U-Turn on this issue, having rigorously campaigned against closures in the last Mayoral election in 2008.

Having already cut £16 million from London Underground to staff tube ticket offices as well as cutting £28 million that would have made underground stations step-free, it appears that the Mayor’s policy is to say one thing but do the opposite.”

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20th October 2010

The Metropolitan: Lovely new trains, but as usual broken promises

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Over the summer, I hope you’ve had the chance to catch one of the new Metropolitan line trains being gradually rolled out over 2010. The Metropolitan is the first line to benefit from new ‘sub-surface’ rolling stock, which will also be used on the Circle, District and Hammersmith & City Lines. The new trains are lovely: they’re the first air-conditioned trains on the London Underground and have walk through carriages. The trains can also carry more people as standing room has been increased, but at the cost of a 29% reduction in seating. I can see the value of a ‘hop-on hop-off’ spacious train for short distances in Zone 1, but while I think these trains are perfect for the Circle line, I’ve had some concerns about the suitability of reducing seats on commuter journeys over long distances, as the Metropolitan line covers.

However, the signal upgrade is now dependent on the new coalition government's Comprehensive Spending Review and review of the Underground upgrade. Until the announcement in October, we can only hope the Mayor is effectively lobbying the Chancellor effectively on this crucial decision for the Underground, London and Brent and Harrow.

Unfortunately, The Mayor’s responses to my questions on this have not been straightforward. In October 2008 he told me

Question: The new sub-surface rolling stock will introduce a new standard in comfort with the introduction of air conditioning on London Underground trains for the first time. However, a decreased seating capacity of 29% will have major implications for the comfort of Metropolitan Line users north of Baker Street. What measures will TfL make to ameliorate the journeys of the commuting Londoners who pay the highest fares to travel the greatest distances on the network, and who are simply not serviced by a ‘hop-on, hop-off’ design?

 

Answer by Boris Johnson

Although there is a reduction in the number of seats per train, the line upgrade means a more frequent train service and thereby a greater number of seats available to passengers on the line.

This will allow passengers travelling from further out a greater chance of getting a seat and those getting on nearer central London a greater opportunity to get on the first train that arrives.

In December of that year I revisited the issue, after the collapse of Metronet meant a three year period during which the new trains would run but without the higher frequencies promised.

 

Question: In response to my question 2254/2008 regarding the new Metropolitan Line rolling stock, you responded “Although there is a reduction in the number of seats per train, the line upgrade means a more frequent train service and thereby a greater number of seats available to passengers on the line”. Is the Mayor aware the line upgrade, including the signalling upgrade necessary to run more trains on the line, was delayed by the collapse of Metronet. What does the Mayor intend to do for the three year period where the new trains are in operation without the signalling upgrade, with a resultant overall capacity drop of 29%? What measures will you take to alleviate this congestion?

 

Answer by Boris Johnson

It is important to note that there is no reduction in overall Metropolitan line capacity at any time. Overall capacity will increase with the introduction of new trains and timetable improvements which will be brought in both before and after the signalling upgrade.

It is also important to reiterate the fact that the current seating capacity is overstated. As I mentioned in my answer to question 2254/2008, the three seat transverse seat is often too cramped for three passengers. So while it is said that there are 448 seats on each train currently, in practice the number of seats that are available for use is 368.

On the latter basis, seating capacity in the peak hour will be virtually unchanged and London Underground (LU) is confident that most people at Harrow-on-the-Hill and stations north will still get a seat once the new trains are fully in use.

Following the completion of the signal upgrade peak hour seating capacity will actually increase. The additional capacity on these new trains will also provide much needed relief on the most crowded sections of the line between Baker Street and Aldgate.

Finally, it is important to note that LU is managing the signalling procurement so that there will be no delay from the original plan.

 

So, the Mayor now maintains that seating capacity will not drop because “the three seat transverse seat is often too cramped for three passengers”. I think this just shows the Mayor has never travelled on the Metropolitan Line during the rush hour! I’m sad to report he never responded to my invitation to ride the line during those hours to witness the seating arrangements himself.

 

Nonetheless, there is certainly a reduction in seating capacity, and the Metropolitan Line signal upgrade has now been pushed back to 2016, doubling the time with reduced seating to six years. While that’s a problem, we all understand TfL are operating in a tigh financial climate, as are all public bodies and local authorities, but I think this altercation shows we have a Mayor who is not straightforward with Londoners and whose justification changes when challenged.  

 

What do you think of the new trains? Please let me know

 

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1st September 2010

The Jubilee Line Upgrade: No Light At the End of the Tunnel

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spaceball.gifLondon Underground have this week announced that the closure programme to complete the Jubilee Line upgrade is likely to continue into 2011.

 

The Jubilee Line, as all of my constituents know, has being subject to the upgrade works since early 2007. Over the last three years North West London has been subject to regular weekend closures, rail replacements services and a great deal of inconvenience.

 

London Underground, which is part of Transport for London, concluded the takeover of Tube Lines, the private consortium charged with upgrading the Northern, Piccadilly and Jubilee Lines in June. At this point, while work already lagged behind schedule at over £100m over the original budget, it became clear there were a number of problems with the new signalling system required to boost capacity on the line.  TfL immediately announced closures up to December, but this week, following testing of the signals on Saturday August 21st,  it is rumoured to be unlikely the work will be completed before the end of March 2011.

 

When the Jubilee Line is finished, North West London residents will benefit from more frequent trains and shorter travelling time, but this is a distant reward after years of considerable inconvenience and cost to businesses and residents.

 

The closures up until December, which unfortunately particularly affect the North-Western end of the line as much of the work is in the Neasden area. These still may change at short notice so I would advise you to check your journey on www.tfl.gov.uk before you travel. I will of course post news as soon as I receive it. 

 

 

 

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1st September 2010