Mayor answers to London
Question by Roger Evans
Do you not agree, Mr Mayor, that all this stuff about a transport hierarchy is actually a load of tosh; someone who is riding on a bus today may be driving tomorrow or walking the day after or even riding a bike if you continue to encourage people to do it. Will you promise that your new strategy will remove all that sort of division and setting Londoners against each other and will actually give everybody a fair chance to use Londons limited road space?
Answer by Boris Johnson (1st Term)
Boris Johnson (Mayor of London): Yes. I certainly do not think that we should endlessly be pursuing policies which are solely designed to ratchet up the pain on the motorist. There are plenty of people in the outer boroughs of London who are not adequately provided for in public transport and I am afraid do still depend on the car to get around. We should never forget them.
Roger Evans (AM): Mr Mayor, I am pleased you mentioned the outer boroughs of London. I would just like to bring you our congratulations from Havering and Redbridge, a seat where we now enjoy a 43,000 majority, so a great deal of support for you there. However, we are having some problems with the quality of the bus services that Transport for London currently provide for us. I know that helping outer London was a major plank of your election campaign. How will you plan to alter the strategy to improve bus services for my constituents?
Boris Johnson (Mayor of London): One of the objectives that we set out in our manifesto was to try to move away from the system whereby buses endlessly come into the centre and then ping out in a hub/spoke system. We are trying to develop a more lateral system of transit from transport hub to transport hub, particularly in south London, and we are going to be exploring that with TfL over the course of the next few weeks. As I said earlier on in my opening presentation, the key thing you have got to do with the buses, in my view, particularly in the outer boroughs at 3.30pm, is make them more agreeable to travel on. I think we would do a lot for peoples confidence in the buses if they did not feel that they were going to be scared by kids, who may not think that they are being intimidating or scary, but are actually deterring lots of elderly people from using public transport.
Roger Evans (AM): We have a particular problem with bus services to the village of Havering-atte-Bower, which of course leads to the name for the London Borough of Havering and which we are all very proud of. We have a bus service there which is going to be axed, the number 500 service, and there are no other services going to that village. Now, in the village we have the St Francis Hospice and obviously quite a lot of people need to visit that hospice, including around 20 outpatients who use the service as well and who need a bus service to get there. We have the Bedford Park Wildlife Visitors Centre. We have the St John the Evangelist Church, the Dame Tipping School and the Havering Park Riding School. It is a very agreeable place. I am not necessarily going to invite you to come and visit us, although I know you enjoy visiting Havering, but could you meet with myself and Andrew Rosindell, the local Member of Parliament, to discuss bus provision to Havering-atte-Bower and what Transport for London can do to improve that please?
Boris Johnson (Mayor of London): I shall. I shall and I congratulate you on your sturdy defence of Havering. I will be there.