London transit officials released more data Monday on which Underground subway and rail stations will be the busiest during this summer's London Olympics and Paralympics -- hoping that city's beleaguered commuters might tweak their travel patterns to ease congestion.
The information is all part of a huge push to get travelers to switch to less crowded routes, to work from home, or to walk to nearby stations that might be less busy.
London Bridge, Waterloo and Bank are expected to see a crush of travelers throughout the July 27-Aug. 12 games, while other sites like Earl's Court will be exceptionally busy only on certain days.
"The people we need to reach are the people who can modify their behavior," said Vernon Everitt, Transport for London's director of marketing.
London's transport system must work -- and work well -- if the games are to be considered a success. On any given day, the creaking network already handles 12 million trips. The Olympics is estimated to add 3 million extra trips on busy days.
As for tourists, transport officials plan to flood the zone with volunteers and customer service agents to guide them through the London transport maze. The volunteers will being wearing high-profile magenta -- the color of all the signs offering directions.
City transport leaders have rejected fears that London's transport systems will lurch into chaos during the Olympics, spending 8.8 million pounds ($13.3 million) to make people aware of the problems and offer advice on what to do.
Another 6.5 billion pounds ($10.2 billion) has also been invested in making trains faster and more comfortable.
For those trying to plan, the http://www.getaheadofthegames.com site has an interactive map that shows big red circles around the busiest stations and explanations of the busiest times.
Christian party pledges 25% off Oysters for families
Sue May said the policy would benefit working parents
Family Oyster cards with 25% discounts for London travel have been proposed by the Christian Peoples Alliance (CPA).
The party, standing in the London Assembly election on 3 May, launched its manifesto earlier.
The card was part of the party's commitment to support marriage in traditional families, said a spokesman.
The Labour party and Green party said their policies would do the most to drive down fares and improve transport in London.
CPA stood as The Christian Choice in 2008 and polled 2.91% of the vote in the Assembly Member election.
One of the party's assembly candidates, Sue May, said: "Traditional households in Britain pay £2,200 more in tax than our competitor economies and exorbitant travel fares in London are loaded on top of this.
"Our policy will benefit working parents with significant fare concessions, regardless of whether the children are travelling with them."
The discount would be given to all households in receipt of Child Benefit, the state payment of up to £20.30 a week for those responsible for a child.
In response to the announcement, a spokesman for Ken Livingstone said he was committed to being a "mayor for all Londoners" and would "save the average commuter £1,000 over four years".
The Green party promised to introduce a higher "gas guzzler" charge for the most polluting vehicles, and a new congestion charge for Heathrow airport.
The British National Party said it wanted to know the economic foundation for such a policy announcement before commenting.
The Conservative party and the Liberal Democrats declined to comment
Monday 23rd April 2012
Transport for London say they've updated and changed some of the advice previously given to Londoners looking to plan their journeys during the London 2012 Olympics but have told LBC 97.3 they're now "confident" people have all the correct and relevant information.
For the first time TFL, Network Rail and the Train Operating companies have published full details for all the so called 'hotspots' on the train network in London, and across the UK, during the Olympics and Paralympics this summer.
Upto three million additional journeys are expected to be made in the capital alone on the busiest days of the summer and although two thirds of stations remain unaffected, 88 Underground, Overground, DLR and National Rail stations in London will be the most affected.
Half hourly breakdowns have been put together on a day by day basis, showing the true impact of the Olympics & Paralympics will have on Londoners' journeys during the Games. Underground stations like London Bridge, Canary Wharf, Bond Street and Canada Water had already been highlighted as locations to expects delays of up to 30 minutes before even boarding a tube. Now Waterloo, Greenwich, Charlton, Blackheath, Stratford and London Bridge mainline stations have been given an impact rating of 'expectionally busy'.
TFL's Director of Games Transport, Mark Evers has confirmed to LBC 97.3 there have been "minor" changes to some of the 30 already published 'hotspot' breakdowns but "there's nothing substantially different and all the plans people have made already will hold". It's understood some of the updates include changing advice from a 15 minute wait to upto 30 minutes on the grids included on the 'Get Ahead of the Games' website. Each chart is colour coded so it means changing a yellow box to orange for some of the stations. "We've gone through the latest information from LOCOG on ticketing on how spectator journeys might affect the network. We've updated the information on the 30 hotspot stations announced in January. But all the information is now out there. There'll be nothing further people need to plan for the Games."
The latest information also includes details of the Paralympics for the first time - and LBC's Olympics Correspondent John Cushing's been told Londoners should expect it to be "just as busy" in late August and early September.
Mr Evers says "We have the challenge of people coming back from summer holidays during the Paralympics. I'd encourage people not to think that once we're through the Olympics everything returns to normal London will still be very different during the Paralympics. There will be a concentration of activity more towards the East of London but in those areas and services particular the DLR its going to busy for people getting to and from work".
Fares are central to 3 May's mayoral election and I have been delving into the complex world of Transport for London's (TfL) accounts to try to work out what is what.
The main points are that Conservative candidate Boris Johnson's own TfL business plan is based on fare increases of inflation plus 2%.
During Sunday night's BBC London mayoral debate Mr Johnson did also say that he would look at ways to "bear down" on fares in 2013.
There is not much detail as to how he will do that.
Mr Johnson has mentioned further efficiencies at TfL before, when we questioned him earlier this month in the BBC London studio. Or he could ask the Treasury for more money, as he did this year.
The mayor and TfL say the high fare rises are needed to enable investment in infrastructure for projects like Crossrail and Tube upgrades.
But crucially, it's also to counter a massive grant cut to TfL from the coalition government of £2.2bn over the next few years.
Labour candidate Ken Livingstone says he can cut fares by 7% and not cut, reduce or delay services or infrastructure improvements. If he doesn't manage that he says he will quit.
Few doubt he can do it - even TfL says he could. The question is what will the repercussions be?
Many transport commentators believe that a 7% fare cut will lead to infrastructure projects being delayed in the long-term, or Mr Livingstone having to go cap in hand to central government for more money.
Fullfact.org - an independent fact checking organisation - says Mr Livingstone needs to do more to show it is possible, and up to now the accounts show the surpluses have been spent.
On the subject of surpluses, a thing to note is that £277m of one surplus has been spent on restructuring the Tube Lines' £1.6bn debt.
Boris Johnson, Ken Livingstone, Brian Paddick and Jenny Jones clashed over transport fares
Tube Lines (a subsidiary of TfL) was brought in-house at the behest of Mayor Johnson after it continued to miss deadlines on the Jubilee Line upgrade.
TfL claims restructuring the debt will save millions in the long-term as it can use TfL's better credit rating on the debt and that will save money.
Mr Livingstone believes that could have been used to cut fares in the short-term.
At the weekend, a group of academics wrote to the Guardian and said Ken Livingstone's 7% drop was possible.
In the letter they say: "In the current financial year TfL estimates the surplus will be £830m before exceptional items of expenditure."
And that's the point. TfL says those "exceptional items" are allocated on things like restructuring Tube Lines debt.
The question is how and when and on what those exceptional items are spent.
TfL also says surpluses in Quarter 1 & Quarter 2 automatically transfer over into the £4.5bn capital infrastructure budget.
As I've mentioned before here, dropping fares on the overground trains in London, and therefore Travelcards, without agreement from the Department of Transport (DfT) would also be very tricky.
Previously Transport Secretary Justine Greening has said: "A cut in TfL's fares revenues would risk breaching the terms of the government's funding settlement with TfL."
What that means is a 7% fare cut would mean TfL's funding from central government could actually be cut.
Transport for London (TfL) has insisted that a project to build a cable car across the Thames is not connected with the Olympics, amid concerns that it will not be finished in time for the games.
TfL has never formally announced an Olympic link to the £60m Emirates Air Line project between Greenwich Peninsula and Royal Docks, although it has long been seen as providing a key alternative transport link to help London keep moving during the huge influx of Olympics visitors.
Original projections for the cable car system, where construction began in August 2011, aimed for an official opening in late spring, with the construction group Mace as lead contractor.
A TfL spokesman told IBTimes UK that the project remained on course for a "summer 2012" opening, while stressing that any connection with the games would be coincidental.
"The project is making good progress," he said. "Mace has made several major steps and everything is on track.
"This is not an Olympic project, however. This is a London transport scheme and will be operating and running for many years to come, long after the games have finished.
"The Air Line will be providing a very useful link across the Thames, making that crossing more efficient for people who currently have to make several changes to do so."
TfL claims project is going well, with all towers built and cables connected (TfL)
The spokesman claimed the project was on course to be completed before the games open on 27 July, but repeated that this was not a priority.
"There will be a touristy feel to it and, hopefully, it's something that people will go out to have a ride on and come and see, but it will provide a real and practical use. We are hoping to create something that can be both practical and an attraction."
Mace celebrated a "major milestone" in the construction of the cable car system earlier in April, with the completion of all three towers and the stretching of a cable across the 1.1km gap.
The pylons, manufactured in Bolton, were erected in sections using cranes and reach heights of around 90 metres. The cable, made up of nearly 300 strands of steel, was pulled into place and tensioned using a 12-tonne winch. It has been installed to give a minimum clearance of 50m above the Thames.
"Work on the Emirates Air Line is gaining momentum. This is a major milestone for the project," said Danny Price, TfL Emirates Air Line operations manager.
"It won't be long before we see the rigorous testing and commissioning process starting, with a cabin taking its first flight across the river."
Another representation of completed cable car system (TfL)
Matt Randall, project manager for Mace, said: "The stringing of the cable across the Thames has been a highly complex and intricate part of the construction of this landmark project.
"We used boats to make the initial rope connection during the short night-time window when the tide was at its lowest, working with the Port of London Authority to keep the river clear and this [the rope] was eventually replaced with the cable.
"Now the cable has been tensioned to the correct height, the next step will be to commence the testing of the whole system."
It is thought that the project's main sponsor, Emirates, was keen to see it completed in time for the games for the publicity boost it would give the £36m investment.
The possibility of the cable car not being active before the start of the games did not seem to have been raised with Boris Johnson when he spoke to the Guardian after the scheme was announced in June 2010.
"Passengers would be able to drink in the truly spectacular views of the Olympic Park and iconic London landmarks while shaving valuable minutes from their travelling time," he said at the time.
London firms prepare Olympic flex work plans
The willingness of business to accept alternative work and travel plans for the Olympic Games could create a tradition of flexible working
Could the Olympics be set to leave a legacy of employers being more open to flexible working – in the capital at least?
Transport for London (TfL) is aiming to reduce the number of commuter journeys by a third across the capital during the course of the Olympics and Paralympics, and has urged businesses to consolidate their flexible working policies ahead of this summer’s events.
London’s Canary Wharf district, which lies within three miles of 20 Olympic venues, has seen a particularly strong and collaborative focus on flexible working preparations for the 100,000 workers based there.
Financial services firm Citi surveyed the 7,000 employees based in its Canary Wharf office last November to discover how they travelled to work and what their commuting intentions were during the Games.
“We had an excellent response, which showed that about one third of staff wanted to use alternative working strategies, such as remote access or working from home,” said Citi head of business continuity, Nick Emery.
“Just over a third – 37 per cent – said they were unlikely to work from home due to the nature of their job, and the remaining third were unsure of their plans at that time, so we are now doing another survey.”
Emery said the organisation was keen to encourage and accommodate alternative travel arrangements, so would be increasing its bicycle parking and providing extra shower facilities via a tie-up with a local gym.
The company is also promoting the existing technologies available to facilitate remote working within teams. Emma Cashmore, Citi’s head of diversity, EMEA, said she hoped the Olympics would help to create “a legacy” of flexible working.
“Potentially, more managers and employees could want to work flexibly after London 2012,” she said. “If you look at employee engagement and satisfaction, this can be a key way to increase productivity, commitment and loyalty among your employees.”
In line with TfL’s goal, Citi is hoping to reduce the number of staff travelling into the office by 30 per cent – which if replicated throughout Canary Wharf, would equate to 30,000 workers remaining off-site.
This is a target being worked towards by the Canary Wharf Group, which owns and manages the 97 acre estate, home to 30 office buildings and 200 retail and leisure outlets.
Drew Gibson, the group’s business continuity manager, said the company had been briefing all tenants and coordinating meetings and the sharing of ideas between them.
“There is a level of cooperation between the various organisations in their resilience planning that I don’t think has been seen before, and that is something that is going to benefit all staff,” he said.
“Our business continuity team has spent time with the HR and facilities departments in a lot of organisations and set up forums looking at business continuity issues,” Gibson explained, adding that the ability to “communicate and coordinate” will be key to the success of the plans.
The Canary Wharf Group has also been amending construction and delivery timetables, organising extra bike racks and liaising with TfL and the Thames Clipper to provide extra peak-time Jubilee Line services and boat shuttles to London Bridge.
Big screens will be erected in the main park so workers can watch key Olympic events and “be part of the atmosphere”, continued Gibson.
A practice run (“stress test”) will be held across Canary Wharf and the City on 8 and 9 May to coincide with test events at the Olympic Park in east London. The simulation will give employees the opportunity to use alternative transport, work remotely or alter their hours as they would on a Games day, and provide valuable feedback for organisations.
Employers outside of the capital are also preparing. O2 has already undertaken a successful one-day flexible working pilot for the 3,000-strong workforce at its headquarters in Slough, which is in close proximity to the Olympic rowing venue. The initiative resulted in 2,000 hours of commuting time saved, an extra 1,000 hours worked and a significant drop in car, water and electricity usage, the telecommunications company said.
Taxis in bus lanes row: TfL wins legal action
TfL says minicabs in bus lanes could "seriously disrupt the bus network"
Continue reading the main story
Transport for London (TfL) has won a High Court injunction to stop a minicab firm from illegally using bus lanes.
Addison Lee had instructed its drivers to use the lanes, saying allowing only licensed black taxis to use the lanes was "unfair discrimination".
But TfL said this would affect the reliability of buses.
Mr Justice Eder ruled the minicab company cannot encourage its drivers to use the lanes and must not say it will pay any fines incurred.
In his ruling, the judge said the indemnity given by Addison Lee to its drivers was void as it will have been incurred when an offence had been committed, however, it would be lawful for the company to reimburse any driver who had been fined.
He said the injunction was necessary to "prevent crime and protect the freedom of others".
The judge added if the injunction was not granted, this would "lead to confusion among other PHV (private hire vehicle) drivers and motorists as to the status of existing traffic regulations relating to bus lanes".
It would also lead to "congestion and traffic disruption on London's roads and that enforcement against all those committing contraventions will become very difficult or impossible" for TfL or the police to enforce and would divert staff from other activities.
However, he said that it was up to the drivers to decide whether or not they would break the law.
A judicial review on the use of taxis in bus lanes should be expedited, he added.
Addison Lee said it hoped to overturn the legislation before the Olympic Games and would be appealing against the judge's decision on the injunction.
Leon Daniels, TfL's managing director of surface transport, said: "We maintain that Addison Lee's instruction to its drivers was irresponsible and at odds with its position as a private hire operator."
Transport for London has launched a website where travel data relating to the London 2012 games will be made freely available to app developers, so they can make tube, traffic and cycling apps more useful.
"Transport during the London 2012 Games will be busier than usual, and people moving around the capital during the Games may need to travel in different ways," a spokesperson for TfL said. "People are now able to access information when, where and how they want it. TfL is making as much data as possible available through this dedicated portal."
The website will give developers access to the routes of Olympic and Paralympic events, cycle parking at different venues, new station waiting times, recommended stations for each venue and any traffic management and parking near the events.
Developers will have to accept some terms and conditions before they can download the data, and will be encouraged to read through a comprehensive, 13-page document on Olympic branding, which will help them "understand the laws which protect the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games".
Earlier this April, TfL released a website called " Get ahead of the Games", which shows travel hotspots, on a dynamic map of the stations that will be most affected by the events. About 15 million journeys are expected to be made on the busiest days of the Olympics.
The Games run from 27 July to 12 August. The Paralympic Games start on 29 August and commence on 9 September.
Mayoral hopefuls 'lack vision' on London transport
All manifestos pledge to deliver Crossrail and Tube upgrades
The politics over the promise to cut fares has dominated the mayoral election agenda for transport.
But commentators and campaign groups criticised mayoral hopefuls for "lacking vision" for transport projects for London.
Since Labour candidate Ken Livingstone, the main challenger to the current Conservative mayor Boris Johnson, announced his 'Fare Deal' - a 7% cut - the two have locked horns time and again over the issue.
Transport commentator Christian Wolmar said: "Ken Livingstone went in early on the idea of cutting fares and discomfited Boris. It became a political issue.
"The idea of a pound in your pocket... it has resonance with people, more than perhaps building a new Tube line."
The incumbent vying for a second term has said the annual strain on people's pockets is lower than expected - a 5.6% rise rather than the projected 7% - and money was needed for Tube upgrades.
Continue reading the main story
There is no imagination this year in terms of promises”
Christian WolmarTransport commentator
Liberal Democrat Brian Paddick also cast doubts on Labour's promise saying it would eat into funds meant for investment.
Other fare related promises include protecting the Freedom Pass and better value from tickets, for instance Mr Paddick's one-hour bus ticket.
Commentator Martin Hoscik, from MayorWatch, said: "They're [fare cuts] effectively a form of shorthand - telling voters 'I'm on your side' in much the same way Westminster parties use income tax."
But candidates are "playing safe" and not promising big new projects, experts said.
Since 2008 London has seen four new major transport projects, although there is debate over who came up with the ideas.
Oyster cards were extended to national rail and some river services; the cycle-hire scheme began in 2010 and has since been extended up to the Olympic Park; and in 2012 prototypes of New Bus for London began service - a key manifesto pledge by Mr Johnson in 2008. Construction for Thames cable car is also under way.
Mr Hoscik said: "Voters know we're in tough times and are likely to be sceptical of candidates who offered a raft of expensive, big ticket projects."
Common Labour and Conservative promises
Mr Wolmar agrees, but added: "What is lacking though is a vision that would make a massive difference, say making bus transport easier.
"There is no imagination this year in terms of promises."
A spokesperson for Mr Livingstone said: "The flagship project for this term is Londoners themselves - easing the pressure on them in tough times by putting money back into their pockets."
Mr Johnson's spokesman said the mayor "secured £22bn" for Tube upgrades and Crossrail.
"He will also pave the way for automated trains on the Tube, which will drive down the cost of running the network and therefore drive down the cost of using the network. "
But Green Party candidate Jenny Jones said Transport for London "is up to its ears in debt... which is why the other parties aren't promising even more brand new unfunded schemes".
This may help explain why the manifesto pledges of many candidates appear similar.
Greens, Liberal Democrats, Conservatives and Labour have allpromised to deliver Tube upgrades, Crossrail and promote cycling.
Labour and Greens promised step-free access for a third of Tube stations by 2018. While the three challengers to Mr Johnson promised to deliver "affordable fares" and discounted tickets.
Ken Livingstone and Boris Johnson have more than 10 pledges in common
The Greens said their "radical", but "realistic" plan for "cross-London road pricing scheme" would generate funding for step-free access, extending Tramlink and promoting cycling like in Amsterdam.
The Liberal Democrats promise to "increase capacity on the Tube, the train and London buses, real measures to help keep fares down".
On the other hand the two frontrunners Mr Johnson and Mr Livingstone have more than 10 pledges in common.
A spokesperson for Campaign for Better Transport said: "There's little to choose between their public transport programmes.
"Johnson has largely maintained the investment programme developed by Livingstone - Crossrail, bus service expansion, Tube modernisation, London Overground - as these kind of investments are long term.
"Neither candidate is making any commitments other than to take over suburban rail and to make the case for investment in Crossrail 2, Croydon Tramlink and [in Ken Livingstone's case] CrossRiver Tram."
'A step backwards'
Campaign for Better Transport said it wanted the new mayor to make £98m available over three years for improving bus and rail links and promote cycling in outer London.
Passenger watchdog, London TravelWatch, also called for more buses for outer London, making streets more pedestrian-friendly and the removal of gyratory systems and one-way roads.
Lianna Etkind, from disability charity Transport for All, said: "More than big flagship projects, disabled and older Londoners simply want to be able to use the trains and buses that are already there.
"The New Bus for London was a step backwards for disabled people.
"Its limited wheelchair space means that wheelchair users, older people with shopper trolleys and rollators and assistance dog owners will continue to have to battle for space with pushchair users and people with luggage."
I worked in Transport for London finance for over 20 years until January, producing the management reports that were used to run the underground. In my opinion Ken Livingstone has provided an accurate assessment of TfL's finances (Editorial, 1 May). His fares cut is entirely affordable. Many people cannot believe that Boris Johnson has built up such large surpluses. Why would he not use them to cut fares in an election year? My guess is that it's all about the deal Boris did with his government colleagues. It's an open secret that the Conservatives would like to slash the subsidy to TfL, on top of the £2.2bn cut happening over the next few years. But that will only work with a friendly mayor who is willing to massively increase fares – and Ken's election would stop that plan dead. Based on my knowledge of TfL's finances, I have no doubt that Ken could both cut fares and improve services, without reducing investment. Boris's needless and excessive fare increases have not provided extra investment – indeed that has fallen during his term and much has been wasted.
TfL finance manager 1991-2012
London (CNN) -- To an outsider, Thursday's contest to elect the next mayor of London would appear to be a fight between two larger-than-life characters -- known best by their first names -- for control of the city's famous red buses.
Among a wide field of candidates, only these two men have any realistic chance of taking a starring role at this summer's Olympic Games in London: Conservative Party incumbent Mayor Boris Johnson, 47, and his 66-year-old nemesis, Labour left-winger and former Mayor Ken Livingstone. Both men have devoted their energies to transport -- and attacking each other viciously on the issue, as well as on their complex personal tax arrangements.
With his distinctive nasal south London accent, Livingstone rose to fame in the early 1980s as leader of the Greater London Council. Livingstone -- populist, socialist, environmentalist -- was one of the few who stood up to Margaret Thatcher, the Conservative prime minister at the time, earning him the moniker "Red Ken."
Two decades later, Labour PM Tony Blair recreated the long-dormant job of London mayor, but if he hoped a similar-minded centrist would win, the move backfired. Livingstone was a feisty Labour member of Parliament, but when his party picked a blander, less troublesome candidate for mayor, he stood as an independent and cruised to victory. In revenge, he was expelled from Labour, though he was later brought back into the fold.
One of his first, and most unpopular, acts was to scrap the much-loved but decrepit fleet of Routemaster double-decker buses, dating from the 1950s. He replaced them with the "bendy bus," snake-like Mercedes vehicles that terrified road-users in the narrow streets. He also upgraded Underground trains and brought in a controversial congestion tax on motorists entering central London.
Livingstone served two terms before he was beaten in 2008 by Johnson, another maverick politician on the right of the political spectrum. The scruffy-haired Old Etonian ex-journalist, who appears to have emerged straight from a PG Wodehouse novel, inspired a cult following with spirited performances on a satirical BBC TV show that highlighted his blustering, easygoing charm.
Among Johnson's pledges was to scrap the accordion-like bendy buses and replace them with a British-built Routemaster, which appeared on the streets this year. The buses are stylish -- echoing the hop-on, hop-off design of the tourists' favorites -- but expensive: The first eight buses cost more than $18 million in total, although future buses will be $500,000 each.
True to the bitter rivalry between the men, Livingstone has pledged to cancel orders for more Routemasters in favor of hybrid vehicles if Londoners vote him back into power, although he will allow the current eight buses to remain in service.
"I'm quite happy to have them running around London," Livingstone told The Guardian newspaper last month. "We'll put a thing on the side saying: 'The most expensive bus, thanks to Boris.'"
In response, a spokesman for Johnson said: "Ken Livingstone said that only some ghastly dehumanized moron would want to get rid of the Routemaster, then he scrapped it.
"Now he wants to cancel an order for one of the greenest buses, which costs, and he knows costs, no more than a hybrid bus. Such a decision would put hundreds of British jobs at risk and would once again deprive Londoners of the much-loved hop-on, hop-off service. Mr. Livingstone simply can't be trusted."
There's little love lost between the two candidates: At one point during the campaign, as both rivals accused each other of avoiding paying the full rate of income tax, Johnson -- who was born in New York to British parents -- accused Livingstone of being a "f***ing liar."
And while the rising cost of public transport is one of the key issues in the election, many analysts say the difference between the two men themselves will be the deciding factor for most of the city's 5 million registered voters.
"There's a great deal riding on this election, but it's really all about personalities," said Joe Murphy, political editor of the capital's free daily newspaper, The Evening Standard, which has endorsed Johnson. "These are the two best-known politicians in the country outside of the Cabinet."
And while the job of mayor is largely ceremonial, whoever holds it does have control of a £14 billion ($23 billion) budget to run the city's transport system and emergency services as well as promote business.
One of Johnson's most eye-catching initiatives has been his fleet of bicycles -- known inevitably as "Boris Bikes" -- that can be hired from streets across the city for short periods. Johnson is an avid cyclist, but Livingstone has said the current scheme is elitist and plans to extend it south of the River Thames.
This summer's Olympics will be another reason to win the election. Livingstone was instrumental in helping win the Games in 2005, and both candidates have claimed credit for the regeneration of east London near the Olympic site. At Beijing in 2008, a famously disheveled-looking Johnson waved the Olympic flag.
"When the job was created by Tony Blair in 2000, he was not looking to create a hugely powerful mayor," Murphy said. "Compared with the New York mayor, the role in London is more of a bully pulpit."
Livingstone earned praise for his condemnation of the 2005 terrorist bombings on London's transport system. He issued a defiant message to the terrorists, and a rallying cry to Londoners in the wake of the attacks, which killed 52 people.
"Whatever you do, however many you kill, you will fail," Livingstone said.
Three years later, though, he was voted out in favor of Johnson.
So what does the election mean this time around, especially for Prime Minister David Cameron's Conservative-led coalition government, currently lagging behind Labour in the polls?
"All the signs point to Boris winning by a small margin of between 2% and 8%," said Murphy. "If he wins, Cameron will get a huge boost, and it may help to keep his party intact."
Conversely, a defeat for Livingstone will be a devastating loss for the young Labour leader, Ed Miliband, who is seen as struggling to establish himself in voters' eyes.
"If he loses London it will look as though Miliband's lost the whole country, even though it's not really about him. Everyone sees a bloody nose."
If Johnson wins, most analysts say his victory will be in spite of his party, not because of it.
"He lifts himself above politics," Murphy said. "'Brand Boris' is simply not seen as a Conservative. The same has been said for Ken, but the price of celebrity is that if it fades, a politician's appeal fades, too."
Johnson has his critics, though, as an editorial in the left-leaning Guardian made clear: "His overall substantive record is ... poor. Many of the big things that have happened on his watch -- Crossrail [a plan for a railway line across the city], the Olympics, even the eye-catching bikes -- were Labour initiatives. Since hard times came to London -- partly also Labour's doing -- Mr. Johnson has rarely attempted anything bold. He has been found wanting by recession. His environmental record is negligible. His police and crime policies have been destructive.
"In the end, though, this is a contest between Mr. Johnson and Mr. Livingstone. There is no ducking it. And that means voting for Mr. Livingstone as London's next mayor."
Whoever wins will play a vital role during the Olympics in terms of security, keeping transport running and ensuring athletes arrive on time.
Johnson's plan to close sections of some roads to general traffic so VIPs and competitors are not delayed -- mockingly called "Zil lanes" after their use in Soviet Russia -- is proving controversial. Livingstone is among those who have criticized the plan.
But as long as the capital's red buses -- however they look -- run on time, most Londoners will likely be happy.
We are alarmed to discover that Transport for London funding cuts threaten the future of the London Transport Museum (Editorial, 30 April). Swingeing cuts of £1.5m a year have left the museum starved of crucial income. As a result, dedicated outreach work is set to be shelved. The entrance fee has recently been hiked and future rises have not been ruled out, jeopardising access for poorer Londoners. Seven valued posts are being abolished and staff now fear for their jobs. The future of the school visits programme, which has enabled hundreds of thousands of schoolchildren to learn about transport safety, has not been guaranteed.
The London Transport Museum's collection is of huge cultural importance and its exhibitions and events for children and families are pioneering. A considerable number of its visitors are from overseas, so it is a key part of London's tourism offer. London's rich transport heritage has been well served by this acclaimed museum; curtailing its growth would be an act of cultural vandalism. We urge Transport for London to reinstate the £1.5m it has cut and preserve the full story of London's remarkable transport system for the benefit of all our communities.
Tony Robinson, Christian Wolmar, Manuel Cortes General secretary,Transport Salaried Staffs' Association
EMBARGOED UNTIL 3 MAY 2012 11:00 CENTRAL EUROPEAN TIME
Paris/Leipzig, 3 May 2012
London project wins 2012 Transport Achievement Award
Special mentions for contenders from Singapore and India
· Award ceremony at global summit of Transport Ministers
The winner of the International Transport Forum’s prestigeous Transport Achievement Award is being honoured this Thursday (3 May) at a ceremony during the Annual Summit of Transport Ministers held in Leipzig, Germany.
Transport for London, the Association of Train Operating Companies and Cubic, from the United Kingdom, receive the Award for taking London’s famous Oyster card smart ticketing scheme to a new level.
Through collaboration the Oyster was extended to overground railway services. Since January 2010, customers have enjoyed the benefits travelling on all major public transport modes in London with one flexible ticket, covering 250 rail destinations within Greater London. In the two years since launch, usage has grown from 0.5 million journeys per week to 2.5 million journeys per week, on overground railways alone.
Michael Kloth, Acting Secretary-General of the International Transport Forum congratulated the winners on their achievement: “The project demonstrates how commitment to collaboration among public and private stakeholders can create a more joined-up transport system,” said Kloth. “This project is an excellent example of making transport more seamless, for the benefit of all users.”
UK Local Transport Minister Norman Baker said: “Smart ticketing is a great way for operators to make public transport the mode of choice for passengers and I congratulate everyone involved in achieving this 2012 Transport Achievement Award.
“Passengers no longer need to settle for the same old singles and returns – smart ticketing means they can be offered incentives, great value, and seamless travel between different operators and modes.
“I want us to build on the success of what has been done in London and I am pleased that my officials are working closely with TfL to learn lessons from their experience, both good and bad.”
Two other applicants will receive a special mention in the award ceremony, for projects deemed worthy by the expert jury : Land Transport Authority, Singapore, for their PLANET data analytics for urban planning and development, and Karnataka State Road Transport Corporation, India, for their continued effort to enhance organised public transport services for medium-size cities.
Journalists who would like to cover the Award ceremony on 3 May in Leipzig or any other summit events can follow the live webcast at http://www.internationaltransportforum.org/2012.
Contact for Transport Achievement Award: General Media Enquiries:
Rachael Mitchell Jürgen Scheunemann
International Transport Forum ` Scheunemann PR
T +33 6 18 89 11 64 +49 172 31 34 726
UK: Transport for London has placed a notice in the Official Journal of the European Union seeking expressions of interest in the concession to operate future Crossrail services. The concessionaire would start by taking over existing Shenfield - London Liverpool Street services which are expected to be separated from the Greater Anglia franchise in 2015. The concessionaire would initially use the existing rolling stock that is to be 'substantially replaced' by purpose-built Crossrail EMUs being procured by TfL. The concessionaire would support the introduction of the new rolling stock, recruit and train staff, develop timetables and obtain safety certification for operations on the new Crossrail infrastructure under London. Ancillary requirements include entering into station and track access agreements and delivery of some station improvements. TfL anticipates issuing the formal invitation to tender in the third quarter of 2013. The contracting entity will be its Rail for London Ltd subsidiary.
Advertising and the Underground
The bottom line
The Tube goes commercial
May 5th 2012
from the print edition
GIVEN a fair wind, this summer should see a cable car running over the River Thames, connecting Greenwich to the Royal Docks in east London. The “Emirates Air Line”, named after the Dubai carrier, has already altered one familiar feature of the London landscape. For the first time since its creation by Harry Beck, an engineer, in 1931, the London Underground map shows a station that carries the name of a corporate sponsor. Two stations, in fact (see picture).
This feels like a minor commercial encroachment. Dubai’s metro system has sponsored stations: a passenger can ride from Nakheel station, named after a property developer, through First Gulf Bank to Emirates station. Many of the stops on Las Vegas’s monorail are named after casinos. But London is not Dubai or Las Vegas. Its two sponsored stations may be renamed as the market dictates: the Emirates deal lasts for ten years.
Still, the arrival on the map of sponsored stations fits into a pattern of growing commercialisation on the Tube. In the financial year 2010-11 Transport for London brought in £107m ($166m) in advertising revenue. Although that represented just 2.7% of its overall revenues, it was twice as much money as the Tube operator had raised five years earlier. CBS Outdoor, which has signed a multi-year deal with the Tube, has amassed a network of 1,200 digital panels on escalators and 126 projectors that beam adverts across tracks. Station “dominations”, where a sponsor takes every advertising spot in part of a Tube station, are becoming more popular. The arrival of underground Wi-Fi, this summer, will make digital shopping easier.
Christian Wolmar, a transport historian, points out that there has been advertising on the system since its earliest days: photos from the late 19th century show cards inside train carriages advertising domestic products. In some ways the Tube was far more open to private enterprise than it is today. The lines were at first run as distinct enterprises. For a spell, different companies ran the clockwise and anti-clockwise trains on the Circle Line, even maintaining separate ticket booths. The system may be burrowing back to its roots.
From Tuesday 8 May some long term, but temporary, changes will be made to local traffic arrangements in the North Woolwich area to enable Crossrail works to take place. These works are expected to last for around 18 months.
From Tuesday 8 May some long term, but temporary, changes will be made to local traffic arrangements in the North Woolwich area to enable Crossrail works to take place.
These works are expected to last for around 18 months.
Whilst undertaking these works it will be necessary to suspend one lane on part of both Albert Road and Connaught Road which will affect all local traffic including bus routes 473 and 474.
The diversion that will be put in place will be from the junction of Albert Road with Lord Street, with westbound traffic diverted along Factory Road, North Woolwich Road and Connaught Bridge.
Eastbound traffic will not be affected and will continue to be able use Connaught Road and Albert Road.
During these works a number of bus stops will be closed with posters clearly displayed advising passengers of their nearest alternative bus stop.
All bus routes will continue to serve London City Airport.
When Crossrail opens in late 2018, it will transform journeys across London and the South East and transport around 200 million passengers a year with its trains carrying around 1,500 passengers each at peak times.
For up to date travel information please visithttp://www.tfl.gov.uk/livetravelnews or for information on how to plan your journey http://www.tfl.gov.uk/journeyplanner
For further information about Crossrail visithttp://www.crossrail.co.uk or call their helpline on 0345 602 3813 (24 hours).
ondon Transport bosses have told LBC 97.3 they're "confident" the Jubilee line will be up to the task as it's put through its first real test of the summer before the Olympics.
London 2012 organisers are looking to secure the safety certificate for the Olympic Stadium this weekend so more than 40,000 people be in Stratford to see athletics and entertainment just as at the other end of the Underground line 90,000 fans will be at Wembley for the first ever late afternoon kick off in the FA Cup Final between Chelsea and Liverpool.
Fans of the Reds are already unhappy as there's only three trains from Liverpool to London for the match and none afterwards. The opening day of the International Invitational Hockey Tournament on Wednesday in the Olympic Park saw the DLR totally closed for 2 of the rush hours because of radio problems. The RMT union told London's Biggest Conversation it shows the massive transport challenge faced ahead of Games.
But Howard Collins, Chief Operating Officer for London Underground disagrees. "Transport for London is working hard with our Olympic and Paralympic partners to ensure that we can deliver a fantastic 2012 Games this summer. We know that the Games are a huge logistical challenge, however our detailed planning and testing, along with our experience of dealing with large-scale events, means we are confident that we can keep London moving during the Games."
On the specific challenge of Saturday, when there's Hockey, waterpolo, Wheelchair tennis, the British Universities and Colleges Athletics Championship and a '2012 hours to go' party with celebrities in the Stadium, Mr Collins is in an upbeat mood.
"Around 40,000 visitors are expected for BUCS Championships in the evening at Stratford, which is the largest test event of day. The FA Cup at Wembley Stadium is on the other side of the capital to the Olympic Stadium in Stratford. We do not expect people to be using the same Tube or other public transport services for these two separate events."
London 2012 chief executive Paul Deighton agrees. "The beauty of the park is the number of ways getting in - the Jubilee, Central tube lines well actually 10 lines effectively."
Despite the usual weekend closures for engineering work TFL have kept the majority of the routes needed to move upto 150,000 sports fans around. "All our Tube lines in central London will be running. Fans travelling to Wembley should use the Jubilee line, Metropolitan line or Bakerloo lines while visitors to Stratford can take the Central, Jubilee, DLR or London Overground Lines, as well as local buses" said Howard Collins.
More than 30 celebrities, from Chipmunk to Hugh Bonneville, will be taking part in celebrations in Stratford on Saturday night.
Archer and Paralympic gold medallist Danielle Brown will also shoot arrows at a series of spinning targets to select one youngster from the audience to take part in a once in a lifetime opportunity to offcicially open the Olympic Stadium.
Boris has been re-elected mayor of London so we can expect no significant change of transport policy in London over the next few years.
Hemantha Abeywardena writes from London…
He is ,unmistakably, the most-recognizable face in London: a portly frame with characteristically-unkempt blond thatch; the cyclist who promotes the virtues of the age-old mode of transport by example, not just by preaching – by cycling to work every day by ditching both chauffer and limousine; the man adored by the Londoners for who he is, not for what he represents; the man who speaks his mind regardless of inevitable consequences even if they have the potential to be instantly interpreted as gaffes ; the fighter who never shies away, if a critic confronts him in the street - or on his way to work on the bike - for what he believes in.
As expected, Boris Johnson, the father of Boris-Bike scheme – the cycles you can hire for a nominal fee in the City of London – warped the nationwide trend of electoral disaster for the Conservative party and made himself the odd-man out, when the party he represents had an intense electoral haemorrhage elsewhere in Thursday’s local elections. The voters in every part of Britain delivered a decisive blow against the ruling coalition, made up of the Conservatives and Liberal Democrats.
Boris Johnson, the Eaton-and-Oxford educated former journalist, won the mayoral race for London for the second time by defeating Ken Livingstone, his Labour rival and the veteran left-wing politician, by just over 60000 votes on Friday, exactly as recent opinion polls consistently predicted. Although, the margin was much narrower than the pre-election forecasts – 6-point-lead – the victory is very significant for quite a few reasons.
The mayoral election, right from the beginning, was all about the personalities of the two main candidates and not necessarily about their policies – Boris from the Conservative party and Ken from the Labour party. Both were down-to-earth individuals despite being at diametrically opposing ends in the square of politics.
Both loved to be addressed by their first names and showed very little enthusiasm for the pageantry – and titles- associated with such an important position, while leading one of the most important cities in the world: you hardly hear them being addressed as Mr Jonson or Mr Livingstone, let alone Mr Mayor or Lord Mayor, in public.
Boris Johnson, the father of four who survived at least one extra-marital scandal, is someone who never hesitates to do what he likes, which range from yawning to show boredom to swearing at journalists for bothering him with barrages of questions. He never feared the consequences of his actions or potential political damage when he felt that he was being cornered.
The victory of Boris Johnson, which appears to be the only consolation for the battered Conservatives, has added another headache for David Cameron, the Prime Minister, in the long run. There are a significant number of people within the party who openly speak in favour of the former as the next party leader; they think Mr Cameron is not Conservative enough to carry forward the traditional Conservative values. The bookies, meanwhile, have slashed the odds of such an eventuality to 4-1. Mr Johnson, on his part, did very little to dampen the development within the party, when he declared that he is ‘avowedly Conservative,’ after the victory speech.
After the triumph he admitted that there would be challenges, especially when the country is officially in recession – the double dip one. He is fully aware of the need of the stimulants for the growth and is not prepared to abandon his conservative instincts, most notably the tax cuts and reduced public spending, in pursuing it. The challenge is the process of achieving it without upsetting the very Londoners who voted him in.
He promised to introduce automated tube trains to the London underground network. In addition, he is planning to introduce a new fleet of Routemaster buses to the existing bus network in London, while taking the advantage of relatively small number of private vehicles that enter the City during rush hours, due to congestion charge levied on motorists at every single entry point. In order to come down hard on organized crime, he is going to recruit more police officers to put on the beat.
Mr Johnson has four years to deliver on his promises, if he does not pursue a bigger parliamentary ambition on a different trajectory, while being true to his word. In the meantime, he may be forced to keep the temptation at bay, even an opportunity arises for him to pose a challenge against the prime minister.
Courts forced to close during Olympics as threat of transport chaos hits overstretched justice system
Closures: The Old Bailey will lose half of its 18 courts for the two-week Games
Courts in and around London will be forced to close during the Olympics because of expected transport chaos, in a further blow to the already stretched criminal justice system.
All of London’s crown courts are affected.
The Old Bailey will lose half of its 18 courts for the two-week Games.
In Southwark, a Central London borough with a high crime rate, ten out of 15 courts will shut.
Even courts on the fringes of the capital will operate at ‘reduced levels’.
The authorities fear travel to trials will be a struggle because of the huge influx of visitors.
Transport for London has warned of queues of up to an hour at 29 Tube stations.
Some judges are thought to have been urged to go on holiday during the Games, which start on July 23.
Police support the closure because officers who would otherwise have to testify in court will be free for security duties.
But many barristers are unhappy with the plan. One called it a ‘nannyish over-reaction’.
Magistrates’ courts will also be hit, although some may have to hold emergency sessions to deal with any increase in disorder.
A Courts and Tribunals Service spokesman said: ‘We have only reduced sittings close to Olympic venues and travel hotspots.’
Katie Collins/PA Wire
Londoners face sky-high house prices to live close to a station, a new report has revealed.
A special report conducted as part of Nationwide's house price index has found home buyers face a £27,000 premium to purchase a house less than 500 metres from a station, compared with a similar property 1,500 metres from a station.
Where are the biggest premiums?
A property 500m from a station attracts a 9 per cent price premium - which is approximately £27,000 on a typical London home - over an otherwise identical property 1,500m from a station.
As you would expect, premiums increase as you move closer towards a station, so a house located 1,000m from a station would command a 4.1 per cent premium, whilst at 750m this increases to 6.5 per cent and 9.1 per cent 500m for the station.
It's also clear from the report that these premiums are faced by almost all home buyers in London, since only 6 per cent of the capital's properties are more than 1,500m away from a station.
Commenting on the figures, Robert Gardner, Nationwide's Chief Economist, said: "Our research illustrates that people are willing to pay a significant premium to be close to a station, and suggests that this premium has increased relative to two years ago when we last explored the issue."
"The boroughs best served by the tube and rail network include Westminster, Camden and Tower Hamlets, where over 75% of properties are within 500m of a station. These boroughs are also some of the most expensive areas in the capital."
He explains that changes to the transport network have also played a part and says that "since the reopening of the East London Line, property prices in Hackney have increased by 11% - the second strongest performance amongst the London boroughs."
Which are the most expensive tube lines to live close to?
The Circle line, which takes in much of central and west London, serves the capital's most expensive areas and has the highest average house prices of almost £650,000. The Bakerloo line has seen the biggest rise in property prices in the last five years, with a 41 per cent increase to an average price of over £517,000.
At the other end of the scale is the Metropolitan line, where average house prices are £316,147.
Are things set to get even more costly?
Since similar research was conducted in 2010, the price premium has risen by two percentage points, up from 7 per cent. Continuing developments and extensions of London's transport network, including CrossRail will undoubtedly serve to push prices up further, and for larger areas of Greater London.
NXP has claimed the top spot in the contactless ticketing market in ABI Research’s new market analysis. Shipments of the MIFARE range (Classic, Plus, Ultralight, and DESFire) remain strong despite some security concerns around the Classic product. Overall, MIFARE has withstood scrutiny and demonstrates that the highest level of security is not an overriding factor in adoption with the focus on cost effectiveness, convenience, and reliability. The lack of alternative solutions has helped MIFARE cement a strong market presence early on and the depth and breadth of the current product range gives the brand continued success.
Historically, the market has been dominated by proprietary systems such as MIFARE and Calypso, although moves are underway that could potentially open up the market. Open loop payments using the EMV platform are a hot topic and there has already been a large scale implementation throughout transport for London’s network in preparation for the 2012 Olympics.
The convergence between open-loop payments and contactless ticketing would allow seamless transaction completion between multiple, international networks and also provide a launch pad for other platforms such as NFC.
Research analyst Phil Sealy comments, “The integration of NFC will present new opportunities to transit authorities. By partnering with local businesses, transit operators are able to offer value added services, providing partnering businesses the opportunity to offer consumers vouchers or marketing via NFC handsets. This will generate new revenue streams for transit operators.”
Open standards are coming to market with the OSPT having already published the specifications for CIPURSE, a microcontroller-based solution. Pilots are expected to begin in 2012, with other specifications supporting a memory-based and a RFID disposable solution to follow.
Group director John Devlin says, “We expect to see CIPURSE deployments start in Europe and then follow in other regions as more cities see the benefit in smarter transportation systems. A broader and more flexible product range will help it to develop like MIFARE.”
ABI Research’s “Contactless Ticketing for Transportation”(http://www.abiresearch.com/research/1006821) study provides regional shipment data on smart card and disposable RFID solutions by region and product type. The report provides ABI Research's view of the most likely future market changes and developments.
It is part of ABI Research’s RFID (http://www.abiresearch.com/products/service/RFID_Research_Service) and Smart Cards & Embedded Security(http://www.abiresearch.com/products/service/Smart_Cards_and_Embedded_Security_Research_Service) Research Services.
ABI Research provides in-depth analysis and quantitative forecasting of trends in global connectivity and other emerging technologies. From offices in North America, Europe and Asia, ABI Research’s worldwide team of experts advises thousands of decision makers through 40+ research and advisory services. Est. 1990. For more information visit http://www.abiresearch.com, or call +1.516.624.2500.
.LONDON MAYOR MAY CONTROL SUBURBAN TRAINS
on May 8, 2012 in Europe
British Transport Secretary Justine Greening has indicated support for the principle of London taking control of suburban train services. The city owns and operates the underground network, but most surface lines are run by companies concessioned to state-owned Network Rail. These include routes from Charing Cross, London Bridge and Victoria to Dartford, Hayes, Sevenoaks etc, in addition to services from Liverpool Street to Hertford East, Chingford and Enfield Town. These franchises are due for renewal in 2014
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