Transport for London overcharging ‘inevitable’

Image copyright PA Image caption A show of hands – does anybody want to burst the public transport bubble? London’s tube and bus travel is broken, said Dave Gorman, director of Laidlaw Research, and…

Transport for London overcharging 'inevitable'

Image copyright PA Image caption A show of hands – does anybody want to burst the public transport bubble?

London’s tube and bus travel is broken, said Dave Gorman, director of Laidlaw Research, and the future is so bad it’s “inevitable”.

It was those words that launched a stream of angry and sometimes angry-sounding tirades at Transport for London (TfL) in its Great London Debate on Sunday.

Mr Gorman, who runs an expert organisation that works with the likes of O2 and City Hall, warned of two million fewer trips in 2024 than what is used today.

He said he thought the Tube is just the start and suggested increased charges would be fairer and equalise journeys for all.

As part of the Great London Debate, seven chairs debated a range of problems with London’s transport system, including the Tube, trams, trains and buses.

Image copyright Getty Images Image caption Participants at the event chose to focus on London’s transport, rather than split into four London boroughs

Image copyright IG Image caption Dave Gorman said he was not just talking about the Tube

It was moved to a crammed and chatty Hackney Science Centre from the Royal Geographical Society due to its demand.

The debate got off to a tricky start, as Greater London Assembly member Caroline Pidgeon, who lives in Edmonton, Greater London, and sits on London Assembly’s transportation and transport scrutiny committee, was halfway through delivering a rapid attack before a thunderous “boos” from the audience followed.

“How can you choose to represent the richest borough in London?” she said.

“I’ve lived in Edmonton my whole life and they’ve had some issues with transport,” she said, adding that she had to get up in the night to catch a bus.

Then there was a brawl between one audience member and a member of staff. The member was ejected, a grumble about a food-and-drink ticket when a chair fell into another’s lap.

Image copyright Getty Images Image caption A clock, which the presenter pointed out was set to the minute, was also presented for audience members to vote on the project

An announcement came from Pidgeon, by then silent, that this was a non-disclosure agreement she had signed.

At a crunch point, there was a show of hands.

In some sections of the audience, the result was “amazing”.

That result stood to be repeated on the same panel in the East End to a bigger audience, in the hope that these matters might be heard more publicly.

But there are seven voices, seven opinion’s. It could be argued that we don’t need seven faces.

And what should be discussed when an event like this comes up? Surely, the metro is not the biggest challenge facing London.

TfL issues an annual report, which lists more than 230 things under pressure which have caused the transport authority £63m in lost profits, even before IT systems were blamed.

Image copyright PA Image caption TfL issued a 113-page report to the City, detailing the challenges faced by the organisation

This report is regularly thrashed out at a City Hall Commission meeting, which includes Public Accounts Committee chair Margaret Hodge.

Hodge said a failing bus system was the most pressing issue that needs to be addressed and that it was “stressful” to be on the Council.

And we already know about serious concerns about tube renewal, the influence TfL’s politicians have over London’s transport matters and the sale of off-book travel cards.

The organisation was made up of MPs, councillors and experts. But what really matters, said Mr Gorman, was its links with private sector transport companies that make money off TfL’s wheeled bogs and transport network.

His research said that over half of all buses on the London map were owned and run by private companies – the same corporations that sell tickets through the TfL website.

Wouldn’t we get better value if we gave away a ticket to a promoter instead?

The authority issues a 113-page report to the City, detailing the challenges faced by the organisation, but also presenting other figures – including £74m in lost profits due to poorly maintained vehicles and plants.

Show me the money.

Mr Gorman was unimpressed.

“It’s almost as if they’re trying to tell us they’re in crisis, but when we ask for an accounting of what it is they’re actually in crisis about, they refuse to give it to us,” he said.

We asked London’s transport authority and the mayor for their view.

PCTQC said a

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