Last night’s BBC mayoral debate saw Boris Johnson telling bare faced porkies, contradicting his own plans by claiming that transport fares in London “will go down” if he is elected.

After Green candidate Jenny Jones highlighted that everyone on the platform — with the exception of Boris — had pledged to reduce fares, the mayor blustered:

“They will go down in an honest and sustainable way under me”

Having already hiked bus fares by 50% and some tube ones by more than 20%, is this not the same Boris Johnson who has pledged to raise them by 2% above inflation every year for the next four years?

Ken handed the mayor a copy of his own plans while the audience laughed.

  1. I watched this too. I’m no Boris fan but what he said was when the cost reductions are acheived through investment (including the automation of trains) then fares will be able to be reduced, and yes, his plan showed an RPI + 2% fare increase until the round of investment is completed.

    As I said, am no fan, but we do ourselves no service with inaccurate or over-simplistic headlines and name-calling.

  2. Train automation sounds like a huge waste of time. Put hundreds/thousands out of work, spend millions implementing new automation systems, then the second an accident happens that could have been prevented by a human operator, everything goes back to how it was.

    Even assuming that the automation systems are flawless, is there any indication of how long it would take to begin seeing the cost benefits? I can’t imagine an automated train driving system would come cheap.

  3. jimmy coull-kidd says:

    The plans of all candidate need to be examined but I really don’t see Boris as a man you can trust.

  4. This reminds me of Barclays Cycle Hire – I seem to remember TfL said it was going to break even in March last year – it is never, ever, going to break even and is costing us millions.

    Remember, also, that it was a Boris Johnson 2008 Mayoral Election pledge that the cycle hire scheme would be at no cost to taxpayers.

  5. An impartial comment regarding train automation. The Docklands Light Railway in London handles over 60 million passengers a year – on a fully automated system. The same system can be implemented on the underground, no problem. And it’s safe. It’s been running since the early 90s. It’s also more efficient than a manned system. The same technology allows more trains per hours than the existing systems.

  6. Jon W

    There used to be an issue with the train control system that required manual intervention in some areas, like approaching Canary Wharf. However these issues have been addressed and the system is now fully automated. PSAs are, as you say, there for emergency backup and to check tickets etc. If the system was implemented on the Underground network, I suspect our laws would require that there is a Passenger Service Assistant or similar, on each train. But that wouldn’t mean the trains weren’t automated. Again, they would be there in case of an emergency. There are many underground systems in the world that have at least one line that is completely unstaffed. Paris and Nuremberg are currently converting to totally unmanned lines. Having said all of the above, I’m not a Boris fan and I don’t believe that we’d have an unmanned London Underground while he is in charge.

  7. @Brian

    And it’d take huge investment and iirc near total overhall of underground network and there’s also issues when going overground too.

    Btw, out of interest, got a link about the full automation of the DLR? Always interested to read more!

  8. I feel like we have hijacked the comment thread just to discuss train automation, but alas it’s done now so I’ll throw two cents in: There is nothing wrong with still having driver-controlled trains, but it is an absurd idea to not progress to driverless trains as the system is renewed naturally.

    Driverless trains are safer, more efficient, easier to shunt, stable, maintain, manage and that’s all before we talk about the cost benefit. To dispute these would be to argue that all the driverless systems in other parts of the world – essentially anywhere a new rapit transit system is built – are wrong, or less safe, or more expensive to run, which would be false.

    It is a shame that certain union representatives, apparently uncomfortable with being frank and honest about their role (to get the best salaries for their members) resort to smear tactics usually employed by corporate PR firms, as if somehow London is different, and the trains are not built by the same companies that build trains all over the world for all sorts of networks.

    As for the argument about jobs: It would not be “hundreds of thousands” of jobs lost. It would be a certain number of jobs lost for drivers, and other jobs created, some on the Underground, some at the companies who make the technology for driverless trains. The overall number of created jobs will be lower than those lost, which is nothing more than technological progression. What next – ban self-checkout machines to protect the jobs of supermarket workers?

  9. An impartial comment regarding train automation. The Docklands Light Railway in London handles over 60 million passengers a year – on a fully automated system. The same system can be implemented on the underground, no problem. And it’s safe. It’s been running since the early 90s. It’s also more efficient than a manned system. The same technology allows more trains per hours than the existing systems.

    The do-ability of automation depends, for safety purposes, on the size of the tunnel, distance between stations etc. The DLR is outside for the most part. That makes a huge difference.

  10. Leon Wolfeson says:

    James;

    Worse, it will. And serviceability rates will see a 3-4% hit. This is far, far more of a financial impact than driver salaries. This isn’t theory, it’s based on what’s already happened with several tube lines!

  11. Billy Blofeld says:

    Why the fuck do unions bother funding blogs like this?

    Is the content so shit that no company will pay more than a fiver to advertise on this site?

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