Improving London’s environment for everyone, building more homes, and making fares much fairer

Improstephen_vince_small.jpgving London’s environment for everyone, building more homes and making fares much fairer are at the centre of a radical set of proposals put forward by the Liberal Democrat London Assembly Group in their amendment to the Mayor’s budget.

Speaking ahead of today’s meeting at City Hall where the London Assembly will consider the Mayor’s draft budget Caroline Pidgeon AM, Leader of the Liberal Democrat London Assembly Group said:

There are real social and environmental pressures facing London as our population rapidly grows. Our proposals are firmly rooted in meeting these challenges.

Our Lib Dem plan will deliver cleaner air and less congested roads. It will deliver a better environment for every Londoner.

Our changes to the Mayor’s budget will also provide more affordable homes, helping to address London’s chronic shortage of homes for people on low and middle incomes, helping to keep families living in the capital.

We will also make London a fairer city. We would reverse the Mayor’s harsh fare hike facing off peak travellers who live in outer London. And in every part of the capital we will drive up the adoption of the London Living Wage and ensure real action is taken against rogue landlords.

Key aspects of the Liberal Democrat London Assembly budget amendment include:

  • Tackling London’s appalling air pollution and also reducing congestion on our roads, which is currently a huge burden for London’s businesses. Specific proposals include smart congestion charging; the introduction of a workplace parking levy in central London and real action to reduce diesel vehicles entering central London.
  • Reversing the immense fare hike on off peak travel for people in outer London. Other key fare changes include the introduction of a one hour bus ticket and lower fares for people travelling on all Tube, DLR and TfL Overground services before 7.30 am.
  • Making London a more attractive city to travel around by foot and on bike, including expanding the cycle hire scheme into south east London and better provision for cyclists across the whole capital
  • Creating a new £2 billion housing investment fund – funded by prudential borrowing – more than doubling the number of affordable homes delivered across London
  • Cutting waste in the Metropolitan Police Service such as the provision of chauffeur driven cars and flats for senior police officers, but strengthening Safer Neighbourhood Teams and putting extra resources into the teams that investigate rape and sexual assault against children.
  • Making London a fairer place through real action against rogue landlords and the wider adoption of the London Living Wage.

Bus and Tube Fares Hike in January!

Caroline Pidgeon and Simon Hughes MP, with local campaigners Mahmood Faiz and Suleman Ahmed

From January, prices are set to go up sharply, well above inflation. In fact, on current inflation forecasts our fares will be going up by over a third more than inflation. This is a very unwelcome New Year present waiting for us!

Yet, at the same time, Mayor Johnson has failed to tackle fraud and waste – the sort of waste that led Transport for London to spend £39 million on two lift shafts at Shepherds Bush Station, which have now been abandoned. Two expensive holes in the ground which will now be left unused permanently.

One-Hour Bus Ticket Campaign Relaunched

Caroline Pidgeon, Leader of the Liberal Democrats on the London Assembly said:

“What the Mayor should be doing is to take real action to stop Londoners being ripped off in Oyster overcharging and give bus users a fair deal by introducing a one-hour bus ticket. That way people could swap between buses for short journeys without being hit for an extra charge. It’s the sensible way to encourage people to use buses without having to pay the earth.”

Your can back our campaign for a fair one-hour bus ticket by signing the petition at:

Footbridges over the Central Line – update!

John Howard checking some of the graffiti

There are three pedestrian/cycle bridges between Leyton and Leytonstone Underground stations on the Central Line. When they were being planned as part of the A12 Link Road works, London Underground insisted that they had to be fully covered. The resulting polycarbonate structures proved to attract gatherings of young people at night with the result that they were avoided by other pedestrians. Unfortunately, they also attracted graffiti which the council was responsible for removing – the chemicals necessary for the removal caused the surface to become scarred and less transparent, making the bridges even more unwelcoming.

The Leytonstone FOCUS Team ran a campaign to get the polycarbonate replaced, with TfL finally advising that improvements were to be included as part of a review of the operation of the whole of the Link Road.

FOCUS later heard that other interested parties were insisting that there should be a full public consultation, which needless to say has caused long delays in getting things moving.

The latest news from Transport for London (TfL) is that is now their intention to include these structures in their preliminary works programme which will commence in 2013. As usual they include the note that this programme is subject to change and to funding being confirmed.

So much for getting our area spick and span for the Olympics!!

The FOCUS Team has asked Caroline Pidgeon, Liberal Democrat Chair of the Transport Committee at the London Assembly, to see if she can bring any pressure to bear to get these works brought forward.

Watch this space for any news!!

Lib Dems step up campaign against Waltham Forest ticket office closures

Liberal Democrat campaigners Farooq Qureshi and Farid Ahmed have stepped up their campaign against Boris Johnson’s ticket office closures following confirmation that all four tube stations in the borough will be affected.

Sign their petition at

In total Waltham Forest will lose nearly 60 hours of cover a week. The Mayor’s plan will hit late evening cover especially hard.

  • Walthamstow Central will close at 9.30pm instead of 11.30pm on weekdays
  • Blackhorse Road ticket office will shut at 6pm instead of 10pm on Saturdays
  • Leyton ticket office will shut at 9.30 pm instead of 10.30 pm on weekdays
  • Leytonstone will close at 8.45 pm instead of 11 pm on Sundays.

Cllr Qureshi, who is parliamentary candidate for Leyton and Wanstead, said:

“Waltham Forest has been hit hard by the Conservative Mayor’s broken promise. He said he would keep ticket offices open – but now travellers will face deserted ticket offices in the evenings just when demand for security is greatest. That’s why I’ve launched a petition and am asking for people’s experiences. I want as many people s possible to show their concern.”

Farooq Qureshi, Farid Ahmed and the Liberal Democrat team have launched a petition against the closures. Passengers can sign online at or call 020 8556 8335 for a petition form.

Full details of the proposed changes are:


  • Weekdays – will open from 0600-1945 instead of 0530-2100
  • Saturdays – will open from 0645-1800 instead of 0630-2200
  • Sundays – will open from 0945-1645 instead of 0800-2000

This means the ticket office will be closed for 18 hours a week less than currently.


  • Weekdays – will open from 0545-2130 instead of 0530-2330
  • Saturdays – will open from 0645-2145 instead of 0600-0000
  • Sundays – will open from 0900-1900 instead of 0900-1100 and 12.30-23.00

This means the ticket office will be closed for 17 hours 45 mins a week less than currently.


  • Weekdays – will open from 0600-2130 instead of 0530-2300
  • Saturdays – will open from 0645-2200 instead of 0530-2230
  • Sundays – will open from 0715-2100 instead of 0700-2300

This is 13 hours 30 mins a week less than currently.


  • Weekdays – will open from 0545-2015 instead of 0530-2200
  • Saturdays – will open from 0645-2045 instead of 0600-2200
  • Sundays – will open from 0730-2045 instead of 0700-2300

This is 11 hours 15 mins a week less than currently.

In total Waltham Forest is losing nearly 60 hours of ticket office cover.

Lib Dems call on Mayor to keep Waltham Forest tube ticket offices open

Transport campaigner Farooq QureshiWaltham Forest’s Liberal Democrat councillors will fight to retain ticket office staff at local tube stations.

Last week Transport for London, which is controlled by the Mayor of London, announced cost cutting proposals to axe 450 ticket office staff and reduce ticket office opening hours across the networks.

Local transport campaigner, Lib Dem councillor and parliamentary candidate for Leyton and Wanstead Farooq Qureshi said:

“Waltham Forest has some of the busiest tube stations in outer London. These proposals mean more inconvenience and hassle for tube users. Passengers need to be able to talk to a real person if they have queries or problems.This is especially important for those who are not regular travellers or find it difficult to use the machines.

Liberal Democrat members of the London Assembly believe the cuts will make many passengers feel unsafe and could have a negative impact in tackling crime and anti-social behaviour in and around tube stations.

Farooq Qureshi has a strong record of campaigning on local transport issues including the need to ease rush hour congestion at Leyton and Leytonstone underground stations by opening additional exits, the need for better connections from Leyton and Leytonstone High Roads to the rest of the borough and Stratford, improved accessibility for disabled passengers at Leyton and the refurbishment of Leyton Midland and Leytonstone High Road stations.

Passenger numbers per year for Waltham Forest tube stations are:

  • Walthamstow –> 14.2 million passengers per year
  • Leyton -> 12.7 million
  • Leytonstone –> 9.9 million
  • Blackhorse Road –> 6.1 million

Source: TfL website

During his election campaign Boris Johnson promised to retain staffed ticket offices. His transport manifesto Getting Londoners Moving committed the Conservative Mayor to: “halting the proposed Tube ticket office closures, and ensuring there is always a manned ticket office at every station” (page 2) and claimed “I will also defend local ticket offices” (page 9).