It has been a busy first month at City Hall under the new Mayor and London Assembly.
I am the new Labour London Assembly Spokesperson on Transport and excited to see my predecessor Val Shawcross appointed as the new Deputy Mayor for Transport.
As a resident in Lambeth, commuting to work in Southwark, I know how vital it is for our transport system to be fully integrated, affordable and accessible to all. Thousands of Londoners rely on public transport on a daily basis and, for a growing city, public transport needs to be more appealing to help reduce the poor air quality across the capital. Mayor Sadiq Khan has already announced a number of transport policies to help address this problem and to bring down the cost of fares.
The first major policy announcement from the Mayor on extending the Ultra-Low Emission Zone (ULEZ) to include the South Circular and a proposal to implement an extra charge on the most polluting vehicles from 2017 demonstrates a step change to take real action on dealing with the real issues of London’s poor air quality.
The announcement of the new one hour bus ‘Hopper’ ticket on London busses will be a big boost for residents across Lambeth and Southwark on lower incomes as a number of people rely on buses to get themselves to work every day.
The announcement that the Night Tube will launch on the Victoria Line, which runs through Lambeth on 19 August is an excellent and long overdue expansion of the transport network and real boost for the night-time economy.
An area that I believe is sometimes overlooked is the need for improvements to access for disabled and elderly residents. Navigating through a busy underground station or trying to make that vital bus change at a busy interchange like Elephant and Castle or Vauxhall, can be daunting at most times and this experience is even more difficult for disabled and elderly residents. I am keen to see additional improvements across all transport modes for disabled and elderly residents and will be pushing Transport for London and the Mayor on their plans for this going forward.
Over the next few months I will be out an about on the streets across Southwark to get a better understanding of some of the transport challenges our local community faces. I’m keen to work closely with transport groups and listen to their ideas on how we can improve our tubes and buses, but most importantly I’m keen to hear the views of local people.