Greenwich Tories are bringing a motion next week to a full council meeting calling for an express bus from the south of the borough to the north, to link with Crossrail at Woolwich.
The motion raises concern that under TfL’s recent consultation on bus changes, the 161 would stop further from Woolwich Crossrail station than it currently does.
They are also bringing a motion on cuts to the Taxicard scheme of discounted taxi journeys for disabled people.
They lay the blame on Sadiq Khan and his fare freeze. Not exactly a vote winner criticising that scheme given London has some of the highest public transport fares in the developed world.
True, it has not helped TfL finances and they are skint, but Tories in central Government cutting £700 million from TfL’s budget hasn’t really helped.
It was George Osborne who did that. Last seen editing the Evening Standard and criticising transport issues…
Local Tories must realise how central government action is deeply affecting their vote share in urban areas with failures of transport and housing.
Speaking up might get them some credit locally, as Bromley Tory MP Bob Neill did with Chris Grayling. Instead local Tories invited Grayling to Eltham before the General Election and do little to differentiate their local position from national action.
Back to that express bus idea and there’s a lot of merit in the idea of faster journeys as slow trips are a major criticism and one reason often given for stagnating passenger journey numbers.
On a personal level the slow speed of so many routes puts me off entirely. I’d rather take a train and walk a mile at the other end.
Areas in the south of the borough do deserve to share in the spoils of Crossrail. A meandering bus stopping every 10 yards will not do that.
Greenwich Council and its Labour councillors have agreed with much of these plans for faster journeys from the south to the north of the borough in the past.
Let me tell you though how it’ll probably go down next week at the council meeting, where pointless disagreements and slagging off the other side seems the core concern.
The Tories will raise the motion. Labour will then attack the Tories for cuts. And then Khan will get criticised. In all likelihood 10 minutes of this to-and-fro will happen.
Then Labour will raise a motion criticising the Tories for cuts. The local Tories will retort with Khan is at fault.
After about half hour nothing will be achieved.
Hopefully I’m wrong but we’ll see.
The sad thing is both local parties probably agree with each other on many points underneath it all. But so many councillors are so tribal, as I’ve experienced myself when questions are responded to with accusations, that the charade goes on.
As said, local Tories need to find their own voice as Grayling is not a vote winner to say the least.
And Local Labour could learn and do a lot more with transport issues. Local Labour MPs are on the ball but councils can do much with lobbying and consultation responses.
Unfortunately when it comes to consultation replies on topics such the next Southeastern franchise they’ve been lacking and not covered fundamental issues such as a lack of commitment to all-day station staffing as other areas of London receive.
Other issues such as Woolwich Dockyard’s short platforms affecting train lengths and SE london having higher fares than other parts of London due to not being on the TfL fare scale are barely mentioned by the local councillors.
It’s no good just saying TfL should run them. As things stand they arne’t going to. So reply to the consultation and state why the benefits TfL were arguing for should still apply under the next franchise. They havn’t really done that and a decade without improvements could be the result.