Outer London Transport

Questions to the Mayor of London – answered on 11th May 2021.

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Photo of Steve O'Connell Steve O'Connell Conservative

Have you done enough for Outer London transport over the last 5 years?

Photo of Sadiq Khan Sadiq Khan Mayor of London

Thank you for your question, Assembly Member O’Connell. Again can I thank you for your hard work on behalf of Londoners over the past 13 years.

To answer your question, yes, I have committed to improving transport for all Londoners, including residents of the outer boroughs. Many areas of outer London are dependent on national rail and bus services. Since I became Mayor, my fares freeze has saved the average London household over £200 while fares on national rail services have seen inflation-busting rises. Had the Government not U-turned on allowing TfL to run more commuter services, this could have been avoided and the quality of service improved.  My Hopper fare has benefited those riders on bus and tram services in outer London and I have ensured that TfL regularly reviews its bus services to better balance public transport provision in outer London. Since 2016, TfL has introduced ten new services in outer London and extended six routes, as well as increasing frequency in many outer London routes.

TfL has also significantly improved its tram service. The timetable was overhauled in February 2018, making trams 15% less crowded in 2019 than in 2017 and meaning customers waited less time for a tram on average. We have increased capacity on the London Overground including an increase in frequencies on the Watford to Euston line and the North London line. As well as the ongoing rollout of electric class 710 trains on the network.

To improve access for everyone, nine outer London stations have been made step-free since 2016 and funding is protected to deliver six more.

Photo of Steve O'Connell Steve O'Connell Conservative

Thank you for your reply, Mr Mayor. I make no apologies for appearing somewhat of a broken record in supporting Sutton and Croydon in this subject. I probably started my term doing so and I am ending it in the same manner. As you have pointed out, outer London areas are more reliant than anywhere else on public transport and you indeed, Mr Mayor, want to get people out of cars. Sutton itself has the worst public transport facilities in London. I am reflecting upon your comments. First of all you talked about buses. Again, many people rely on buses and we had rather hoped that there will be a rebalancing of bus services from inner to outer London. We have not seen that, Mr Mayor.

The Overground, you have been lobbying for some considerable time, as was the previous Mayor, to extend the Overground from West Croydon to Sutton. That indeed has not happened and I will make no apologies again for bring a kind of voice crying in the wilderness for tram extensions. Money was taken out of the budget by yourself, Mr Mayor, to look at a tram extension into Sutton. I have not taken the accounts from Sutton from any blame here, because they must make a contribution.

My point here, Mr Mayor, is that Sutton and Croydon, over five years, we have not seen significant transport improvements and that is to be regretted.

Photo of Sadiq Khan Sadiq Khan Mayor of London

Let me deal with each of those three points. In relation to Overground, there was an agreement for those services to be transferred over to TfL. That agreement was broken by [The Rt Hon] Chris Grayling [MP] when he was the Secretary of State for Transport. It was revealed why.  It was because of his unhappiness that the Mayor was now Labour rather than Tory, playing party politics with the transfer of commuter trains to TfL.

In relation to buses, I have a list of the improvements in outer London bus routes, including Malden Manor, which I can send you, because it is two pages long, if you want me to do so.

In relation to trams, it is a simple fact that £115 million is the amount of money that is currently available. We at TfL are contributing £79 million, but the two boroughs only £26 million and £10 million, respectively. We need £516 million to get a tram extension off the ground. If you can find ways to find the difference in funds, I am more than happy to do so. Our commitment is the same as the previous Mayor. The difference is who is going to make up the difference between our contribution and the total cost.

Photo of Steve O'Connell Steve O'Connell Conservative

OK, Mr Mayor, thank you for that. All I would urge is that you, if elected, continue to try to support Sutton and Croydon. I know my successor hopefully will be also a champion. It has been a long haul and the previous Mayor assisted to a degree, but not to the extent I wanted. You have not done so, with regret. I want to see more buses, I want to see more trams, and I would like to see Overground in the next five or six years. I will leave it at that.

Photo of Sadiq Khan Sadiq Khan Mayor of London

Chair, can I just say, another example of good manners and courtesy even though he disagrees with me hugely. I want to thank Steve and wish him all the best. He will be missed genuinely.

Photo of Navin Shah Navin Shah Labour

Thank you very much, Mr Mayor. Before we move on to the next question, we are approaching guillotine time, so will the Assembly agree to suspend Standing Order 2.9B in accordance with the provisions of Standing Order 1.1H in order to allow the remaining of the business on the agenda to be completed?



Photo of Navin Shah Navin Shah Labour

Thank you very much. Before we move on to the next question, I do have an intervention requested by Assembly Member Dr Moore.