A new report has called for Transport for London (TfL) to introduce a flexible ticketing system and allow access to licensed taxis in all bus lanes in a bid to get the capital moving once more.
The report, ‘Derailed: Getting London’s Transport Back on Track’, comes off the back of a YouGov poll commissioned by the GLA Conservatives. YouGov surveyed over 1,000 Londoners about which forms of transport they were using less or more, and whether they thought this would be a temporary or permanent change.
The poll data found that of the nearly 80% of Londoners who are using public transport less or have stopped entirely, more than 20% believe this change will be permanent after the pandemic ends.
The report’s author, Assembly Member Keith Prince, warned that Transport for London is facing an existential crisis and must prepare for a lasting drop in commuters. Instead of trying to get London moving in the same way as before coronavirus, Mr Prince has called for the Mayor and TfL to create a carnet Travelcard to enable Londoners to get back to the office in a flexible way.
A carnet Travelcard would allow Londoners to buy a number days of travel to be used over a long period, providing a new flexible way to commute across London. Mr Prince hopes this will encourage more Londoners to return to the office on a flexible basis.
Within the report it also states that there should be ‘recognition of the tremendous service that the black cab industry provides to London’. The GLA Conservatives' report states that the Mayor of London’s decision to block off various Central London roads from black cabs was a mistake and should be reversed. The report goes on to say ‘there should be no roads where buses can go, but taxis cannot’.
The move to allow taxis the same access as buses would help ensure that Londoners can get where they need to go and reduce the number of private cars on the road.
Keith Prince AM, GLA Conservative Transport Spokesman, said: “To save London’s economy we must get our city moving again, but it is foolish to think Londoners will travel in exactly the same way as before coronavirus. That’s why the Mayor and Transport for London should create a carnet Travelcard, enabling Londoners to get back to work in a flexible way.
“Unless Transport for London adapts to the so-called ‘new normal’ it will become hooked on Government bailouts. The Mayor and TfL must get our city moving again by embracing flexible commuting, which many Londoners look set to continue long after the pandemic.
“A carnet Travelcard should offer Londoners flexibility and better value for money compared to TfL’s existing ticketing system. By doing so, TfL can encourage Londoners back onto public transport, boost its fares revenue and better serve Londoners’ transport needs.”
The report also calls for the Mayor and TfL to make savings and find new ways of raising money which do not penalise road users. Mr Prince recommends the Mayor and TfL:
Launch a zero-based budgeting review of all TfL spending
Re-calculate the business cases for all ongoing and potential projects to reflect new working patterns in London.
Rule out the introduction of road user charging in London.
Facilitate the expansion of e-bikes, e-scooters, dock-less bikes and car clubs.
Mr Prince added: “To stand on its own feet again, TfL must adapt to London’s new transport demands. That means TfL needs to look again at the business cases for their infrastructure projects, review every penny they are spending, and help expand different forms of transport such as e-scooters and car clubs.
“Sadiq Khan needs to realise that the TfL’s money woes can’t be fixed by penalising motorists. That’s why I am calling on the Mayor to rule out road pricing in London and focus on making savings at TfL. Unless Khan changes course, he will continue to bankrupt TfL, jeopardising London’s world-class transport system.”