Livingstone could do more for Londons rail, says GLA

28 Feb 02
The Greater London Authority's Labour-led transport operations scrutiny committee has castigated Mayor Ken Livingstone for spending too much time opposing the part-privatisation of the Tube, while the city's 1.6 million rail passengers were forced to endu

01 March 2002

Committee members said that Livingstone, who has bid for control of London's rail services through the proposed establishment of a transit authority, had 'failed to lift a finger to help improve the capital's mainline services', despite being elected as mayor two years ago.

Livingstone has statutory powers to issue directions and guidance to the Strategic Rail Authority regarding rail services in London, but has not done so. Rail experts believe he is reluctant because he must give full consideration to the resource implications of proposals and can be overruled if they are viewed as unworkable.

But committee chair John Biggs told Public Finance that the mayor was capable of improving services through the use of his limited powers. 'He can help overcome key problems, such as the integration of other transport systems with mainline railway services to reduce travel time, and the improvement of customer care standards, which are below those of the Tube system,' he added.

Biggs also urged the mayor to produce guidelines on fare standardisation and integration, and suggested that Livingstone's proposed transit authority was a 'red herring' because the potential for partnerships – on which it is based - had not been tested.


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