Mayor Sadiq Khan’s final budget proposal draft was debated in city hall Monday morning. The main topic of conversation was about transport, pollution and the amount invested in the police.
In regards to transport in London and the TFL, Mayor Khan pledged to over the next five years to;
• Make transport more affordable
• To adapt bus services without reduction
• Extend the Hopper fair
• Increasing Rail services with the construction of the Cross Rail Line and the Elizabeth Line
• Make transport infrastructures more accessible by making 46% of stations step free
• Launching The Ultra-Low Emissions Zone (ULEZ) to reduce air pollution
• Release 300 acres of TFL land to create homes and office spaces
Transport for London is receiving a total expenditure of £6,978,000,000 with a council tax requirement of £6,000,000. Transport received the largest sum in the budget due to inflation and is hoping to break even by 2020 – 21 and hope to generate £3.4 billion in commercial revenue (Non Fares) by 2023, which will be reinvested into London’s transport supporting jobs and the economic growth.
The budget includes £39.6 million to be spent on service improvements and initiatives like the ULEZ, with other initiatives relating to the pedestrianization of Oxford Street and parliament square to minimize congestion as these are two of the most populated stations in London.
Other station upgrades include a Northern Line extension between Kennington and Battersea, which is the first major tube extension since the 1990’s Jubilee line extension, which will regenerate the Vauxhall, Nine Elms area generating 25,000 new jobs and 20,000 new homes. There is also going to be an upgrade on the Victoria line and redevelopment of Custom House DLR station. A public consultation will be launched into a new entrance being built at Camden town tube station and Ilford station will receive a major transformation as well as a project Hackney Wick Station costing £25,000,000. The money used will also support fifty apprenticeships.
During the budget meeting one of the major areas of discontent stemmed from the disregard of improvements to the tram services specifically the build of a Sutton Tram. Mayor Khan was also held accountable to his pledge to about cutting fairs, when questioned about not complying with his pledge he said in not so many words that due to several economic factors its was out of reach at this time but said he has frozen fairs for the next four years. Len Duvall; Labour AM came to his defence adding that the introduction and continuation of the hopper fair has assisted a decrease in and also the introduction to the night tube has enabled a more convenient service for the constituents of London but Mayor Khan did make the point that previous part-time Mayors allowed a 42% rise in fairs to pay for inefficiencies.
Mayor Khan also stated when asked about congestion in central London that Transport improvements and the condensing of bus routes etc. will cut congestion by a dramatic amount also touching on the fact that said improvements will also minimize the amount of private hire mini cabs surrounding the central London area making London not only less congested but a less polluted city.
The subject of cycling and the safety for cyclists was also brought up with the Mayor stating that he had instated cycle commissioner that will deal specifically in this subject.