There you go – today marks the end of the expansionist, visionary period of transport policy in London and the start of a new, humourless age of austerity, quietly slipped out on the day interest rates are slashed and everyone’s still looking at Washington. Tim Parker, now safely hidden in the Finance Commitee at TfL, is obviously under instructions to stop London’s transport authorities doing anything expensive, with the inevitable result that three schemes are now definitely canned – the Cross-River Tram (as expected), the Thames Gateway Bridge (as suspected) and the DLR extension to Dagenham Dock (as heavily trailed). Also gone are the Oxford Street tram idea (what’s your bright idea for unclogging that now, then?) and a Tramlink extension, presumably that to Crystal Palace.
You will note, I hope, that these mostly affect poor inner city areas and badly connected outer areas of East/South East London or, to put it crudely, Labour voters. Back in your boxes, proles, we don’t want you moving about. Might hold up the traffic, what?
Very depressing times, but there you go – look beneath the Pyong-yang jokes and it’s the same old Tory bull. Years of work wasted. Good schemes canned, and, since there’s no indication that they have the slightest clue how to build coalitions and mount campaigns to bring about improvements, no more coming down the pipeline. They sit there wittering away about saving money and how nasty communism is as if the last twenty years never happened, while all around the energy of the last ten years palpably dissipates. This is why you should never, ever, put Tories in charge of transport – hey, guys, have you seen the oil price and car sales figures? People are going to be demanding more and more public transport just at the time you’ll be providing less and less of it. Wake up, Boris!
On the bright side, the two busways are still going ahead, and Gilligan is still a twerp.
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