Just watched the webcast of yesterday’s TfL Board meeting.  There was one public interruption, and Boris has evidently realised that his previous suggestion of an relaxed policy was rather rash, as he twice threatens to reconvene in private if it happens again.

Other noteworthy points:

  • Boris extolling the virtues of his ‘Way To Go’ pamphlet [PDF], of which more later.
  • Tories (Daniel Moylan and Steve Norris) queueing up to tell him how brilliant he is.
  • Boris saying this reminds him of Pyongyang.  The joke reappears repeatedly.  How about changing the record, guys?
  • Cycling – Boris complains about people trying to dissuade him from being pro-cyclist.  Who?  Perhaps he only talks to cabbies?
  • Traffic lights – David Brown is obviously trying to square the circle and stop Boris’s policies (‘don’t walk, run’, as he jokes) squashing pedestrians.  Bright idea of ‘countdown’ indicators to give better information to people crossing the road how long they have.  Patrick O’Keeffe says they work well in Dublin.
  • Eva asks about the Western Extension consultation.  Boris, jokingly, says that TfL won’t tell him.
  • Bus crime is down again.
  • Noted the opening of the Westfield stations, including the Shepherd’s Bush rebuild in record time.
  • There’s likely to be an announcement about the Icelandic money in the next couple of weeks.  Spare funds are now only put in Government-backed savings.  Steve Norris seems to be handling this.
  • Trains – Hendy is delighted with the pressure and influence Ian Brown and London Rail have exterted on the DfT over the South Central franchise specification.  Particularly around extending proven Overground techniques (earlier/later trains to fit in with Tube hours, staffing more stations, Oyster PAYG).  New team at DfT offers something new – Hendy and Ian Brown to go in and see them soon.
  • Rail Summit – evidently hasn’t happened yet (a ‘little delayed’, apparently, which is one way of putting it) – Hendy talks about PAYG being ‘trickier than we would have liked’ and mentions that persuading commercial TOCs who take revenue risk to see the wider network benefits is much harder than with Overground where TfL take the risk.  In other words privatised railways are bad for integrated transport, says brave transport professional to gang of Tories.  Red Boris, as usual, agrees with everybody, saying he wants ‘the whole ball of wax’ which I take it to mean Oyster works everywhere.  No particular indication at any point that he grasps how difficult this is.
  • Steve Norris starts being rude to Peter Hendy (‘fuzzy and unfocused’) about the lack of mention of cycling in the Commissioner’s report.  More ‘Communist’ jokes.  Hendy retorts that if he’d been a Communist he wouldn’t have put £40m in Icelandic banks.
  • Hendy continues being rude back to Norris and Boris *backs him up on this*.  Hendy’s put-down on the original point is that he considers it courteous to talk to the Mayor first before presenting information on cycling to the Board.  He wouldn’t say that if he didn’t work well with Boris, I reckon.  The Iceland gag was pretty edgy as a comeback, too.
  • The taxi inspection policy – TfL want to replace mid-year inspections with on-street inspections.  The Tories, lead by Daniel Moylan, are very doubtful (they want to cut costs, actually).  Boris agrees with everyone, they’ll cut the inspection regime (apparently lots of people tell him they want this)
  • Project to delegate some TfL-run road management powers to boroughs, around keeping pavements clear.  Daniel Moylan is very keen (he wants other things like gritting delegated), but he’s a borough boy.  Norris is less keen, since he invented the strategic road network.  It’s not entirely certain what was agreed, but the borough boys are keen to strip powers off TfL, although less keen to pay for them.  Hendy points out that in winter some bus routes can’t run because the boroughs forgot to grit everywhere.
  • Tim Parker appears.  He’s cutting back authority for finance decisions, which will lead to more projects coming before the board earlier.  Sounds like classic control-freakery to me, not that there are many projects.

With that they went into private session.

There was no mention of bendy buses or Routemasters or Crossrail or Tube Lines or the Olympics or the DLR or the Cross River Tram or the Thames Gateway and only one mention of Metronet, because they share the same administrators as the Icelandic bank.  I don’t remember Kulveer Ranger saying anything, either.

 
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