Neither the Mayor nor his Advisor for Transport, Kulveer Ranger, were available for comment today – the day Londoners started back at work after the Christmas holidays to find that their fares had risen and their transport services were as unreliable as ever.

In the absence of Boris Johnson and Kulveer Ranger, Sir Simon Milton (Deputy Mayor for Policy & Planning) was asked by BBC London to comment on the fact that TfL would surely have avoided the massive fares hike by retaining the Western Extension of the Congestion Charging zone. Milton replied:

Well, I think when you make a promise to the electorate and you then scrap that promise as soon as you’re elected, then that actually diminishes trust in politics.

The one thing that we can say is that when Boris says that he will set out to do something, he will do his level best to achieve it.

The daily Congestion Charge rose today, from £8 to £10, yet in an ITV London Tonight debate on 17 April 2008, Boris Johnson clearly said, were he elected Mayor of London:

I would certainly not allow the Congestion Charge to go up above £8

Hmm. What was that Sir Simon said about breaking promises? During Boris Johnson’s 2008 Mayoral election campaign he issued a leaflet entitled London transport is a mess [PDF]:

London transport is a mess. How come you pay more every year yet things just seem to get worse? Rush hour should be re-named crush hour. It’s time for some fresh thinking. Let’s have new orbital bus routes for the outer boroughs and a free bike hire scheme in central London. Let’s have a real-time GPS bus mapping service. Let’s have a flexible Congestion Charge zone and let’s scrap the proposed £25 fee. Let’s support river services and demand better rail services. Let’s get going to get Londoners moving. Log on to backboris.com to read a new manifesto for transport -and Back Boris on May 1st to make a change for the better in London.

  • How come you pay more every year yet things just seem to get worse? - indeed. Bus fares up 44% since Boris Johnson became Mayor, for instance.
  • Let’s have new orbital bus routes for the outer boroughs - Boris Johnson’s reply to London Assembly Member Val Shawcross when questioned about the promised new orbital bus routes, 17 March 2010:

I have to say, I must be frank with you, Val, there are arguments to be had – and I am sure that there is further detailed discussion that you and I could have about this – about whether the creation of many more orbital bus routes actually delivers some of the improvements that possibly I thought before the election. I would have to be honest with you about that and say that I have seen plenty of good studies now which suggest to me that the big investment in orbital bus routes does not actually deliver the improvements that are sometimes claimed. So, I am reluctant to be negative about this, but all I can say is I have not seen a huge amount of positive evidence so far.

  • free bike hire scheme for central London – Boris Johnson’s transport manifesto claimed his cycle hire scheme would be at no cost to taxpayers (commercial firms are happy to shoulder the costs of this type of scheme) yet it is costing £140m minus a £25m contribution from Barclays which is being split between sponsorship of  cycle hire and the Cycle Superhighways.
  • Let’s get going to get Londoners moving – have you started, yet, Boris? How’s that War On Roadworks going?
 
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