A blog by Luke Akehurst about politics, elections, and the Labour Party - With subtitles for the Hard of Left. Just for the record: all the views expressed here are entirely personal and do not necessarily represent the positions of any organisations I am a member of.

Thursday, February 08, 2007

What is it about the Tories and public transport?

One of the weirder things about being a councillor is seeing the anger of Tory councillors whenever anything negative is said about car-use or anything positive about other modes of transport.

"Dave" Cameron may cycle to work (with a car behind carrying his briefcase) but his footsoldiers (or rather car-mounted-soldiers) in my borough vote against controlled parking and campaign against speed limits outside local schools, and one of them goes into a rage everytime we do anything to encourage cycling (I gather this is because "they get in the way of cars").

It seems that the Tory group on the GLA suffer from the same affliction.

You or I might think Ken's London-wide free bus and tram travel for all under 18s in full-time education was a no-brainer - reducing the number of cars doing the school run and giving mobility to young people.

But the GLA Tories want to scrap it.

The TUC in London has called for a lobby of Assembly Members at City Hall, 9.00-10.15am, 14 February, when the London Assembly will be holding its 'final budget meeting'. Unions in London will urge parent's groups, children's charities and anti-poverty groups to join the lobby, which will ask all Assembly Members to defend the existing fares concession to London's under 18s who are in full-time education.

4 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

I think you'll find that the GLA Tories want to replace the blanket free bus travel with a dedicated school bus service. So there wouldn't be an increase in children travelling to school by car. I support the move, at least then after I've paid my over the top fare I'd get a seat without fear of having my head stamped on by a swarm of kids who I'm subsidising.

I could also mention the increase in anti-social behaviour, the displacement of crime committed by under 18's and the costs of the blanket free travel but hey ho, it would probably fall on deaf ears.

Nice to see a balanced post....not...

1:09 pm, February 08, 2007

 
Anonymous Revolver said...

Anonymous says: 'I think you'll find that the GLA Tories want to replace the blanket free bus travel with a dedicated school bus service. So there wouldn't be an increase in children travelling to school by car.'

Dedicated school buses are fine in rural areas with little parental choice of schools and lots of uncongested roads. Such a scheme is impossible in a congested city like London - what you are proposing is to add loads of buses during the school run. How does a school bus service work when children in the same house or neighbourhood are travelling to different schools miles apart?

And how does it encourage the next generation to use public transport?

Furthermore the Tories are actually proposing the deletion of the entire free bus and tram scheme from Ken Livingstone's budget in this coming financial year and its replacement with a 'pilot' school bus system in just six boroughs. So if you don't live in those boroughs you immediately lose a benefit worth £350 per child. No prizes for guessing which those boroughs will be.

Plus, of course, the school bus (if it were practical, which it's not) would only operate on school days. So parents lose the benefit of cut price travel for their children on weekends, half term, Easter, Christmas, summer holidays, bank holidays. In addition, young people staying late for after-school classes or sport would not benefit from the notional school bus system.

It's a good old fashioned attempt at a Tory cut and should be actively opposed.

The TUC has an online petition against all this and as Luke says there is a demo on Wednesday at 9am called by SERTUC.

The online petition is here: http://www.tuc.org.uk/economy/tuc-12823-f0.cfm/formbuilder/65/p/1

Anonymous says: 'I could also mention the increase in anti-social behaviour, the displacement of crime committed by under 18's'.

This whole argument, promoted by the Tories and the Evening Standard, is a way of trying to criminalise London's young people in order to slash a benefit that assists families with children. In fact there was an increase in crime/anti-social behaviour when the fares were first abolished but this has now declined to previous levels, despite the increase in the numbers of children travelling.

In other words the policy is working well, opening up life chances for young people and saving families hundreds of pounds a year.

The Tories on the assembly talk about scrutinising Ken but it's about time they were scrutinised for their disastrous right wing policies and there are few better places to start than this attack on families in London. So much for the claim that the nasty party is no more.

3:43 pm, February 08, 2007

 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

anonymous 1:09pm

this isn't the BBC! lol! and even if it was you wouldnt even get a balanced post!

and what's this crap about "displacement of crom committed by under 18's"???

8:58 pm, February 08, 2007

 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Nice to see a balanced post....not...

Maybe anon 1.09 is unaware that Luke is a Labour Party member, and not only that, he's a councillor!

You'd bloody well expect his posts to be pro-Labour!!!

9:09 pm, February 08, 2007

 

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