The manifesto, which can be read in full here, sets out the Green Party’s vision of transport in the capital and will come as no surprise to anyone familiar with Green policies. Boris Johnson and Ken Livingstone recently shared their transport manifestos with us.
In common with that of her rivals for the hot seat at City Hall, Jones’ manifesto looks at both fares and investment — to be financed by a road pricing scheme which they outlined recently. Let’s take a look at some of Jones’ key points:
- Fares are cut across the transport system and greater investment provided to improve services and reduce overcrowding
- Money is raised for public transport, reducing congestion and improving air quality not just through the ‘pay-as-you-go driving’ scheme to replace the arbitrary congestion charge, but also a higher “gas guzzler” charge for the most polluting vehicles
- The entire fleet of London buses is converted to low emission hybrid, hydrogen or 3 electric models by 2016
- 20mph speed limits are introduced on all roads where people live, work and shop and rebuild London’s most dangerous junctions to provide safe, dedicated space for pedestrians and cyclists
- Congestion and overall traffic levels are reduced to improve London’s economic competitiveness, reduce air pollution and cut carbon dioxide emissions.
The keen-eyed among you will spot that there’s potentially a huge requirement for funding investment projects there; rebuilding of dangerous junctions and cutting fares across all public transport which a road pricing scheme will be unlikely to be in a position to pay for, at least not in the immediate future. Hybridisation of buses has been underway since 2006, though Jones does make a point of saying that we won’t be getting any more new Routemasters.
Reducing congestion and improving air quality are both vital, no matter what your political leaning, especially in the run-up to the Olympics. But can simply charging polluting vehicles more eradicate the kind of smogs we’re starting to see now that the weather’s getting better? Air quality, along with improving safety for cyclists and pedestrians is something that all the candidates agree on.
The potential flaw in the Green manifesto, however, is the reliance on road pricing for funding. The report published earlier this year acknowledges that it would be dependent on central government for a green light. Prime minister David Cameron’s recent announcement of plans to privatise some of Britain’s roads is the first step in a national road pricing plan that could rule out localised schemes.
The Greens’ road safety manifesto is also out there for potential voters to scrutinise and contains a couple of excellent points, the requirement for HGV drivers to complete cycle awareness training being one of them.
Read the manifesto here (PDF).
Photo by Ben Kelly in the Londonist Flickr pool.