A few days after Boris Johnson unveiled his own, Labour candidate Ken Livingstone launched his transport manifesto (PDF) this morning, with a promise to save the average London traveller £1,000 over his four-year term, should he win.
Ken's reputation is being staken on transport: he's already vowed to resign if he's reelected and hasn't cut fares by 7% by this October. His manifesto further bolsters that strategy, with a printable, cut-out-and-keep £1,000 'travel voucher' launched today as a way of getting the message across (try swiping that on an Oyster card reader and see how you get on). The savings will be made largely by taking money out of Transport for London's exsiting operating surpluses.
The other main news out of Ken's manifesto is a promise to freeze the congestion charge for another four years and to refrain from re-opening the Western extension; decisions perhaps guided by the widespread view that the former mayor is a driver's foe. Further wooing the capital's car owners is a promise to introduce a "smart" parking scheme that allows drivers to search for spaces using their phone, and a pledge not to bring the £25 'gas-guzzler' charge back. He does, however, want to increase 20mph speed zones.
Other key points:
- Bring suburban rail under London Overground control (see our previous coverage of this);
- A vague-sounding promise to get a grip of the Tube delays, chiefly by tackling weekend engineering work that overruns onto Monday;
- A focus on safer cycling, with new green routes through outer London and a re-think on dangerous junctions like Bow and Blackfriars and the Cycle Superhighways. This could be a vote-winner, given the mounting criticsm of Boris Johnson's approach to cycle safety;
- Deliver a better bus service in the suburbs, and cancel the New Bus for London project, a position which might make fiscal sense but, given the vehicle's apparent popularity, might cost him a few vores;
- Protect the Freedom Pass from age 60, and make free cycle hire part of it;
- Reinstate the Zone 2-6 one-day Travelcard;
- Re-launch his 'public transport etiquette' campaign;
- Push on with plans for Crossrail 2, Cross-River Tram, a DLR extension to Dagenham and a Tramlink line to Crystal Palace
Rival parties have been quick to condemn Ken's plans. Caroline Pigeon, the Lib Dem deputy mayoral candidate, called them a "list of uncosted promises", while Boris Johnson's campaign has rubbished Livingstone's promised fare cuts, saying that he has made similar vows in the past only to increase fares during his two terms. And lastly, Andrew Gilligan has crunched the numbers and is unconvinced.
Photo / Kris Douleyou