Written Answers arising from the Plenary Assembly Question and Answer Session with Transport for London




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Appendix 2


Written Answers arising from the Plenary Assembly Question and Answer Session with Transport for London

on 14 January 2009


2/2009 Peak Oil


Earlier in the year the Mayor indicated his awareness of the Peak Oil phenomena. As such is he familiar with any current or planned study or report into how the potentially catastrophic implications could be offset in London? If one does not exist, will he consider, as a matter of urgency, the commissioner of a detailed survey?


Richard Barnbrook


As outlined at Mayor’s Question Time previously, the Mayor recognises that the availability of energy at affordable prices is of interest not only to Londoners but to the whole global economy. A number of commentators have argued that world oil resources are now on a downward trend – the peak oil hypothesis – but we are also aware that this is not accepted in all quarters.


It is the Mayor’s responsibility to see that London is able to fulfil its historic and global financial role and to participate in the national and global debate on energy resources. These issues form part of the consideration of the Mayor’s Climate Change Mitigation Strategy and preparation for a new Energy Strategy.


TfL is also taking steps to minimize the potential threat of more scarce and costly oil on public transport by introducing hybrid technology to taxis and the bus fleet - TfL is committed to having 56 bus hybrid vehicles in service by early 2009, a further 100 buses by 2010, 200 by 2011 and 500 by 2012. We are making big investments in cycling and walking initiatives and the Mayor is championing electric cars including by trebling the number of charging locations by providing another 100 across the city.


In terms of introducing a new bus for London, we expect the final prototype to harness the most appropriate technology on offer to deliver environmental benefits and low fuel consumption. TfL is also introducing hydrogen buses to the fleet from the end of this year to start assessing the potential of this fuel as a medium-term alternative to oil and to quicken development of the hydrogen industry to commercialization. This low carbon and low fuel consumption strategy puts London in a more robust position to cope with changes to oil supplies.


We will not be commissioning a detailed study but will ensure TfL monitors threats to future supply whether these come from oil production passing its peak or other pressures.

3 / 2009 Rogue Taxi Drivers


What measures will the Mayor take to ensure public safety and protect the livelihoods of legitimate taxi drivers in the light of the worryingly high levels of rogue taxi drivers still operating in London more than six months after his election?


Richard Barnbrook


TfL has been working closely with the Metropolitan Police Service (MPS) Transport Operational Command Unit (TOCU) and the City of London Police (CoLP) to tackle touting and minimise the risks to the travelling public. Illegal cabs are being addressed through a problem-solving approach which involves a programme of integrated activities including industry regulation, licensing, enforcement and education.


The police use a broad menu of tactical options to tackle illegal cab issues including covert and high visibility activities. We are doubling the number of dedicated cab enforcement officers by an additional 34 officers in the MPS and CoLP to provide greater coverage for anti-touting activities across London.


TfL has also introduced tougher penalties for any licensed Private Hire Vehicle or taxi driver convicted of touting to send out a clear message that this will not be tolerated. Since 1 August 2008, there have been over 260 arrests and over 40 licensed private hire drivers have had licences revoked following a touting conviction.


The TOCU Cab Unit’s core activities include evening patrols in the hotspot locations every Wednesday to Saturday. In addition to the TOCU’s anti-touting patrols they have carried out approximately 290 additional planned enforcement activities and operations over the last 6 months. These include covert anti-touting operations, high visibility enforcement activities to detect and deter illegal cab drivers, compliance activities (vehicle and licensing checks, ANPR tactics) and crime prevention activities.


4 / 2009 DLR Extension


Is it final that the DLR extension will not be extended from Beckton via Barking and Dagenham to Rainham or is this something that may change in the future?


Richard Barnbrook


I refer you to the response to question 15/2009 but please note that the extension has never been planned to serve Barking itself and would only extend as far as Dagenham Dock and not Rainham.


7 / 2009 Routemaster


What efforts will the Mayor make to ensure that the new Routemaster is built in Britain?


James Cleverly



  • We will ensure that bus manufacturers in Britain are aware of the tendering process in advance so they can bid for work.

  • The size of the contract does however mean that it must be advertised and competitively tendered to all potential suppliers across the European Union.

  • That said, there is a good chance most of the new bus will be built in Britain as the vast majority of vehicle bodies you see in London are manufactured in the UK.

  • The next steps in developing a new bus for London are to develop a full vehicle specification incorporating the best ideas from the design competition and take these forward to procurement. This will involve setting specific targets for a range of environmental and performance features, and seeking interest from potential suppliers.



9 / 2009 Congestion


Do you agree with Hugh Sumner, the ODA’s Director of Transport, that roadworks are the biggest cause of congestion in London?


Victoria Borwick



Yes. Roadworks are a significant source of disruption to people’s journeys. In a recent, typical four-week period, roadworks accounted for 46% of severe disruptions managed by the London Traffic Control Centre, with accidents accounting for 32%, when measured in terms of duration.


Of course, a fundamental cause of congestion in London is the level of demand for road space over available capacity, particularly at peak periods.  The streetworks departments in the Boroughs and TfL devote considerable effort to reducing the effects of works essential to maintain the supply of vital utility services and a serviceable and safe road network.


In accordance with the Mayor’s manifesto commitment, TfL is working to smooth traffic flow.  This means delivering more reliable journey times and less stop-start traffic conditions than at present.  Way to Go! outlines a number of interventions to achieve this, ranging from the more efficient use of road space – for example allowing motorcycles in bus lanes – to looking at parking and loading arrangements, the efficiency of traffic signals and roadworks. 


TfL has developed a number of tools to better plan and coordinate roadworks, including the LondonWorks mapping system and the Traffic Management Learning Hub. TfL and 17 Boroughs are working in partnership to deliver a Works Permitting scheme for London.  This will increase the ability of TfL and Local Authorities to set conditions for specific roadworks and thereby further reduce the impact on traffic operations.  TfL hopes, subject to DfT approval, that a Permitting Scheme could be introduced in London in Autumn 2009.

10/2009 Airtrack


Bearing in mind the number of level crossings on its route, what would be the effect on highway traffic in Richmond Upon Thames and elsewhere of the introduction of Airtrack?


Tony Arbour


The Airtrack project is not a TfL scheme – it is a BAA and National Rail project - but in principle, we support the scheme.


TfL is concerned about the potential impacts of extended level crossing closures in the Richmond, Barnes and Feltham areas. In responding to BAA’s consultation on Airtrack, TfL requested further information from BAA to help identify impacts on the highway network and propose any mitigation measures where necessary.


BAA has suggested to TfL that the reduction in time that the barriers would be open, would be 10-25% at two crossings - Sheen Lane (Mortlake) and Manor Road (North Sheen). The reduction would be 0-10% at Vine Road and White Hart Lane, Barnes, and Bedfont Lane, Feltham.


BAA has said to TfL that there would be no decrease in overall road capacity at any crossing in Greater London – i.e. that the same numbers would be able to cross – but with an effect on delays especially at the two more severely affected crossings.


TfL is concerned about the effect on the wider network, especially for the two crossings most severely affected. TfL has therefore asked BAA to work with them to analyse the effect on traffic flow of any potential increases in traffic queue lengths.


If that analysis turns out to suggest there would be unacceptable consequences, TfL will expect BAA to provide appropriate mitigation measures.


11 / 2009 Regal House Car Parking


With regard to the decision on Stage 1 of Regal House in Twickenham, why does TfL believe that this 111 bedroom hotel does not need any car parking provision?


Tony Arbour






  • Planning decisions are made by local planning authorities – in this case, the Borough of Richmond upon Thames.

  • TfL was consulted on this decision and our view was based on the London Plan, which states (Table 4 Annex 4) that no non-operational parking should be provided for hotels in town centre locations (consistent with policy 3C.22).

  • The level of parking proposed for the Regal House Hotel is consistent with local, regional and national policy.

  • Richmond’s Unitary Development Plan gives only maximum parking standards for hotels, whilst making special mention of Twickenham town centre as a highly accessible location where low levels of parking should be provided as part of new developments (policy TRN4). The hotel’s Travel Plan also states that guests will be informed that there is no parking at the hotel when making a reservation.

  • Overspill parking on surrounding roads is unlikely to occur, as the on-street Pay-and-Display fares structure has been designed to encourage only short stays by cars, and the cost of the multistorey car park in Arrgon Road is also likely to deter long stays.

  • As far as TfL is aware, the Borough has not raised any issues over the level of parking on site.





12 /2009 LIPS Settlement (1)


Boroughs have welcomed the £100,000 in the LIP settlement for 09/10 for them to spend on their own local transport priorities. Is this a one off or will it now be a regular feature of the settlements?


Increased flexibility and reduced bureaucracy will be central to any further revisions to future LIPs settlements.


TfL is in ongoing discussion with London Councils, individual boroughs and the GLA as to what form the LIPs process will take in 2010 and beyond, but we would envisage the £100,000 allocation to the Boroughs at least until the Boroughs are satisfied that the new scheme gives them greater flexibility.


TfL has accepted that the current LIP system is too bureaucratic and inflexible and that the Boroughs want this to change. Rather than wait until the new Transport Strategy/LIPs2 to reform the LIPS process, we started working with London Councils and the London Technical Advisors Group (LoTAG) last June and have identified a series of reforms to be implemented over the next 18 months. Key changes include:


  • greater flexibility as to how Boroughs spend these budgets;

  • £l00k per Borough for them to spend on local transport projects of their choice, rather than having to bid for each scheme;

  • having more multi- year funding allocations and shifting to a rolling 3 year delivery programme;

  • reducing the level of bureaucracy and form filling, for example, cancelling the requirement to produce a LIP Annual Progress Report; and

  • reducing the number of programmes from 20 plus down to five. The five programmes are Maintenance, Corridors, Neighbourhoods, Smarter Travel and Major Schemes.

Gareth Bacon


13/ 2009 LIPS Settlement (2)


Can you confirm whether there are any restrictions or conditions tied to this money?


Gareth Bacon


The only conditions on the use of these funds are that the Boroughs should use them for transport purposes that are broadly consistent with the Mayor’s Transport Strategy. Boroughs are also required to submit one monitoring report at the end of the financial year to confirm how these funds were used and what outcomes they expect to achieve as a result.


14 / 2009 210 Bus Route


The 210 Bus route currently runs from Brent Cross through Golders Green to Finsbury Park. Has TfL considered extending this route to Stamford Hill in order to better connect London’s Orthodox Jewish communities?


Brian Coleman



  • Route 210 is operated with double deck buses given the demand for the service. There is a low railway bridge at Finsbury Park which double deck buses cannot pass beneath.

  • Extending the 210 directly to Stamford Hill would require the service to be operated with single deck buses. TfL can satisfy the demand for the 210 in the most efficient way using double deck buses. The extension would also increase journey times significantly; a round trip could take 2 hours 40 minutes.

  • TfL has provided significant investment to improve the station and interchange at Finsbury Park. TfL plan to deploy a TOCU Hub team to Finsbury Park, provisionally for March 2009.



15 / 2009 Dagenham Docks


What pressure will the Mayor be putting on the Government to allocate funding for the DLR extension to Dagenham Docks?


Andrew Boff


The Mayor has written to the Department for Communities and Local Government (DCLG) expressing support for the transport initiatives proposed for the Thames Gateway area but also seeking clarity in relation to funding of the DLR Dagenham Dock extension.


Progressing the Dagenham Dock Transport and Works Act (TWA) application to Public Inquiry means that TfL has to be in a position to explain how the project is going to be funded. As TfL does not currently have funds to commit to this project (and pending a response from DCLG), the start of the Public Inquiry has been delayed. This can be re-activated if a funding commitment can be made.

19 / 2008 Closing the Gap


A press release from Tube Lines suggested that unless the gap is closed between what London Underground can afford and what the PPP Arbiter decides are the costs of the second period upgrades (2010-17), the Piccadilly Line upgrades might have to be abandoned. Is this a real possibility?

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