Wednesday, January 24, 2007

Campaigning for better services on the Tube

At last night's Council I made a speech in support of a motion condeming the quality of the sevice on the tube and the high cost. I was also pleased that my amendment was supported which called for Edgware Station and other Barnet stations in zone 5 to be reclassified as a zone 4 station to save money for commuters. My speech is below.
"I want to take you on a journey of what it is like for the residents of Edgware travelling on the tube. However, unlike the Northern Line, I hope to get to the end. Traveling on the Northern Line to Edgware, is often like taking the lottery and guessing how many trains you will need to get from central London back to Edgware.
As someone who travels on the Northern Line everyday I have heard stories from fellow passengers, who have had to take 3 or 4 trains from central London back to Edgware. High percentages of trains either terminate at either Golders Green or Colindale and with no explanation except for that the train is running late.
And, over the last three years delays on the Northern Line have doubled.
All this means that even more passengers are squeezed on to the next train, ensuring that we again benefit from the London Underground experience of being treated like sardines.
And this is the all too familiar story that passengers have to deal with when traveling on the underground everyday. However, while the service that we the customers experience on the underground get worse every day, Ken Livingstone, the supposed friend of the Londoner, feels free to raise the cost that we have to pay every year.
This year the cost of getting a years season ticket from Edgware to zone 1 is £1592 a year a 5.3% increase on last year. While, if you can’t afford this as a one-off payment, you have to pay £153 pounds a month, which is £1835 a year, which is again an increase well above inflation and is likely to be more than £2000 next year.

This all means that while our public transport is getting worse, London is the most expensive place to travel in the world. Traveling in London costs 56% more than the world average and is well over twice the cost of traveling in comparable cities such as Tokyo, Paris, New York and Rome.

However, when it comes to the more vulnerable in our society who are unable or unwilling to use an Oyster card, the cost is even more exorbitant. It now costs £2 to jump on a bus in London or £4 to go one stop on the tube.

It is now cheaper to get a taxi than use public transport. What message is this trying to send when we are trying to find ways of reducing congestion on the roads. And lets not forget London is now an Olympic city. Are we really going to encourage more tourists to London when they see how much they have to pay to travel around our city.

However, should we really be surprised at these inflation busting price rises of between 5 and 35% percent for public transport, when we see the current state of the economy. One thing is for certain, when Tony Blair reluctantly lets Gordon Brown become Prime Minister, he won’t be able to say that … “We have never had it so good”.

Inflation is at its highest level for 16 years, interest rates keep on rising, utility bills keep on rising and moving house is now unaffordable for many. Virtually everything seems to be rising in price especially Gordon Brown’s taxes, but I am looking forward to see that Council Tax bills in Barnet will rise by less inflation or in real terms actually fall.

This shows that as with Conservative Councils all around the country we are trying to help our residents live for less. However, even before the Conservative Party wins the next General Election, I believe that we can do more to help our residents have a better economic well being by spending less. Therefore I urge the Cabinet to support the Conservative Live for Less Campaign, which helps people save money on how they live.

I therefore urge all members to support this motion condemning the cost of public transport and other costs of living for our residents, imposed by Gordon Brown’s mismanagement of the economy.

Thank you"

1 comment:

Duncan Macdonald said...
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