Local Assembly Member Pushes For Greener Buses & River Services

During Mayor's 'Question Time'


Putney River Commuters Up In Arms

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Richard Tracey, Assembly Member for Wandsworth & Merton raised two local transport issues at the Mayor's Question Time on 17th October.

Green Buses:

Mr Tracey asked Boris Johnson for his assurance that when the new buses:
"... are rolled out he should send some of them to the outer London areas, particularly around Putney High Street, which has a pollution problem at the moment?"

The mayoral response was:
"Well I am certain that TfL will study your request and we will do what we can to ensure that as many parts of London as possible are served by the new bus. To help people compare numbers, the bendy bus seemed ubiquitous at the time and Darren [Johnson] claims there are not enough of the new buses at 608, we are going to look at expanding the programme under pressure from the Greens, but there were I think only 359 examples of the bendy bus on the streets of London; so it is a very considerable number of new buses. Throughout its carrier, the original London Routemaster bus only had, from memory, around 3,000-4,000 built over a 10 to 15 year period, so it is quite good going to have 608 in the timescale that we are allowing."

Postponed new river taxi service from Putney to Blackfriars
The new service should have started on 1st October and is now postponed till next Springtime. Mr Tracey asked the Mayor why the service had been postponed. Mr Johnston responded:
" ... there was some sort of legal wrangle and we have had to go back on the bids and we are now maneuvering the process as I understand it. In the meantime Complete Pleasure Boats will be running the shuttle until a new five year contract can be established and that will begin from April next year."

Richard Tracey responded that he understood this but that the delay was leading to local frustration as residents up river as far as Putney were having to make do with the smaller service of six or seven boats instead of the promised twenty one boats per day. He told the mayor:
"This mess up has led to a great deal of frustration. Can I ask you that you will do all in your power to make sure that the re-tendering takes place as quickly as possible and that the new service, as promised, will come into place as soon as it possibly can in the next year?

Mr Johnston, pictured left with Thamesfield Councillors on the current river service last year, responded:
"Yes. I understand perfectly why you make these representations on behalf of your constituents. The trouble was that both tenderers who were the winning bids failed to submit compliant bids, they both seemed to have been at fault and the result was that we have had to re-run the process."

The mayor then re-confirmed the Assembly's commitment to expanding the river service:
" In the history of the last century or so river transport in London is a dismaying history of bankruptcies and money down the drain basically because no matter how attractive river transport may seem on the face of it is faster to get around terrestrially. It is very difficult to make money out of the river service but we do put money into it and we are very keen to support it."

Mr Tracey told PutneySW15.com: "I am pleased that these matters have got the Mayor's ear and that he is supportive of what I asked."

October 25, 2012