Plans for the city’s transport infrastructure include a focus on air quality and regular bus travel, and have seen reactions from a number of key players in in the transport industry
The newly-appointed Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, has begun work on plans to change transport in London, with an initial emphasis on bus travel and air quality.
Plans for improving emissions would include increasing the size of the Ultra Low Emissions Zone (ULEZ) from the congestion charge zone in central London to stretching from the north to south circular roads in the city. Officials say that the zone would essentially double in size.
The Freight Transport Association (FTA) has responded with extreme concern to these proposals, believing that the package offered by the newly-appointed Mayor of London would add ‘substantial cost to all London businesses, and potentially put some smaller companies out of business.
Christopher Snelling – FTA’s Head of National and Regional Policy stated: “It should be remembered that air quality has already improved substantially in the capital, and will continue to improve further – even if London does nothing.
“These disruptive proposals will at best only accelerate the situation that is likely in a few years from now. They will put businesses at risk, and add massive costs to all – especially to those who need the services that vans provide.
“Freight operators and the service industry could find themselves being charged extra for their vehicles before they have had any reasonable chance to upgrade. Many businesses could lose trade first in central London, and then the whole of inner London – and for businesses based in the zones involved, the impacts will be even worse.”
In another development, Sadiq Khan has confirmed a cheaper and more convenient way for Londoners to travel around the capital – the new Hopper ticket, available from September this year, will allow two bus journeys within an hour for the price of £1.50.
The ticket will help people who need multiple bus journeys to commute to work. Many parts of South London, in particular, are heavily dependent on the bus network. It will automatically roll-out to all Oyster card or contactless payment customers.
Mike Brown, TfL’s Transport Commissioner, said: “This new option will benefit a huge number of our passengers. For many people catching more than one bus is the only way they can get from A to B.
“This fare will enable us to better meet the needs of those Londoners who live or work in areas which aren’t as well served by Tube or rail services.”
Campaign group Greener Journeys has praised the Mayor of London’s decision. Commenting on the announcement, Claire Haigh, Chief Executive of Greener Journeys, said: “Greener Journeys warmly welcomes the commitment shown by the new Mayor of London to improve bus travel for Londoners in his first week in office.
“The announcement is good news for Londoners, both young and old, who will hopefully be encouraged to leave their cars at home and hop on the bus to travel around the Capital. Buses deliver huge social, environmental and economic benefits, with every £1 invested in buses delivering up to £7 of economic benefits.
“Greener Journeys looks forward to working with the Mayor to encourage more people to use buses.”