Examination of Witnesses (Questions 117
WEDNESDAY 23 OCTOBER 2002
117. Good afternoon gentlemen. You are most
warmly welcome this afternoon since you are obviously going to
have to give us all the real answers. Would you like to identify
yourselves for the record, please.
(Mr Kiley) Thank you, Chairman. Thank
you for the opportunity for being here. My name is Bob Kiley.
I am the Commissioner of Transport for London. Here with me today
is my colleague, whom all of you know, Derek Turner who is the
Managing Director of our Street Management Directorate which has
the good fortune of being in charge of the congestion charging
118. Did you wish to make a few remarks, Mr
Kiley, before we go to questions.
(Mr Kiley) I will be extremely brief because I know
that the hour grows late and I know that some members of your
Committee are intensely interested in this, in fact all of your
members are. Some of you had the opportunity a week ago today
to get some first exposure from Derek and his people and so I
do not presume there is anything I could say by introductory comment
that would add value to this proceeding, except to say that we
are very near now to the point of departure, 17 February is not
that far away. As the weather grows cooler it is dawning on us
that there is little forgiveness left in this process. The one
thing I would like to say is that to date things have actually
gone, from our technical standpoint, well. We are just getting
a precautionary note and that is we are getting into the system
wide testing now as we speak, and that will tell the tale. We
have no reason to think there will be major problems, but there
are almost invariably glitches in a complicated project like this.
We expect them; there is time built into the timetable to be able
to adjust, but we have no reason at this moment to think from
a technical standpoint or a planning standpoint that there are
major problems. We are relieved to be able to report that, but
very anxious that we are able to continue in this mode. Regardless
of what we talk about today, we will be staying in close touch
with the Committee as we move on.
Chairman: We are grateful to you, Commissioner.
I should put on record that Mr Turner was extremely indulgent
last week and showed us many of hisif I may say so"toys"
and we found that all very instructive. There will be things we
want to ask you to get them on the record.
119. Mr Turner, it seems to me that one of the
most significant issues about the scheme is the impact on the
surrounding area and also the impact on public transport that
is either within or outside the charging area. Two things most
specifically. Many of London's bus routes come in from the outer
suburbs into the centre and even if they may move more rapidly
in the outer suburbs if there is displacement of traffic into
the outer suburbs as a result of the scheme it is very likely
that they are going to be slowed down on their way in. The second
question, if you could address it, is simply congestion on the
tube. If we are displacing people onto public transport the tube
is already bursting at the seams. What thoughts do you have about
how on earth the tube can take some of this strain?
(Mr Turner) The question on displaced traffic is fairly
straight forward. We are expecting there to be some displaced
traffic, but the net change in the inner areathat is immediately
outside the congestion zoneis still expected to be an improvement,
a small improvement. The reason for that is that the radial movements
will be significantly reduced and they will actually overcome
the change in the orbital movement. Bearing in mind, as you rightly
said, most of London's bus routes do actually get into the central
area but they are radial routes so they will benefit from that
over-riding radial reduction. We are talking around reductions
in the radial movements of 6 per cent, 10 per cent in the inner
area. Overall the balance is a reduction of about one per cent.
I think the bus services we are predicting to run better both
in central areas (which is fairly obvious) but also in the approach
roads. The question of public transport and transfer to public
transport, we are, as the Mayor said, expecting (because fundamentally
the Mayor has not got control of the tube) that the transfer to
be significantly to buses. That is the undertaking. We are expecting
there to be some transfer to the tube and to rail, but it is to
the order of one person per carriage during the height of the
peak hour times. Even if that is found intolerableand there
has been a dip in tube ridership over the last year or sothe
bus capacity that we are providing is 20 per cent more than we
expect to arise due to the congestion charging. We have some further
transfer that is available if people find that the conditions
on the tube are not acceptable.