Select Committee on Transport Minutes of Evidence

Examination of Witnesses (Questions 117 - 119)




  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 initiative.

  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 his—if 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.

Chris Grayling

  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 area—that is immediately outside the congestion zone—is 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 intolerable—and there has been a dip in tube ridership over the last year or so—the 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.

previous page contents next page

House of Commons home page Parliament home page House of Lords home page search page enquiries index

© Parliamentary copyright 2002
Prepared 19 November 2002