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Railhub Archive
2003-10-28 TfL-001
Transport for London


Letter to the Evening Standard

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Transport for London

Letter to the Evening Standard

28 October 2003
source Transport for London
type Letter

Letter to the Editor
Evening Standard

Dear Madam

Simon Jenkins' unrelenting and ill-informed attacks on London's transport budget, (Ken's bus route to bankruptcy, October 23), misrepresent a vital transport policy designed to meet London's growing transport needs.

Transport for London's budget is balanced and will remain balanced, as it is legally obliged to. For the coming financial year the only deficit we face is one that is shared by most public sector organisations, a pension shortfall.

In Mr Jenkins tirade against London's buses he conveniently ignores the need to prepare for the increase in London's population by almost a million people by 2016. Creating enough transport capacity to move this huge amount of people demands substantial investment in transport. Faced with no extra capacity on national rail or the Underground for years to come, developing the bus network is London's only option.

Simon Jenkins also believes that London is awash with "empty buses". Nothing could be further from the truth. Average bus occupancy in London has increased by 15% over the past 3 years and is now the highest in the UK.

Even after the cost pressures that affect the whole UK bus industry are taken into account, London's bus service is still the most cost-efficient in the country. We carry more passengers per pound of subsidy in London than any other transport operator in the UK. And it is not a subsidy of "£3" per ride as suggested in the article. Current levels of subsidy are 27p per passenger per trip.

Rather than squandering money on bus over-capacity, as Simon Jenkins suggests, Transport for London is actually making the necessary investment in London's growing transport needs.


Jay Walder
MD Finance and Planning
Transport for London

Railhub Archive ::: 2003-10-28 TfL-001


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