Back to the Mayor Index page

Links to the other Mayor pages:-
Tourism & Arts
Organisation chart
'Coming clean' (exposure of assets & liabilities)
Comment on the Greater London Authority Bill

Many of the problems of London stem from its poor Transport infrastructure.

Most people are concerned about excessive pollution as well. Solving the transport problems is the key to all other policies working.

Car use



The City of London has £5G squirrelled away in so-called City Cash. That is £5,000,000,000. This money will be demanded to rebuild the Tube & add badly-needed new lines such as the Chelsea-Hackney Line.

Vicki Richardson of 'Angel' magazine suggests reopening South Kentish Town tube station to relieve pressure on Camden Town. I will conduct a survey to see if more tube stations need to be built on traditional lines to increase the throughput.

Ken won't forget the River

Commercial firms trying to run river buses always go broke. Ken will investigate whether such services justify some subsidy. Anything to limit unnecessary road traffic.

No car for the Mayor - promise

Ken will put his bottom where his mouth is & use Public Transport & taxis.

Road Traffic

What Ken thinks of the Transport White Paper

This came out on Monday 20th July 1998 and, while it is a step in the right direction, it does not go far enough. Exhortation only works on the very public spirited. everybody else knows that, if they reduce their car use, others will take advantage. People will welcome the coercive measures below because they will be seen to apply to all regardless of wealth or car-addiction.

However, from Ken's point of view, the fact that it is all being left to local authorities (to pick up any unpopularity for the measures) plays straight into the agenda below. The London Assembly is a local authority, so look forward to the agenda below actually being carried out.

What Ken thinks of Blair's Tolls

Not a lot. Tolls are a regressive tax. The rich will not think twice about paying them & polluting the rest of us. The measures outlined below will apply to everyone & the rich will not be able to buy their way out of them.

How Ken as Mayor will sort out the cars.

1Proposal One - Limitation of London car use

1. Outline

1.1 Areas.

London Transport have divided the capital into six zones for charging purposes. There would be three car areas roughly corresponding to:-

Area Red = LT Zone one
Area Yellow = LT Zones two and three
Area Green = LT Zone four

Free access would be allowed to LT Zones five and six, as this is where the tube lines terminate. Area Red users can drive anywhere. Area Yellow users can drive in areas Yellow and Green. Area Green drivers can only drive in area Green. There will be wide coloured stripes across the main roads at the junctions of the areas.

1.2 Operation

All private cars in the three areas would require to buy annual Area stickers, similar to the residents parking requirement. In the old LCC area, all parking should be zoned by the Boroughs.

1.3 Finance

The money raised will be used to enforce the system & subsidise free public transport in Area (Zone) One. This is the quid-pro-quo. The scheme should be self-financing.

1.4 Legitimate road use

Commercial vehicles will be required to buy the plate for their area of company activity but not be subject to restrictions except on size. Company cars are not commercial vehicles.

2. Detail

2.1 Areas

LT Zones two & three are too small to be separated. If they were, the cost of enforcement would rise & the inconvenience would be unacceptable to the public.

2.2 Operation

2.2.1 The Stickers

The stickers would have the Area number in bold, the registration number and the year. DVLC ought to be able to handle this, so that after the first year, they could send out reminders & handle transfers of cars to different zones. There will be a hologram to make forgery difficult and a bar code, to give the Assembly the option of camera recognition. This idea from Doug Gleave. There will obviously be widespread attempts to cheat.

2.2.2 Enforcement

This needs to be strict, because we are not dealing entirely with men's transport requirements but with their libido as well. If computer cameras prove to be necessary to fine drivers automatically, the cost of these will be added to the price of zone passes.

2.2.1 Times

Initially, the enforcement would be for certain times of the day only, say, 0600-1000 and 1500-2000, with open access for the rest of the day and at the weekends. After some experience, these can probably be tightened. The public should be fully informed of the effect of the system, even where it is not what was expected. The public will want to be told that change 'x' is a consequence of effect 'y'. (What would be completely unacceptable would be a repetition of the original A1 Red Route 'experiment' where the Department of Transport effectively declared it a success before it started by refusing to publish criteria for assessing whether it was a success or not. This was dismissed locally as the sort of thing you would expect from the Tories).

2.2.2 Penalties

If a driver drives into an inner zone, the traffic wardens (why not upgrade them to traffic police?) should stop them, issue a fine & turn them round. At the third offence, the vehicle would be confiscated & publicly auctioned, the proceeds going into the account of the whole operation. The first Roller autioned will make a nice television item!

2.3 Finance

Ken imagines that the stickers would cost about £100 per annum, subject to a proper study & that this will be uniform throughout London. It would be tempting to increase it for Area One users but they have suffered the pollution & jams created by Outer London drivers for decades. After the scheme has been in operation for a while, it may prove desirable to raise Area One charges to try to drive cars out of the centre altogether but that is too radical a step for phase one.

2.4 Legitimate road users

The definition of a commercial vehicle will need to be tightened up. They must display the company name and telephone number, address or web site address (URL), to stop the use of cowboy vans (the dreaded 'unmarked white van' will disappear) & stop rich car users buying vans to evade the Area system. Vehicles will have to have their 'usual storage address' registered & random checks will prevent cheating by the rich. In Area Red, all commercial vehicles will have to be marked.

Unmarked trucks will count as cars, not commercial vehicles.

Nice truck (Ken's) - has the company name & web site address on it.

No trucks over 15 tons will be allowed in the central zone between 7am & 10pm, so supermarkets etc will have to stock up at night.
Vehicle manufacturers will be expected, in the public interest, to make hire purchase on vans for one-man companies at zero interest, where this policy prevents these firms using their cars for their business.

2.5 Parking zones

If all the boroughs in the old LCC area (and any beyond who wish to) adopt universal parking zones, then out-of-town commuters will have nowhere to park on the streets & make them much more pleasant & safer for theinhabitants. Thisis a borough, not a GLA responsibility, though, & the Mayor will have to persuade them.

2.6 Public consultation

As with many other Mayor activities, a business-like approach will be taken. There will be public consultation only after the measures have been introduced to iron out any difficulties caused. Trying to get everything right first time is a classic cause of governmental inaction or delayed action. In business, you have to act now or lose your market.

3 Objections

3.1 'I'm a doctor'

Doctors cars are emergency vehicles (see proposal two) and should look like them, painted white with red crosses. Why was this not done years ago?

3.2 'My journey is too difficult by public transport'

That is because the cars are in the way. It will be easier with fewer cars around. That will also allow us to lay tram tracks & improve public transport generally.
It will be easier to use the buses, as we will insist on conductors & no doors on the buses. (Idea of Helen Leith).

3.3 'I need my car for work'

Really? If you are a commercial traveller, you need a van of appropriate size, which may be very small. If you 'need' to impress people you visit with your status, try using your personality. Otherwise, taxi journeys will be much easier without so many cars in the way.

3.4 Area One people will increase their car use.

If they do, the rules will be tightened.

3.5 'I have to take the kids to school'

Some of the worst & most dangerous congestion occurs near schools. Kids need to get used to public transport, as the future will place more and more limitations on private car use & driving them to school, even in the same area should be strongly discouraged. It is also better for their socialisation to go on foot & by public transport. The evidence suggests that there are no more child molesters around than in the past. They are just better publicised.

3.6 'I live too far out'

Rural transport is a rural problem. We will use set-aside fields near M25 junctions (as these are free - the farmers are already paid for them) as Park & Ride car parks from which express buses will take commuters into Central London. There will also be more expensive 1st Class buses, with more leg room & points for lap-top computer power. While Ken dislikes the class system, we have to tempt the rich to use public transport.

3.7 I'm disabled

You get a special sticker allowing you to go anywhere but God help any of your relatives who get caught using your car without you in it.

3.8 'I'm important & entitled to drive in'

No, you're not. We are all God's children. Ken will be elected as a socialist & will rule out so-called important people buying their way round the system. Your wealth can buy you comfort on your own premises but not privileged use of public facilities. You can take a 1st Class bus if you live in the sticks (see 3.6 above). It may do you some moral good to rub shoulders with the rest of us.

Proposal Two - Order of Precedence

This needs the force of law, so that flagrant abuses of road space can be fined. Ken will have to ask parliament for the power to do this. Obviously, this police power would be used with discretion.

 Emergency vehicles, including doctors' & dissabled peoples'cars
Pedestrians on Zebra crossings & entry treatments
Public transport vehicles including taxis
Cycles & motor cycles
Commercial vehicles
Other pedestrians
Private cars

Other interesting contacts:-

Ron Bailey, campaign organiser for Road Traffic Reduction of Friends of the Earth, e-mail him

Lynn Sloman, Assistant Director, Transport 2000, Walkden House, 10 Melton Street, London NW1 2EJ
voice 388 8386 fax 388 2481 e-mail transport2000&

Links to the other Mayor pages:-
Tourism & Arts
Organisation chart
'Coming clean' (exposure of assets & liabilities)
Comment on the Greater London Authority Bill

Contact: Ken Baldry at 17 Gerrard Road, Islington, London N1 8AY
+44(0)207 359 6294 or e-mail him
Copyright: Ken Baldry 1998, 1999

Last revised 5/8/99