I’ll be the bus driver’s son who makes commuting more affordable

- CHECK AGAINST DELIVERY - 

Thank you for that kind introduction Val.

Val has done an incredible job representing the people of Lambeth and Southwark for the past 16 years.

There are few people who know as much about London’s transport system as Val.

Val - your expertise will be sorely missed from the London Assembly, and you leave big shoes to fill.

I am grateful for your help, advice and friendship.

 

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Today I want to talk about London’s transport network.

And my plans to make commuting more affordable.

London’s transport network holds a special significance for me and my family.

Of course, it’s vital to making our city and our economy work.

But for my family it also holds a more emotional connection.

One of my earliest memories is sitting at the front of the top deck of the 44 bus with my brother as it wound its way from Tooting, to Battersea and across the river up to Victoria.

We’d spend half the time looking down the screen to the driver below, and laughing every time he looked up and caught us.

Now I’m going to share a little secret with you that not many people know…

That driver was my Dad.

And we were never off buses when I was a kid – whether to accompany my mum shopping or visiting friends, exploring London or driving around with my Dad.

There’s still nothing better than the feeling of sitting on the top deck of a London bus as it weaves around our city.

Sadly my dad passed away before I was appointed as Minister of State for Transport.

But I know he’d have been so proud.

 

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So London’s transport system has played a starring role in my family’s story.

It helped to create the opportunities that London gave us to succeed.

My parents arrived in London in the 1960s.

They worked incredibly hard to give us the chance of a better future.

We had a helping hand at every step of the way–

A council house that meant my parents could save a deposit to buy a home of their own.

A stable and secure job on the buses for my Dad.

A fantastic state school education for us.

University places that we could afford - and good quality apprenticeships.

Those opportunities allowed us to fulfil our potential.

They allowed me to go on to serve in Cabinet as the Minister responsible for transport.

And they allowed me to go on to be standing here today – as your candidate for Mayor of London.

So for me, London’s transport isn’t just a dry and technical policy area.

It’s an emotional part of my history and my families’ story.

That’s why I’m so proud to say that I’ll be the bus driver’s son who makes commuting more affordable.

 

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London’s success is built on our transport system.

And our long history of pioneering new and effective ways of transporting people and goods.

From our history as one of the world’s greatest ports.

A berth for boats from every corner of the world.

To building the world’s first underground system - which must have shocked and amazed Londoners back in 1863.

To the red London bus and the iconic black cab – both celebrated in the 2012 Olympic closing ceremony.

And our modern tube network - with the roundel logo and the iconic map recognised the world over.

Our transport system is the life blood flowing through the arteries of our city and our economy.

 

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But London’s transport system is under growing strain.

Our population is booming – with more people needing to get between home and work every day.

In 2030 London’s population is set to reach 10 million for the first time ever.

That growth is putting our existing network under strain.

And there is no doubt that we urgently need additional capacity.

That’s why I want to be crystal clear today that I will build on TfL’s planned investment programme to increase capacity across our network.

As Mayor, I’ll push forward with the many schemes which are currently only at the planning stage, and which need real leadership from the Mayor to move forward.

Schemes like the Bakerloo line extension.

The desperately needed additional river crossings in East London

And crucially, Crossrail 2.

I’ll work tirelessly to secure funding for these plans and to get shovels in the ground and start building.

When I was a Minister in the last Labour Government, I steered a bill through Parliament which opened the way for the crucial business funding for Crossrail.

And as Mayor, I will use that experience to work with London’s businesses to provide real long-term planning for our future infrastructure.

Our businesses need that infrastructure in order to grow and succeed.

And it needs to be planned in partnership; business, Government, the Mayor, Londoners and developers working together for the long-term interests of our city.

 

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But there’s no point building fantastic new infrastructure, or creating world class services, if Londoners simply can’t afford to use them.

Living in London is far too expensive.

The cost of living is a constant stress for too many Londoners.

Working families struggle with the cost of housing and childcare.

It’s causing an exodus of well-trained Londoners at the peak of their careers.

And on top of all that, Londoners pay some of the highest public transport fares in the world.

Under the Tories the cost of fares has soared out of all control.

Fares have increased above inflation almost every year.

And Londoners are rightly sick of it.

 

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It would be bad enough if there was no choice.

But there is.

Fares don’t have to keep going up like this.

Because at the same time as fares have gone up, TfL has become more and more bloated.

They simply haven’t had to make the efficiency savings that other parts of the public sector have had to in recent years.

Did you know - they pay 450 staff more than £100,000 a year.

They spend £383 million a year on consultants and agency workers – which has more than doubled under Boris Johnson.

They wasted £900 million on the tube signalling contract disaster with Bombardier.

And they bizarrely still have entirely separate engineering operations for underground and surface transport - which wastes hundreds of millions of pounds on two sets of overheads, backroom functions and procurement.

So TfL is flabby.

And it’s not acceptable.

 

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Remarkably, Zac Goldsmith has made it clear that he has no interest in making TfL more efficient or innovative.

And instead of making TfL better and more efficient, he wants commuters – working Londoners – to pay more and more in fares every year.

He plans a 17 per cent increase in fares over the next four years.

That’s £1000 more taken out of the pockets of many Londoners during the next Mayoral term.

That’s simply not good enough from someone who wants to be Mayor of our great city.

 

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My plan is different.

I will freeze all TfL fares for four years.

Londoners won’t pay a penny more in 2020 than they do now.

And I’ll introduce a new bus ticked called ‘The Hopper’, which will mean Londoners can change buses as many time as they need within an hour and only pay a single fare.

And to pay for it, I will wage war on waste, excess and inefficiency within TfL.

I’ll shake things up.

With more efficient ways of working and cutting waste.

Slashing the money we spend on expensive consultants and temporary agency workers.

And put an end to the wasteful spending on vanity projects – with millions poured down the drain.

Vanity projects like the cable car, the new Routemasters and the whole team at TfL who are still working on the fantasy island airport in the Thames Estuary which the Government has made clear is not going to happen.

It has to stop.

And with me as Mayor, it will.

 

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I have real plans to change things up at TfL.

Firstly, on day one of my Mayoralty, I will order a root and branch review of TfL’s organisational structure.

Looking at every corner of the organisation - from the senior management team downwards.

We’ll identify waste and replication to find new savings and make it more effective.

Secondly, I’ll order a forensic review of the TfL business plan to go through all future projects with a fine toothcomb.

Only those projects which truly benefit Londoners will be pursued.

And I’ll ensure that there are no more wasteful vanity projects left over from the Boris years.

Thirdly, I’ll reshape TfL’s board.

It needs to better reflect London’s diversity, and the interests of Londoners.

There are 16 people on the board of TfL. Thirteen of them are white men.

Thirteen. 

 

It only has three women on it. That’s less than one in five.

Yet women face specific challenges on our transport network that are not currently being addressed.

I was appalled by the recent decision by British Transport Police to scrap the sexual violence unit.

Reports of sexual offences on the Underground almost tripled over the last five years.

As Mayor I’ll take this problem seriously and act to ensure that women are safe and feel safe on the tube and on our buses and trains.

And I’ll ensure a more representative board at TfL that effectively represents the needs of business, communities and the transport sector, with the expertise needed to deliver the transport system London needs.

 

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But as well as stopping waste, we must create new funding streams to help to pay to keep Londoners fares down.

We can be put the surplus land that TfL owns to better use – keeping the freehold whilst building the genuinely affordable homes Londoners need to buy and rent.

A revenue stream for TfL and homes for Londoners – a win win.

And I’m proud that we have a system which is the envy of other cities around the world. 

Even now, TfL is being approached to provide advice and guidance elsewhere.

We should be selling that advice and guidance - and using the proceeds to keep fares down here.

And we can go further still – TfL should be managing and developing transport services in other towns and cities - from running buses to providing engineering expertise – with every penny raised used to keep fares down at home.

 

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But that is by no means the limit of my ambition.

I have real plans to make London an easier and safer city in which to cycle.

To tackle air pollution and take a lead on fighting climate change.

To reduce congestion and keep our roads running.

To make London a better city for pedestrians.

To move London’s bus fleet to being electric.

To improve how we manage our waterways.

And much, much more.

 

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Now some people say it’s not possible to have a transport system that is both modern and affordable.

I completely disagree.

We can freeze fares while continuing the investment needed to modernise the transport system.

While building the new tube and rail lines we need and increase capacity.

Even Mike Brown, the TfL commissioner, has himself said that my plans are deliverable.

It’s only the Tories who want to keep increasing fares.

I’ll use my experience, and my values, to deliver the modern AND affordable transport system that Londoners need.

I’ll be the bus driver’s son who makes commuting more affordable.

And I’ll be a Mayor for all Londoners.

 

 


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