New London Mayor Talks Up Buses and Bikes (Updated)


Here’s an interview from last year with London Mayor Boris Johnson, who ousted Ken Livingstone last week. It’s pretty remarkable in that Johnson spends the first eight minutes talking about buses and bikes.

  • 1:54: Johnson says the first thing he would do as mayor is commission a study for a new bus design. The current articulated buses ("bendies") are dangerous and inaccessible to disabled riders, he says.
  • 4:27: "By the way, speaking as a cyclist, I want to be absolutely vehement in my defense of cyclists and in campaigning for people to cycle in this town. I think that bendies are lethal … They push you out into the traffic …"
  • 5:00: Johnson, who says he has cycled to work every day for eight years, encourages the interviewer to get on a bike.
  • 5:40: Johnson to interviewer: "It’s very very sad that people like you are so anxious about cycling, and I would like people to feel more encouraged to do it. That’s a psychological barrier that we’ve got to overcome." Johnson then expounds on police failure to deter bike theft.
  • 18:10: Johnson says he will abolish the congestion charge "As such time as I have a better replacement." Though he says he wants to be "the greenest mayor this country [has] had," Johnson says pricing in London has failed to reduce traffic and pollution. Despite these statements, Johnson has more recently pledged to reduce the congestion zone to its original size, but has no known plans to repeal the charge.

UPDATE: From Sunday’s Daily Mail:

Without giving full details of his intentions, Mr Johnson said he would "reform and improve" the congestion charge on drivers entering central London, including by making it possible for motorists to pay their charge on account at the end of the month.

  • ddartley

    And he’s from the Conservative Party. Man have we got a ways to go.

  • Niccolo Machiavelli

    Hopefully they will retain, improve and expand the policy. However, what I find more interesting is how as a campaign issue, in class conscious Britain, this turned the class bias arguments used by the anti-CP forces in NYC on its ear. The conservative Tories argued against congestion pricing while “Red Ken” Livingston and Labor held out for it. Is the US a bizarro universe of transportation and urban policy?

  • ManhattanDowntowner

    To above: In London, per the London Chamber of Commerce and many other sources cited in my post below – congestion taxing is an anethema to small and independent businesses, with many of them looking to move elsewhere. Do you want to expand congestion charging and kill off ALL small businesses?

    The exact same thing would occur in NYC if congestion taxing were to be enacted here – loss of the heart and soul of New York. Don’t we have enough banks, Starbucks and franchises yet?

    Read the facts and details on my post here:
    http://www.streetsblog.org/2008/07/09/new-mayor-could-weaken-london-congestion-charge/

  • Michael Steiner

    ManhattanDowntowner,

    Did you ever visit any pedestrian areas’s in europe and check around what stores are there and compared it to the car-reachable/mall-ish shopping ares in these places? Saying that reduced/no car traffic — which is certainly one of the goals of CP — is “anethema to small and independent businesses” flies in the face of anything which has happened there. More to the contrary ….

    Regarding your referenced facts and details, there is not much to find in your post there…. ?!

  • ManhattanDowntowner

    In response and at the risk of double posting and getting deleted – this is a cut and paste of my of other post. Yes, I definitely think congestion taxing is an anathema to small businesses -it’s occuring in London as we speak.

    “I think small businesses (the heart and soul of any city) are fed up with congestion taxing.

    http://www.telegraph.co.uk/money/main.jhtml?xml=/money/2004/04/22/cncong22.xml
    Business down as a result of Congestion pricing in London
    http://www.thisislondon.co.uk/news/article-5007517-details/Congestion+charge+hammers+shops/article.do
    Congestion charge hammers shops
    By Richard Allen, Evening Standard Last updated at 18:51pm on 27.05.03

    As recent as September 2007
    http://manchester-blog.com/the-congestion-charge-business-effect/
    LONDON Chamber of Commerce
    79% of central London’s retailers experienced a drop in takings
    56% a reduction in customers
    42% thought congestion charging should take all, or most of the blame
    74.5% of restaurants responding reported a fall in takings
    Same restaurants noted a 78.3% fall in customer numbers since the change was introduced
    54% of those restaurants attributed both drops to the congestion charge

    As recent as March 2008
    http://www.lbhf.gov.uk/Directory/News_and_Media/Press_office/Press_releases/98386_Local_business_crippled_by_congestion_charge.asp
    Local business crippled by congestion charge by Hammersmith and Fulham Press Office
    30/05/20″

  • ManhattanDowntowner

    “More to the contrary ….

    Regarding your referenced facts and details, there is not much to find in your post there…. ?!”

    [To Steiner: I cannot believe that you have actually read these facts and details, otherwise you would not be able to make a statement that “there is not much to find” – the London Chamber of Commerce numbers speak for themselves!]

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