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TfL under attack from London mayoral candidates

Two London mayoral candidates have criticised Transport for London (TfL), with Conservative Zac Goldsmith promising to cut free transport perks for staff to pay for more police officers and Labour’s Sadiq Khan promising efficiency savings to pay for a fare freeze.

Goldsmith pledged to cut perks for TfL staff in order to fund 500 more police officers on the network, which he said were necessary for safety on the new Night Tube, in his crime manifesto, launched on Wednesday.

He said the police would be funded by TfL and that he would review areas such as the ‘nominee passes’ currently given to TfL employees to find the funding to cover this. The passes allow one other member of an employee’s household to travel on the Tube for free.

Goldsmith, MP for Richmond Park and North Kingston, said: “My Action Plan for Greater London will support the work the police do and ensure there are more officers around to do it – paid for without raising mayoral council tax.”

However, Manuel Cortes, leader of trade union TSSA, responded angrily to the commitment, insisting that the perks cost TfL “absolutely nothing”.

He added: “Zac Goldsmith is a playboy trying to play in politics. But London is not a playground. How dare this trust fund Tory think tube workers can be kicked around like a political football!”

Goldsmith also pledged to introduce more police contact points on the network, including in closed down ticket offices.

His transport manifesto includes promises to press the government to legally reclassify TfL as an essential public service, meaning that a strike cannot go ahead without 40% union support, in order to reduce the disruption caused by extensive London Underground strikes, and to empower TfL to recruit external Night Tube staff in order to extend the service to the District Circle, Hammersmith, Metropolitan and City lines, and ultimately the London Overground and Docklands Light Railway.

In a BBC interview on Tuesday, Goldsmith failed to name the Central Line stop after Tottenham Court Road (the correct answer is Holborn.)

In a speech on 30 March Khan, MP for Tooting and a former transport minister, said: “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.”

He pledged to freeze TfL fares until 2020, paid for by efficiency savings. He pledged to launch a review of TfL’s organisational structure on his first day as mayor, followed by a review of its business plan, and to put surplus land owned by TfL out to tender in order to build more affordable homes.

He also said he would restructure the TfL board to make it more diverse, saying that it was unacceptable that 13 out of the 16 board members are white men.

The London mayoral election will take place on 5 May.

(Image: Sadiq Khan and Zac Goldsmith during The London Debate with LBC and ITV News at The Union Chapel in London on 5 April, c. Daniel Leal-Olivas from PA Wire and Press Association Images.)


Martin T   08/04/2016 at 19:57

Manuel Cortes isn't being fair with his claims. Giving a family member free travel isn't like a cafe giving someone free food so he is right that there is not a direct cost to the perk. But it is a potentially significant loss of revenue (say, £2k revenue a year). London benefits from the perk - less congestion on the road - so I am not opposed to it. If money needs to be saved then there should be fiscal drag on salaries i.e. increases less than inflation for people being over-paid. Salaries should be set at a level to recruit and retain, not by muscle.

Inside Man   09/04/2016 at 10:09

Think both have valid points. There are far too many managers in TFL on £100k plus. The Commissioner gets £350k! Ridiculous money. We should also look at getting rid of free travel for all over 60s -should be means tested.

Scottie   09/04/2016 at 13:29

I think top priority for the New London Mayor is to scrutinise TFL top down. Just how many management consultants and "Self employed" contractors does this organisation need or can justify ! Fare paying/suffering passengers ( NOT CUSTOMERS ) want and need front line visible staff at stations. I was travelling on a rammed Jubilee Line recently when a serious assault took place an no TFL staff could be found whatsoever apart from the Driver ! What will happen when you multiply Drunk Passengers / Revellers ten fold when the Night Tube commences ? I bet Boris didn't factor this into his planning. Mind you he never travels on the Tube without his minders so what experience does he have of this scenario ,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,, Heaven Help Us !

Andrew Gwilt   18/04/2016 at 10:18

If Mr Goldsmith or Mr Khan wins the London Mayoral Elections and is to become the next Mayor of London for 6-8 years then they will have knowledge and passion on how to deal with transportation across Greater London including the Crossrail 1, Crossrail 2 and Thameslink projects that is changing London plus new trains are to be built to cope with large volumes of passengers and to improve better transport links and also to agree on building the new Lower Thames Crossing that will connect from M25 in Essex to M2 in Kent and a new airport in the Thames Estuary which is unlikely to happen but would agree on building a 3rd runway at Heathrow Airport and a 2nd runway at Gatwick Airport and possibly a 2nd runway at Stansted Airport which will keep London's major airports busier and new jobs created across the capital with new homes, apartments and buildings to be built in & around Greater London.

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