Tuesday, 10 January 2017

Greens accuse TfL of favouring out-of-town commuters over Londoners

Greens campaign for Crossrail 2 at Streatham
Transport for London’s ruling out of Streatham as a stop on a proposed Crossrail 2 is based on flawed data and analysis – and favours the needs of out-of-town commuters over congested & disadvantaged Londoners, says the Green Party

In answer to a question to the London Mayor by Green London Assembly Member Caroline Russell, Transport for London rules out a Crossrail 2 route via Streatham on the grounds that it would add 4.5 minutes to the route into central London by travellers coming from the southwestern outer suburbs: Kingston, Hampton, Chessington, Epsom. 

It appears to be giving more weight to the needs of these commuters than the rapidly rising numbers of commuters from Streatham, who currently suffer much longer journey times than areas better served by public transport.

The TfL report claims Streatham is currently “well-served by rail”, a statement dismissed by Streatham Greens as a fantasy.

The report claims there are 20 trains per hour at peak times across the three Streatham stations, not acknowledging that these stations are between one and two miles away from each other nor the long-running failure and recent reductions in services by Southern Rail.

Neither does the TfL assessment appear to be based on the most recent passenger numbers which show 10 million journeys per year from the three stations. Streatham Station, in particular, has seen astonishing increases in passenger numbers, with a rise of more than 300,000 between 2013-14 and 2014-15.

“It took TfL nearly four months to respond to the Green Party’s requests for the full data on which they based their decision to reject Streatham – and what they have supplied doesn’t adequately answer the question. It fails to take into account the ‘Streatham Factor’ ie the exponential rise in Streatham’s population in the past five years,” says Green Party councillor Scott Ainslie.

“In particular, it isn’t clear in TfL’s report whether the improvement in journey times for Streatham commuters that Crossrail 2 would bring have been fairly calculated or fairly balanced against the small increase in journey time for out-of-town commuters.

“Neither have the economic regeneration benefits of bringing Crossrail 2 to Streatham been adequately considered. It suggests only 500 new homes and jobs would be created by the investment.

“We need to see the full models and data upon which this analysis is based.”

Assembly Member Caroline Russell’s question to Mayor SadiqKhan on 14 September followed a statement by at his Transport Committee meeting on 13 July 2016, in which the Deputy Mayor for Transport Val Shawcross said that consideration of a Crossrail 2 station at Streatham ‘was ruled out some years ago’.

More than a quarter of commuters in the south of Lambeth (26%) currently travel by train and nearly a fifth (18%) take buses into central Lambeth to join the tube at Brixton, according to Lambeth council’s own baseline analysis for its forthcoming long-term transport plan.

Lambeth’s Council’s analysis describes the south of the borough as least-well served for public transport, with highest use of cars and least use of active modes of transport such as walking and cycling.

The Green Party says investment in the rail infrastructure in Streatham is crucial to improving the health and quality of life of its residents by reducing overcrowding on existing trains and at the tube intersection at Brixton and also cutting bus and car congestion on the A23.

“We need to make train journeys across London easy, quick and efficient and get people off the roads” says Scott Ainslie. Only then can we begin to tackle air pollution, which has already breached legal limits in Lambeth this year – and which kills thousands of Londoners.”

He said Greens are keen to work collaboratively with politicians and decision-makers of all parties to address the transport crisis, which is also a physical and mental health crisis for the people of south London.

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