Sian Berry says: “Greens approach transport using rational, commonsense principles. We prioritise the healthiest, safest, most efficient ways to get around.
“Our transport policies mean comprehensive walking, cycling and green public transport projects would get new investment, while the current Mayor’s plans that will make traffic and pollution worse will be cancelled.
“We will set bold targets to reduce traffic, and shift the balance of paying for our transport budget away from people who take public transport. We need fairer, smarter road charges, and truly fairer fares, flattening the fare zone system and reducing costs for people in outer London.
“And we will make streets and transport safer and more accessible for Londoners, with more enforcement of the rules of the road, more step-free stations, better bus stops and more toilets in our underground system.
“Only a Green Mayor and more Assembly Members can be trusted to keep London moving.”
>> READ OUR FULL MANIFESTO CHAPTER ON TRANSPORT HERE
Our transport and climate goals
A Green Mayor will set a goal for London’s overall traffic miles to reduce by 40 per cent by 2026 and 60 per cent by 2030, and we will achieve this with a comprehensive set of policies.
- improve city planning and aim for access to services within 15 minutes locally on foot,
- make streets safe and accessible for children, older and disabled people to walk, wheelchair or cycle,
- improve public transport and reduce fares, and
- charge for driving in the city at a fair rate.
We will also bring forward the current Mayor’s target for at least 80 per cent of journeys to be made by walking, cycling or public transport by eleven years, from 2041 to 2030.
>> READ MORE: Making London the first zero carbon transport city
How we will cut traffic and pollution in London
The current Mayor’s ultra low emission zone (ULEZ) plans for 2021 only extend to the north and south circular roads. A Green Mayor will expand the ULEZ to cover the whole of London by October 2022.
By 2023, we aim to replace the current Mayor’s ULEZ scheme with a smarter, fairer, privacy-friendly road-pricing plan, which will reduce miles driven as well as cleaning up vehicles.
Whatever engine they have inside, all kinds of motor vehicles create deadly particle pollution from tyre and road wear, which is why a Green Mayor will set an overall target for reducing traffic.
A Green Mayor will cancel road projects that will make traffic worse. The current Mayor has signed the contract for the Silvertown Road Tunnel, despite a huge campaign for him not to place this burden on the next Mayor. If cancellation costs are too high, we will convert it to run only for buses and cycling not for private cars, in order to avoid inducing new traffic in surrounding boroughs.
Through devolution discussions with the Government, we will demand that funds already paid by London’s drivers are given to London. We will press for a share of the Roads Fund (Vehicle Excise Duty hypothecated to fund Highways England), and a share of fuel duty.
A levy on workplace parking spaces to reduce car commuting in London was proposed in detail by Sian Berry in her campaign to be Mayor in 2016. The current Mayor has only just started to look at this policy with some borough councils, but we will start work straight away on developing a London-wide scheme.
Councils and community groups will be empowered and funded to develop low traffic neighbourhoods, where children, older and disabled people can confidently venture onto the streets outside of their homes. People on foot, and those using micro-mobility devices such as wheelchairs, scooters and cycles will be able to circulate freely.
New standards for safe, healthy and accessible streets
In 2020, during the first coronavirus lockdown, Londoners responded magnificently to the call to stay at home and prioritise the journeys of essential workers. During this time, 47 per cent of journeys were made by walking and cycling and tube use was just eight per cent of normal use.
But in the longer term, sat-nav enabled driving has led to a 74 per cent increase in traffic on residential side roads over the ten years from 2009 to 2019.
Many Londoners discovered the clean air benefits of a low-traffic city in 2020. Deliveries and trades vehicles benefitted from near-empty roads. Previously unappreciated places came alive with birdsong, conversation and neighbourliness, as most of us chose to combine our daily exercise with our daily journeys to work, local shops and parks.
Apart from the climate crisis and the air pollution crisis, our transport policy has to address the crisis of physical inactivity that threatens the health and wellbeing of so many people.
Healthy streets will be a crucial resource to help people, communities and businesses recover from the pandemic.
Fairer fares with one zone
Travelcards and weekly caps to travel to central London cost people in outer boroughs much more, and Greens are committed to eliminating this inequality between inner and outer London.
The current Mayor’s ‘fare freeze’ has only applied to single journeys – not the travelcards and weekly contactless caps that working people depend upon.
Sian Berry is the only candidate for Mayor pledging to flatten the fare structure and bring down outer London fares. She will reduce cost differences between zones, and create one single fare zone for all of London within two Mayoral terms.
There has been a flat fare on London buses since 2004, but the fare zone structure has not changed since the early 1990s.
Using the weekly travelcard, which costs the same as the cap on pay-as-you-go fares, the total annual cost of travel into central London from Zone 6 is now £3,114.
This is far higher than the annual cost of £1,702 for travel from Zone 2, and these inequalities have worsened over time.
More and more people are being pushed to the edges of London because of housing costs, only to be punished by higher transport costs when they move.
This isn’t fair. Two workers in the same central London hospital or other workplace should pay the same fare to get to work no matter where they live.
>> READ MORE: Travel costs go up again – time to flatten fares
Transport goods safely and sustainably
Moving stuff around our city is essential work.
The growth in construction traffic, supermarket home delivery, goods ordered online, and take-away food delivered to people’s homes, means we need better ways to manage these trips, and to change how we transport goods and freight around our city.
The best ever bus stops
Londoners have told us that current bus stops simply aren’t good enough for the older and disabled people and outer Londoners who rely most upon them, and we have listened. Sian Berry has plans for a vastly improved new bus stop design for London’s streets.
Greens will bring in a comprehensive new design, which will be used for all new and replacement Transport for London bus shelters.
Our proposals will give Londoners who rely on buses:
- Real-time bus arrival time and air pollution information
- Proper, comfortable seating, with arms to help older and disabled people stand up
- Ringfenced advertising space for local small businesses and services
- Solar generating glazing to cut carbon
- Attractive, bee-friendly planting on the shelter rooftop, alongside further solar power generation
- New pedestrian crossings in the right place for every main road bus stop
The proposals for this new standard respond to problems raised by Londoners, including badly designed, uncomfortable seating (sometimes designed deliberately that way as part of hostile design policies towards homeless people), and the lack of safe crossings on main roads that help people reach bus stops.
With a Green Mayor, London will have the best bus stops in the world.
>> READ MORE: The best ever bus stops
London should be flush with free loos
A Green Mayor will commission new, free public toilets on our transport network, following up on proposals from Green London Assembly member, Caroline Russell.
At London Underground stations it can be hard to find a toilet, or one without a charge. Network Rail stations in London now all have free facilities since a change in policy two years ago.
As part of the Mayor’s budget in 2020, Caroline found funding to make all tube toilets free and add 32 new accessible toilet blocks, along with six ‘changing places’ toilets.
Caroline says: “It is a disgrace that Londoners, visitors and bus and tube drivers can’t enjoy our city without worrying about where to find a bathroom.
“People who have to plan their journeys around toilets, particularly older Londoners, those with a disability or medical condition and people with children, shouldn’t have their lives limited by a lack of loos.
It makes sense that Transport for London should provide as many toilets as possible as part of its public purpose and service. And it certainly shouldn’t be charging people to spend a penny.