Gareth Bacon AM said:
“While it is right that all taxi and private hire drivers are able to communicate effectively in English, the proposed approach of TfL has been overly prescriptive. For years London politicians from across the political spectrum have expressed concerns about these plans, which were always disproportionate, unnecessary and potentially damaging not only to the industry but also to the livelihoods of countless drivers. This is a welcome climbdown.
“While today’s announcement is a small step in the right direction, it is still the case that under this Mayor TfL is hammering the private hire industry. Sadiq Khan’s decision to increase operator fees by hundreds – and in some cases thousands - of percent has put some small companies out of business, and plans to remove the congestion charge exemption for private hire vehicles will likely have a devastating impact on the industry”.
Keith Prince AM comment: Mayor doubles ‘scrap for cash’ polluting vehicle fund as he holds National Clean Air Summit
Keith Prince AM said: “The penny appears to have finally dropped and the Mayor has at last realised that his approach to introducing the new ULEZ will hit poorest Londoners the hardest.
“While the Mayor is right to help Londoners prepare for the ULEZ, this new scrappage scheme is just a drop in the ocean. With the Mayor’s figures estimating that 100,000 vehicles will be impacted by ULEZ and other predictions forecasting that this number will be much higher, we need Sadiq Khan to do much more than just tinkering around the edges”.
The Mayor of London was today accused of spending millions on the wrong priorities, as it emerged that TfL salaries have rocketed by 15 percent in one year.
New figures show that TfL’s remuneration costs have surged from £1.9 billion in 2016/17 to £2.2 billion this year. This comes despite the average headcount at TfL falling from 27,500 last year to under 27,000 currently.
Prince said that a significant amount of this increase has gone towards the “eyewatering pay rises” which have been awarded to the most senior TfL employees this year. These include:
Mayor Sadiq Khan was today accused of ‘wasting money on the wrong priorities’, as it emerged that over 18,000 London Underground staff received a 3.85 percent pay rise this year.
Freedom of Information data shows that the pay award cost TfL nearly £33 million, which comes as the transport budget is nearly £1 billion in deficit.
The pay rise given to tube staff is nearly double that of other public sector staff, including the police, who received a 2 percent wage increase this year. The new figures show that awarding Underground staff a rise in line with local government would have cost TfL nearly £16 million less.
The average number of public transport strikes under Sadiq Khan have risen to six per year, meaning that the mayor currently has the worst pro rata strikes record of any London mayor.
Before his election Khan promised that there would be ‘zero days of strikes’ during his mayoralty, but this week Piccadilly Line drivers are staging a 48-hour walk-out, with the RMT union citing a ‘breakdown of industrial relations’ for the reason behind the strike. This is the 14th strike to take place since the mayor took office.
Khan’s strikes tally comes as a stark comparison to his two predecessors, Ken Livingstone and Boris Johnson, who averaged two and 4.4 strikes per year respectively.
London Assembly Members have joined forces to vote against Sadiq Khan’s proposal to take away the Congestion Charge exemption from private hire vehicles (PHVs).
Members voted on a motion which urged the Mayor to scrap the policy on Thursday afternoon, which was passed by 16 to 3.
Critics say that the policy would fail to reduce congestion and is only being pursued to plug the deficit in the transport budget.
The Mayor's own figures show that the change would reduce the number of PHVs in the Congestion Charge zone by only 600 a day – with the total traffic in the area falling by a meagre 1 percent.
Fares could rise by 16 percent, as operators would have to cover the cost of paying the Congestion Charge.
The analysis also shows that the move could raise up to £30 million per year, which could help to fill the Mayor's almost £1 billion black hole in the transport budget.