This crept out while I was on my travels. On one hand, it’s amazing nobody’s made a big deal of this. On the other hand… maybe not.
Greenwich and Lewisham’s London Assembly member, Len Duvall, put a question to the Mayor of London last month about the proposed rail cuts through Deptford, Greenwich, Charlton, Woolwich and Kidbrooke during next summer’s Olympics.
Here’s the answer from Boris Johnson, elected advocate for the capital city in which we live.
I am not responsible for Southeastern’s train planning during the Olympics (or indeed at any other time)… Southeastern believe it [sic] will still provide a good level of service sufficient for commuters. It has been consulting stakeholders about the timetable. It will investigate whether it is able to make changes as a result of the feedback received, including that from London TravelWatch which says that some of the suggestions are ‘unacceptable’.
So, even with an election coming up, our mayor really doesn’t seem to give a damn about a key element of what’s going to be one of London’s biggest challenges next year – keeping ordinary Londoners happy while the Olympics are on. While Boris doesn’t have legal responsibility for Southeastern, TfL is certainly the biggest “stakeholder” in the whole process – if Southeastern’s plans go wrong, the mayor will cop a load of the flak.
Two political questions spring to mind. After all, we’ve an election next year.
Local Conservatives – are you really happy to see your mayor shrug off concerns about public transport during the Olympics?
Local Labour types – why aren’t you making a big deal of Boris’s lack of interest? What would Ken Livingstone do instead?
Greenwich and Woolwich’s Labour MP Nick Raynsford is due to meet Southeastern bosses this week to discuss their plans. He’s already called the proposals “unduly disruptive“.