TfL Board has approved a £9.2bn 2010/11 budget to invest in London’s transport network in the run up to 2012.
While plans to improve the accessibility of the London Underground were recently scrapped due to lack of funding – this year will see the completion of the East London Line extension, the Jubilee Line upgrade, London Cycle Hire scheme, two Cycle Superhighways and a 50% boost to capacity of the busiest Bank to Lewisham section of the DLR.
The budget, which includes both operating costs and capital investment, will also fund also the continued progress of TfL Investment Programme projects due for completion in later years. It is however underpinned by the drive by the Mayor to make £5.2bn of ‘efficiency savings’ that will be delivered over the term of TfL’s Business Plan, which runs to 2018.
The plans which are detailed below will have an impact on those disabled and older Londoners who use the DLR, the Jubliee Line and the East London Line in particular. Upgrades and investment in these specific areas of our transport network are welcome and TfA will be monitoring the progress of the improvements.
Proposed delivery in the year ahead includes:
• The opening of the extended East London line – as part of TfL’s London Overground network – bringing Tube frequency services and new connections to South East and East London;
The TfL website says of the new extension:
“We want everyone to be able to use the East London line, which is why all trains will have dedicated wheelchair bays, and new stations will be step-free and have lifts“.
With the step free Tube programme shelved – there is no doubt that ann accessible East London Line will add to the transport options of disabled and older Londoners. TfA and its supporters will be trying out the new trains and stations as soon as they are unveiled.
Also planned are:
• The introduction of a third carriage to services on the DLR Lewisham to Bank branch – a 50% increase in capacity along the busiest DLR route – plus the completion of infrastructure work to enable three carriage operation across the whole network for the 2012 Games;
Already used by many disabled and older people, this initative TfA hopes will mean less over crowding at peak times.
• The completion of the Mayor’s London Cycle Hire Scheme and the opening of the first two of 12 new Cycle Super Highways routes;
TfA will be working with dsiabled cyclists and groups to ensure that adapted bikes and Cycles are also included.
• The upgrade of the Jubilee line originally due to be completed by Tube Lines last year, delivering a 22% reduction in journey times and a 33% increase in capacity to serve an extra 5,000 passengers an hour;
• A host of initiatives to help smooth traffic flow including the continued review of traffic signals, upgrade of signals to the SCOOT (Split Cycle Offset Optimisation Technique) responsive system and the trial of pedestrian countdown at traffic signals;
• New trains introduced to over half of the Victoria line fleet this year, as part of the upgrade of the line by 2012/13;
• New air-conditioned trains entering service on the Metropolitan line;
• The commencement of main works at two of the six new Crossrail stations, Tottenham Court Road and Farringdon, with work also beginning at the two tunnel portals ahead of the start of Crossrail tunnelling in 2011.