The independent London newspaper

Bus diversion a sign of calamitous planning by TfL

16 May, 2019

ALL the signs point to what can only be described as the decline of Transport for London.

Is TfL up to the momentous job of transforming transport and street usage by vehicles in the face of the threatening climate change?

A revolution in transport is essential. It will, of course, never be achieved unless it is planned centrally by the government.

The introduction of electric cars is a case in point – this will not come about without the full co-operation of manufacturers, the lowering of costs, the changing habits of consumers – as well as sound planning by transport authorities such as TfL.

But TfL appears to fail when it comes to public consultation. While half-baked consultations on the introduction of cycle lanes have been welcomed by many cyclists they have also caused waves of resentment among private drivers and cabbies.

Creating two lanes in Tottenham Court Road has left it as a street of two parts – one, going northwards, choked with traffic; the other, going south, virtually deserted, just a few buses and a few cyclists.

Or take the decision taken this week to allow a crane in Crowndale Road to force virtually all buses going southwards to miss Camden Town and zigzag their way instead via Camden Street and Crowndale Road. Was there any real consultation? Any prior publicity?

Without warning thousands of families boarding buses to go shopping in Camden Road and Camden High Street find themselves – until May 25 – squeezed out of Camden Town. It must be miserable for young mothers with children.

This may seem of little importance to the bigwigs at TfL but it means a lot for local families. Good local government would avoid such calamitous planning.

Exam ban

HAS the marketisation of the school system resulted in students at UCL Academy being told to pay hundreds of pounds to sit their A-level exams?

The academy – like thousands of “independent” state schools across the country – is contracted to central government rather than the local authority.

The set-up, first introduced by New Labour in the late 1990s, has fragmented the school system and led to a lack of oversight.

Schools compete against each other, and fear slipping down the league tables.

Market forces are driving schools to adopt a survival of the fittest instinct; to act in their own interests, rather than that of their students.

In any case, students routine­ly surpass predicted grades. Who does not know a young person who struggled to pay attention throughout the early years only to pull a result out of the bag after some last-minute revision?

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