Lib Dem Mayoral Candidate, Siobhan Benita, has written to Mayor of London Sadiq Khan suggesting five measures that could be implemented in the capital to keep travel safe when lockdown measures are eased.
The plan includes introducing temporary cycle lanes, express bus services and early bird fares to relieve congestion on the tube at peak hours.
It also addresses improving the financial sustainability of Transport for London, including the reintroduction of ULEZ, with exemptions in place for essential workers, and a call to commission a report into smart road pricing.
Temporary cycle lanes have been introduced in other European cities, like Milan and Paris, while express bus services running across key orbital and radial routes could help further relieve congestion on the underground network.
The Liberal Democrats have long called for early bird fares, to encourage pre-peak travel, but this congestion-busting measure is now viewed as vital to passenger safety.
In the meanwhile, reintroducing road charging and looking into a more comprehensive tech-led pricing scheme should avoid the problems other cities have faced coming out of lockdown, where car use and its related emissions rocketed as people avoided public transport.
Speaking about the package for transport safety, Siobhan Benita, said:
“As we tentatively look ahead towards when lockdown measures may be eased, it is vital that London does everything it can to keep commuters and workers safe. We should learn from what other cities have experienced, taking on the best ideas, like temporary cycle lanes, and avoiding the worst impacts, such as unprecedented car use.
“Further guidelines on any lockdown measures will, of course, come from Central Government and any measures introduced in London must be compliant. But it’s important to start planning ahead to ensure any new measures are ready to go.
“Setting up ULEZ exemptions for essential workers, establishing the best routes for temporary cycle lanes or express bus routes will all take time – but the urgency of such measures will be apparent the moment Londoners start to move across the city in numbers again.
“When we eventually ease out of lockdown, our priority must be to keep travelling Londoners and our system’s workers safe. We should be exploring all options to do so and I hope the Mayor takes on board our suggestions.”