Green Party candidate for Mayor of London, Sian Berry, will today pledge to make fixing transport in outer London a top priority as part of her plan to keep London moving.
Higher fares, less frequent services and fewer transport options add up to a raw deal for people living in outer London, and pledges to fix this as part of giving more Londoners the option to drive less, and reach more of the places they need to get to by public transport and by foot and on bikes.
Car ownership for households in outer London stood at 68 percent in 2017-18 compared with just 40 percent in inner London – numbers which have remained relatively stable since at least 2005. The Centre for London says that availability of public transport is “undoubtedly a factor” in this.
These numbers are complemented by research from Green Assembly Member Caroline Russell in 2019, which found that a higher proportion of outer Londoners feel “forced” to own a car.
More recent data from Caroline Russell found that nearly half of all London journeys were walked or cycled during the first lockdown, pointing to the potential to move away from car dependency in the future, with investment from the next Mayor in the right transport infrastructure.
To walk and cycle more journeys, people need safer roads. Caroline Russell reported to the Assembly in 2017 on the increasingly hostile streets and junctions in outer London,  but measures to cut road danger in London have been neglected under the current Mayor. In March 2021, a Green motion was passed unanimously by the London Assembly, highlighting the 261 junctions in London with traffic lights that still have no safe crossings with light-controlled pedestrian crossings for people to cross safely on foot.
The Assembly called on the Mayor to invest to make sure every arm of every traffic junction like this has a safe crossing for people on foot, and Sian Berry has pledged to make sure this investment happens by 2024 in her manifesto.
Sian Berry is also the only candidate for Mayor putting forward plans to end the injustice of outer Londoners paying more to travel by rail and tube. One of her key promises to outer Londoners is to flatten the Transport for London fare zones, bringing fares from outer London and creating a single fare zone to match the system on London buses.
On 1 March, TfL travelcard and cap prices went up again (the fares freeze under the current Mayor has never applied to them), and this now means higher transport costs of over £1,400 a year for people living in Zone 6 compared with Zone 2.
Other policies put forward by Sian Berry and the Green Party to fix outer London transport include increasing the frequency of bus services, delivering a fully connected cycle network and investing in major infrastructure projects to the benefit of outer boroughs.
“Londoners in the outer boroughs are burdened by higher fares, less frequent services, hostile streets and fewer options to leave their cars at home. To help people out of their cars, and to clean up the air for every Londoner, we need to make transport work better for people in outer London.
“I have a clear plan to keep London moving, and that means making sure that every single Londoner can get around the city quickly, easily, safely and affordably. It is no good talking about bringing down air pollution and cutting congestion if we don’t give better options than the car. This means lower fares, better services and safe routes to walk or cycle.”