Meeting the Mayor

March 15, 2008 at 11:23 am / by

I met Ken Livingstone at Chadswell Healthy Living Centre in King’s Cross on Friday whilst he was recording his BBC Political Broadcast. You can see my photos here.

Tulip and Ken Livingstone

I had the chance to question him about his plans for improvements to transportion in London. Since I use public transport every day, it’s a very important issue for me and I was pleased to hear that it is top priority for Ken. Coincidentally, he uses the same route as I do to get to work so I asked him specific questions about delays, overcrowding and topping up my Oyster card.

Ken said that he was going to introduce measures, which will allow me to use my mobile phone to put money on my Oyster, which will definitely ease the stress of queuing up before work to do it. I know I should really try and top up the night before but somehow I always find myself doing it during rush hour on a Monday morning!

I also asked him about the buses on Finchley Road which are really good for getting to Oxford Street and Victoria, but I am always worried about using them because I never know when they are going to arrive. He said that there was already 2,000 ‘Countdown’ display systems installed at bus stops across London and that Finchley Road will certainly benefit from this second-by-second bus information technology very soon. I’m glad that the display will also include information about planned road works, as this tends to be a key factor when timing my journey.

I quizzed him further about his ideas for making London’s transport system more environmentally friendly and he spoke about his commitment to ‘greening the buses’ which entails a new fleet of cleaner hybrid-powered buses. I then told him about my recent trip to Helsinki where my Finnish sister-in-law told me about their popular ‘Citybikes’ . I told him that a similar system would encourage more people to cycle and allow tourists to explore London on bikes.

Mr Livingstone replied that although there are a few cycle hire schemes in London already, he recognised the need to improve cycling in London so he is definitely going to bring in easier methods to hire bikes, introduce super cycleways and design safe cycling zones. If this is implemented, I may consider cycling occasionally, as it will also increase my dwindling exercise intake!