Fare dodging

A day of interviewing applicants who have been shortlisted to become members of the London Transport Users Committee (LTUC) – who are accountable to the GLA. The quality of candidates is very high this time – and I am hopeful that when we make our decisions we will achieve a very capable body to represent London’s Transport Users.

Later in the day Peter Hendy (Director of Surface Transport at Transport for London) came with entourage to see me in my office to brief me fully on what TfL are doing about fare dodgers.

They had been a bit put out by my recent exposure of just how many folk are nipping on our buses free of charge and seemingly, with just 1 in 700 being caught, pretty much total impunity.

Post briefing, I have some confidence that TfL are making strenuous efforts to deter the dishonest from taking free rides and that they do actually pursue to prosecution those who evade fares – particularly when persistent offenders.

I am reassured that the health and safety issues raised with me by a serving revenue protection inspector are being properly dealt with – and actually – when I think about it, there is no-one more keenly aware of the dangers faced by bus drivers and inspectors than Peter Hendy – who was practically born and raised on a bus!

I still think they have a job on their hands with the bendy buses and I will continue to monitor their efforts, because I get very cross when Ken breaks his pledges and puts up fares above inflation and hits the honest citizen when apparently doing relatively little about the dishonest fare dodger.

TfL say they are willing to look at the Lib Dem suggestion that the penalty be raised to GBP20 and then doubled and doubled if not paid. So we will see what the dodging rate is in a year’s time … Meanwhile I will move my current attention to fare dodging to the tubes!

Then up to London’s Living room for drinks with the Chair of the Assembly (Brian – I like regalia – Coleman) and Assembly Members and guests. It is such a beautiful venue – situated on top of City Hall with an almost 360 degrees view of London. Tower Bridge, which stands next to our building, the Tower of London, the Glass Gherkin and the lights of London are just a fabulous setting for any function.