Vir Cantium

I'm right, you know …

Transport Fat Cats

James Cleverly, future GLA member for Bromley & Bexley, has noted an interesting fact about Transport for London:

… did you know that there are 232 people working for TFL who earn over £100,000 per year? I didn’t until Boris [Johnson] pointed it out. This compares with only 43 who earn over £100,000 in the Home office and seven in the Treasury.

Just think how many more bus stops could be blessed with pretty coloured tarmac for that money?

I have held the view for some time (actually since TfL was formed) that we have two main choices* when it comes to arranging road and transport spending and planning.

1. Centralise everything at City Hall, maximising economies of scale (or trying to). As a Conservative I am against most centralisation, be it in transport, planning or most other policy areas. In any case, given TfL’s performance in consultation exercises, from the Blackwall Tunnel to any number of schemes that any random handful of local councillors could point you towards, TfL will pardon me if I don’t have an enormous amount of faith in the performance of the current monolith, let alone if they were handed control over every inch of tarmac in Greater London.

2. Devolve (almost) everything back to the boroughs. It is just daft for TfL to be acting as anything other than a planning body for genuinely strategic issues when the professional expertise and capacity already exists at borough level. Leave boroughs to co-operate as and when, and only to the extent required, either through bi-lateral ad-hoc arrangements or via alliances of a more practical size and remit such as SELTrans (which even then, is not universally loved).

So that’s transport sorted. Is it too late to put in my application for the London Mayoral nomination?

* For the purposes of this discussion, we’ll just looking at the short and medium term, rather than some of the more interesting libertarian ideas (pdfs 335Kb & 80 Kb respectively).


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