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Opinion: Suffering consequences of ‘fares freeze’

PUBLISHED: 08:00 05 November 2017

Havering's London Assembly Member Keith Prince.

Havering's London Assembly Member Keith Prince.

Archant

Earlier this month I had the pleasure of being among the first to ride one of the new Elizabeth Line trains running from Stratford to Shenfield.

Good transport infrastructure is vital to the prosperity of any area and these are welcome upgrades for the many thousands of commuters, including myself, that use the service running through Havering.

It was with some dismay then that I saw Transport for London announce it is indefinitely “pausing” similar upgrades on the Northern and Jubilee lines.

Sadiq Khan’s “fares freeze” blew a £640million hole in TfL’s budget and we are now beginning to see the consequences.

I am pushing for a pedestrian crossing at traffic lights in Ardleigh Green and a signalled crossing in Cecil Avenue. Both sites currently pose serious dangers to students, elderly people and children trying to cross and I plan to meet with TfL to discuss plans in the coming months. Will I be told there’s simply no money left?

The uncertain forecast creates a gloomy outlook for our transport network in the coming years.

One cause for optimism though is the Mayor’s acceptance of my invitation to meet with myself and the Alzheimer’s Society to discuss improving journeys for people with less obvious disabilities.

My uncle suffered with the condition for many years and I hope to make some positive progress in reviewing TfL’s current provision for vulnerable commuters.

Whilst transport may be suffering, I’m pleased to report local business is not. I attended a showcase of local firms hosted by the Chamber of Commerce at the Queen’s Theatre and was impressed with the array of small businesses that are thriving in Havering. These firms are the life blood of our local economy and are so important to our communities.

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