BORIS Johnson has promised to secure specific improvements to London’s suburban rail services if he is re-elected, in the form of longer trains and enlarged stations.
The Budget includes a pledge to consider further investment in the capital’s rail network, prompting Johnson (pictured) to assert that he is the best-placed candidate to win funds from the Treasury.
Although the government will only reveal a detailed breakdown of the funding in June – after the mayoral election – it is understood that improvements under consideration include upgrading Wimbledon station, lengthening peak-time trains from the Kent Coast and increasing capacity on the Essex Thameside services by fifty per cent.
The policy is a direct challenge to Ken Livingstone’s popular pledge to cut fares on public transport by seven per cent, a move which the Labour candidate says will save average Londoners £1,000 over four years. Johnson has ruled out reducing fares, saying the money is needed for investment in infrastructure.
Meanwhile Bob Crow, the vocal leader of the RMT Union, has announced that his organisation will campaign for a new socialist electoral challenge in May’s election.
The new party list threatens to draw votes away from Labour.