Conservative mayoral candidate Shaun Bailey has today matched a pledge by Sadiq Khan to rollout 4G across the entire London’s Tube network, which would give commuters access to internet data on their phones for complete journeys.
Green party candidate Sian Berry also backed the proposal, saying she had long pushed for 4G on the whole Tube network while on the London Assembly.
Khan last night said he would extend 4G access onto all London Underground lines, after a trial on the Jubilee Line began last year, and speed up the 5G rollout across the capital if re-elected.
Bailey told City A.M. that he would also install full internet access across the Tube if elected and would fund it through his already announced London Infrastructure Bank.
The Tory candidate pointed out that Khan pledged in August 2017 to have 4G on the Tube by 2019 and that this only happened last year on one portion of the Jubilee Line.
“Because he made a mess of TfL’s finances, Sadiq Khan hasn’t been able to invest in TfL’s future,” Bailey said.
“So as mayor, I’ll set up a London Infrastructure Bank to fund long-term projects and investment — including 4G on the tube network.
“And I’ll introduce corporate sponsorship to the tube, just like Santander sponsor our bike-hire scheme.”
Berry, who has sat on the London Assembly as a Green Party member since 2016, said 4G on the Tube would be a way to reduce London’s carbon emissions.
“If we want more people getting out of cars and onto public transport, we need to give people more reasons to do it,” she said.
Pledges to rollout 4G across the Underground were met with praise by two London lobby groups, with London First saying that improved digital connectivity would “help commuters’ productivity as people begin returning to offices”.
London Chamber of Commerce and Industry chief executive Richard Burge added: “Good 4G connectivity, and the ability to be online or read emails on the Underground network, would undoubtedly bring benefit to both commuters and visitors in London.
“This connectivity will be key to London’s attractiveness, and will be a boost to getting Londoners moving around again as we reopen our economy.”
The mayor of London election is set to take place on 6 May, with Khan the overwhelming favourite with bookmakers and pollsters to win re-election.
An Opinium/Evening Standard poll out last week showed Khan with a 25-point lead over Bailey and on track to win in the largest ever landslide for a London mayor election.