Greens Say 'Forced' Car Ownership Needs To Be Tackled

Call for restoration of funding to public transport in the capital

Quarter of people in outer London say they have other option but to drive
Quarter of people in outer London say they have other option but to drive. Picture: Marathon


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Almost a quarter of people in outer London say they feel “forced” to own a car due to a lack of transport options, according to a new YouGov survey.

The research, which was commissioned by former London mayoral candidate and Green Party Assembly Member Sian Berry, found that 24 per cent of people surveyed in outer London felt forced to own a car for essential travel.

In comparison, just 14 per cent of those surveyed in central London reported feeling forced to own a car, while half said they were already able to live car-free.

It comes amid warnings of cuts to London’s buses and the Tube over the next few years due to TfL’s financial situation, while suburban rail services are already seeing reduced timetables.

Sian Berry has said that forced car ownership “needs to be eliminated” but that cuts to public transport will only make the problem “even worse”.

She said: “Cuts to public transport services will make this awful situation of Londoners feeling forced to own a car even worse. The Government and the mayor must step up and restore funding to national rail and bus services across the whole city.

“Smarter, fairer road charging is now finally on the horizon, and it must be accompanied by dramatic improvements in alternatives, particularly for outer Londoners.

“Forced car ownership needs to be eliminated and the money raised from an effective smart, fair road-charging scheme must be used to help Londoners with high quality new services.”

Mayor of London Sadiq Khan recently revealed proposals to introduce a daily £2 “clean air charge” for drivers in London and/or to expand the Ultra-Low Emission Zone to cover the whole of Greater London as he looks to plug the £1.5 billion black hole in TfL’s finances.

TfL has warned of an 18 per cent reduction in bus services across the capital should a long-term funding solution not be found, with up to 100 routes set to be axed.

Tube services could also become more unreliable, with planned upgrades called off that could lead to “ageing assets that will fail more regularly”.

But Sadiq Khan is targeting greater use of public transport as he seeks a “significant shift” away from petrol and diesel car use. It is part of a plan to achieve net zero carbon emissions in London by 2030.

Recent research commissioned by City Hall found that car journeys in London would need to be reduced by 27 per cent in order to meet the net zero target.

Joe Talora - Local Democracy Reporter

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February 3, 2022