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GLA Transport Committee- BUS Feedback

I’ve responded to the Greater London authority request for inputs about their bus deliberations. Based on receive resident feedback and my own experiences using bus services:
1. Countdown.
I often don’t feel safe getting my smart phone out to check when buses are due. I find countdown really helpful. With modern technology I find it remarkable that Countdown displays are so antiquated and not universal.
Do you have research about how they or if they increase or change bus usage?
If you don’t then you should seek such research being initiated by TfL.
I would imagine mass producing such displays and using 4G data services would result in £500/bus stop for a 5 year period total cost of ownership – my day job is estimating and procuring telecoms and devices.
2. Changing Drivers.
Why does this occur in the middle of bus routes and take so very long?
I despair when it happens and I’ve never seen it take less than 3-5 minutes and often longer. This can mean the end to end journey time has large variability beyond traffic congestion and makes buses less attractive.
Could buses have a light if this is going to occur – I would often choose not to get on a bus indicating a change of driver was going to occur.
3. Bus Announcements.
We hear so many I’m now finding I’m tuning out from hearing them.
Can the announcements have different voices at different times or randomly. Something so they ‘re harder to tune out please. They’re also rather dull. A bit of variety would be welcome and could be fun.
4. Noise and Pollution
Great the bus fleet is gradually improving. But this need to accelerate. Night buses especially are often way too noisy for very quiet residential routes.
What changes and improvements do you think TfL buses need to make?

Free Motorbike Ground Anchors

For some time we’ve had a worrying amount of motorbike and scooter thefts. Often they’re used to undertake further crimes.

To deter this Lib Dems in East Dulwich ward have organised funding for free motorbike ground anchors to be installed in front gardens and side returns.

If you would like a free motorbike ground anchor to really deter your precious motorbike or scooter being stolen contact me via cllrjamesbarber@gmail.com

I send you a consent form to get an initial site survey and assuming no snags you get a free ground anchor.

Over to you – if you don’t have a motorbike but a neighbour or friend does please tell them about this.

EU Right To Remain

On Monday the Labour party had one of its biggest meltdowns yet. Voting for, then against the amendment to protect the rights of EU citizens who already live in the UK to stay here.

Nobody knows where Labour stand on Brexit, they’re trying desperately to play both sides. Unfortunately for them people in this country are wise to it and people cannot respect a party that will not stand up for what it believes in.

The Lib Dem leader Tim Farron has pointed out that Labour had the chance to block Theresa May’s hard Brexit, but chose to sit on their hands. As Nick Clegg has pointed out there will be families fearful that they are going to be torn apart with EU citizens living here being kicked out of the UK. Many already tell me they feel no longer welcome in Britain.

In Dulwich we have 10,917 EU residents or 10% of all resident. They are a critical party of our neighbourhoods.

Shame on the government for using people as chips in a casino, and shame on Labour for letting them. EU countries will no respect a government being so very callous. It has already hardened their attitudes towards us. My day job is negotiating. This is no way to win respect or concessions from an opposite party.

Locally the NHS relies on hundreds of EU nationals, both doctors and nurses, to sure up an already underfunded service. This is a huge problem for every person in our country, and we shouldn’t let hard working EU nationals and their families be treated as second class citizens. For example at King’s College Hospital we have 282 EU doctors, 450 EU nurses and 414 other crucial staff.

As Liberal Democrats we believe in an open, tolerant and united future for our country. We want EU citizens to stay, they’re part of our country and our community. We will do all we can to fight for their rights and make them feel welcome. If you agree join us.

MPs voted down the amendment on EU nationals rights by 335 to 287, a majority of 48, with peers later accepting the decision by 274 to 135. The second amendment on whether to hold a meaningful final vote on any deal after the conclusion of Brexit talks was voted down by 331 to 286, a majority of 45, in the Commons.

Scrap the rubbish tax, LibDems demand

The Council’s £16 tax on residents who want to get rid of their bulky waste items must be scrapped, Liberal Democrat councillors have demanded.

Government figures which show that Southwark has the fourth worst level of flytipping in England, Liberal Democrats have called for the Council to make reporting flytips easier and for more regular clean-ups of streets and estates.

Southwark Labour councillors introduced a £16 tax for all residents who wanted to have their bulky waste items collected from their home. Using the Council’s own figures, flytipping on Southwark’s streets then increased by 10%.

Liberal Democrat councillors have also highlighted how:

  • the bulky waste collection service can now only be ordered online and only by those residents with a debit or credit card. This excludes a large number of Southwark residents without access to the internet or a bank account
  • the Council has removed recycling points from public areas such as supermarket car parks because of the level of flytipping – you could not make this up!

Southwark Liberal Democrats have repeatedly called on the Labour administration to scrap the bulky waste collection tax, make it easier to order bulky waste collections and count all flytipping incidents. Labour councillors have avoided debating this repeatedly.

Southwark now has the fourth worst level of flytipping in the whole of England and Labour’s new bulky waste tax is just making things worse. Everyone can see that Southwark’s streets and estates are getting dirtier. Despite our warnings though, ruling Labour councillors don’t seem to make the connection between their £16 tax and increased flytipping.

 

2016 Christmas Information – we hope you find it useful

Christmas Information – we hope you find it usefulSouthwark Parks

All locked parks will be opened every day at 7.30am and closed at 4.30pm.

Buses
No bus services Christmas day. Other days Sunday services.

Trains
Services will be stop at around 8pm on Christmas eve – don’t get caught out.
Southern and Thameslink no services Christmas day or Boxing day via London Bridge. Limited services all other days and some planned strikes action.
London Overground no services Christmas and Boxing day. Reduced services other days.

Dulwich Leisure Centre
Christmas eve and New Years eve 7am-2pm; Christmas, Boxing and New Years days closed. Normal opening hours but closing at 7pm other holiday days.

Library Opening Hours
All Southwark libraries close Xmas eve at 1pm. For precise details please see:
Dulwich Library
Grove Vale Library
And if you have kids do get them involved with the Winter Reading Challenge

Rubbish and Recycling
Over the holidays recycling and rubbish collections will be one day later and return to normal Monday 2 January.

Normal collection day Christmas periods collection day
Mon 26 Dec Tue 27 Dec
Tue 27 Dec Wed 28 Dec
Wed 28 Dec Thu 29 Dec
Thu 29 Dec Fri 30 Dec
Fri 30 Dec Sat 31 Dec

If you have food/garden waste collections then you can just leave any real Christmas tree out on the next collection day.

Otherwise you can take real and plastic Christmas trees to the council waste collection centre on Devon Street, SE1 (just off the Old Kent Road).

We hope you have a great break over Christmas and New Year.

Fighting for EU Residents’ Rights

Southwark’s political parties have come together to demand that the Government guarantees the rights of EU residents living in Southwark via a motion I tabled at the recent full council assembly. This is aimed to help reassure residents by calling on the Councils Cabinet to lobby the Government and the borough’s MPs to secure the right to remain for EU citizens living in the borough.

Southwark Council in its role as a community leader, should join in fighting the corner of all our residents, so I’m pleased the Liberal Democrat motion received unanimous support from all councillors and parties. Thank you.

This contrasts with the complete lack of action at a national level. Conservative Party ministers are instead using the right to remain as a crude bargaining chip in its Brexit negotiations with the EU. This is playing with millions of people’s lives and is unacceptable. As a professional negotiator the UK would also gain significantly more leverage by offering these rights straight off. It would show compassion and realism. It would be hard for thE EU to not respond in kind.

Since the referendum vote to leave the European Union on 23 June, the lack of any Government response on the future rights of EU citizens already living in the country has created huge uncertainty. There are 22,000 registered EU voters in Southwark and the EU referendum result has made many people nervous about their future here. 

There has been a rise in the number of hate crimes and incidents of racial abuse being reported against EU citizens with a 52% increase reported in London by the Police.

Liberal Democrat councillors also seconded a motion on hate crime that called on the Council to work with the police and local organisations to tackle all reported incidents of racism and xenophobia in Southwark, as well as support victims of hate crimes.

Nationally, the Liberal Democrats are calling for existing EU citizens to be given the right-to-remain with London MP Tom Brake introducing a Bill in Parliament earlier this month urging the Government to commit to this policy. The Party has also launched an online petition on EU citizen rights: http://change.libdems.org.uk/right-to-stay

St.Ives Inspiration

The residents of St.Ives have voted via a new Neighbourhood Plan require that all new build homes must be occupied as principal residents – not holiday or second homes.

In Southwark many new homes are sold to foreign residents and sit idle. It means even the low new home build numbers are diluted further by so many homes being lost in this way.

Lib Dems have asked the labour Southwark administration whether they would support such a stance by neighbourhoods. They reacted by claiming no evidence of this problem in Southwark exists. That such homes generate receipts to be used for social housing. But they have said that for example if the Bankside Neighbourhood plan can justify such a scheme with damaging scheme viability ned meeting affordable housing they could support such a proposal.

Watch this space…

Where is the Cycle Parking

For several years now residents have been asking for cycle parking, in the form of BikeHangars, to be installed close to their homes. Without secure bicycle parking people can’t easily own bicycles let alone use them.

So far Southwark Council have organised 99 such BikeHangars each hosting 6 bicycles. But they have another 100 residents from across the borough requesting such bicycle parking. My experience in East Dulwich is that from expressing an interest to a BikeHangar happening or being told it wont happen takes 2-3 years. It is ridiculous that it takes so very long. Sadly the cabinet member responsible is under the impression it takes’ only’ one year.

Most people live in homes where cycle parking isn’t available. We want to reach Danish and Dutch levels of cycling of at least 25%. The benefits to residents and the community of this level of cycling would be profoundly positive- environment, air pollution, fitness, etc. We have 300,000 people living  in Southwark of which around 42,000 are below the age of 10 and probably wont need full sized cycle parking. So we need cycle parking for around 25% of 258,000 = 64,500 bicycles or 11,000 BikeHangars.

This level bicycle parking need is so huge it needs to be treated as a strategic programme.

Do you want a BikeHangar close to your house?

 

Compulsory Marriage

Getting legally married when people have religious marriage isn’t compulsory. Big deal I hear you ask. But if you then become religiously unmarried you have no legal rights to alimony, splitting ownership of a home, who looks after the children, access rights to children.

An obvious example is where a marriage is annulled by a Sharia Court. I get why people might hold a court based on their religious text to decide cases only involving people of that religion where they agree to this – and communities can put a lot of pressure for people to religiously conform. But what I don’t get is where the outcome of such a case results in a burden on the state. Not splitting and deciding on how the split happens as per the laws of the UK can mean tax payers subsidise that outcome. So a call for all religious marriages having to be civilly reiterated in UK law seems a good way of resolving this issue.

What do you think?