New London Mayor Talks Up Buses and Bikes

Here’s an interview from last year with London Mayor Boris Johnson, who ousted Ken Livingstone last week. It’s pretty remarkable in that Johnson spends the first eight minutes talking about buses and bikes.

  • 1:54: Johnson says the first thing he would do as mayor is commission a study for a new bus design. The current articulated buses ("bendies") are dangerous and inaccessible to disabled riders, he says.
  • 4:27: "By the way, speaking as a cyclist, I want to be absolutely vehement in my defense of cyclists and in campaigning for people to cycle in this town. I think that bendies are lethal … They push you out into the traffic …"
  • 5:00: Johnson, who says he has cycled to work every day for eight years, encourages the interviewer to get on a bike.
  • 5:40: Johnson to interviewer: "It’s very very sad that people like you are so anxious about cycling, and I would like people to feel more encouraged to do it. That’s a psychological barrier that we’ve got to overcome." Johnson then expounds on police failure to deter bike theft.
  • 18:10: Johnson says he will abolish the congestion charge "As such time as I have a better replacement." Though he says he wants to be "the greenest mayor this country [has] had," Johnson says pricing in London has failed to reduce traffic and pollution. Despite these statements, Johnson has more recently pledged to reduce the congestion zone to its original size, but has no known plans to repeal the charge.

UPDATE: From Sunday’s Daily Mail:

Without giving full details of his intentions, Mr Johnson said he would "reform and improve" the congestion charge on drivers entering central London, including by making it possible for motorists to pay their charge on account at the end of the month.

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