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EDITIONS
Tuesday, 12 November, 2002, 05:22 GMT
Dire transport 'hits at City viability'
Tube passengers
There are almost daily Tube delays, the mayor said
Traffic congestion and delays in London are so bad they are putting the future of the City in peril, the Lord Mayor of London has warned.

Alderman Gavyn Arthur said the "dire" state of the capital's transport system was threatening London's status as an international financial centre.

Public transport delays and traffic congestion were putting off international businesses and inconveniencing millions of workers, he said.

Mr Arthur was speaking at the annual Lord Mayor's Banquet with the capital's elected mayor, Ken Livingstone, sitting just yards away.


We are fast approaching the time when the financial pre-eminence of the City may become seriously imperilled

Alderman Gavyn Arthur
Mr Arthur said there was a widespread view that traffic lights were being deliberately set to red to bring the city to a "virtual gridlock".

Some have previously complained the lights have been re-timed to cause more congestion, and will then be altered again when the congestion charge begins in February, to create the impression of a successful policy.

To loud applause from many of the 750 guests in London's Guildhall, Mr Arthur said "transport... is dire, and so bad that we are fast approaching the time when the financial pre-eminence of the City may become seriously imperilled.

"Much of the infrastructure of public transport is crumbling. I take the Tube every day of my working life. Virtually every day, I am delayed.

"Journey times are up to twice what they were two or three years ago."

The Lord Mayor continued: "Millions of London's workers are inconvenienced. What a waste of time, what a waste of productive time, what a way to treat people.

"Over the last year, central London's traffic has deteriorated to virtual gridlock. Not because of more vehicles, but because of massive road works and the alteration of traffic light frequencies.


What a waste of time, what a waste of productive time, what a way to treat people

Gavyn Arthur
"The perception is that traffic is being deliberately brought to a halt.

"As I have said, this is now threatening the financial viability of the City of London," he said.

  • International tourism leaders ran into travel chaos in London earlier on Monday as they struggled to get to Docklands for the prestigious World Travel Market.

    With trains on Docklands Light Railway breaking down, some exhibitors took up to two-and-a-half hours to complete what should have been 40-minute trips to Docklands from central London.

    In the afternoon Custom House - the Docklands Light Railway station serving the Excel exhibition centre - had to be shut through overcrowding.


  • Click here to go to BBC London Online
    See also:

    07 Nov 02 | Business
    30 Oct 02 | England
    11 Oct 02 | UK
    04 Sep 02 | England
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