Robin Cottle, Reporter
Friday, March 30, 2012
Labour mayoral candidate Ken Livingstone is confident of success in Bexley following a campaigning drive in Bexleyheath Broadway this morning as he laid out his transport plans for the borough.
He aims to improve the bus service, increase safety on train platforms and improve rail links while keeping fares down.
The borough has traditionally been a Conservative stronghold, and in the last election current Mayor Boris Johnson polled almost three times as many votes in Bexley than his Labour opponent.
Mr Livingstone said: “Bexley has never had a lot of investment and the average income is not especially high.
“One of my original policies was to lengthen the cross rail from Ebbsfleet to Abbey Wood which would go right into the heart of Bexley but unfortunately this was rejected but if I get elected I will be campaigning for it once again.”
The Labour candidate turned up in his ‘Fare Deal’ bus with a host of supporters, including his running mate Val Shawcross, as he geared up for the May 3 election.
He came equipped with a loud speaker, leaflets, placards and oyster card wallets, the last of which reflected the key tone of the day.
As well as cutting transport costs for people in the suburbs (he claims there people in zones four to six will save from £1,000 and £1,650 over his four year term by slashing 7% off fares) passenger safety is another important message he wanted to get across.
He said: “Having a member of staff on every station is even more important in an area like Bexley, where the platforms can often be desserted and it’s easy to feel scared on the station.”
Mr Livingstone also said increasing the number of buses in service would be the best way to improve transport possibilities for the people of Bexley.
According to Mr Johnson, Mr Livingstone is making promises that he himself has admitted he cannot keep.
The Conservative Mayor introduced the oyster service to Bexley after winning the 2008 election and in his transport manifesto last week said he will lengthen trains at peak times on the Sidcup and Bexleyheath lines.
Mr Livingstone continued his tour of London boroughs with a trip to Woolwich after leaving Bexleyheath.