A candidate standing in Croydon for election to parliament next May has dismissed a Labour campaign to change the zoning of East Croydon and West Croydon stations to help reduce commuter fares as “an electioneering stunt”.
And Glen Hart is a trades union official for the RMT, Britain’s largest transport workers’ union.
Hart has been selected as the parliamentary candidate for the Trade Unionist and Socialist Coalition, TUSC, for Croydon North, where the MP, Steve Reed OBE, wallows in a 12,000 majority.
“But what a poor stunt,” Hart said after Reed and the Labour candidate in Croydon Central, Sarah Jones, launched their campaign yesterday.
Reed and Jones want Transport for London to re-assign two Croydon stations from Zone 5 to Zone 4. If carried through, such a re-zoning could save commuters more than £300 per year in fares.
“TUSC will support any reforms that will benefit the lives of working people, and would support this idea too, were it not for its feebleness and opportunism,” Hart said. “It will not be carried out. Jones and Reed, in best yah-boo political style, will then blame Boris Johnson.”
Instead, Hart is calling for something more radical: the re-nationalisation of Britain’s railways.
Hart believes that removing the £4 billion public subsidy handed over annually to the profitable private companies which run the railways could be used to reduce fares, and also to bridge the £2 billion funding cap for the NHS.
“The real solution to keeping fares down is to re-nationalise and re-unify the railways and run the industry as an efficient service for the public,” Hart said. “The private railways receive massive subsidies from the taxpayer. Last year they received £4 billion.”
Hart fears that if even if the re-zoning was implemented in Croydon by London Mayor Boris Johnson, TfL would simply “re-draw the zone boundaries elsewhere so as to recoup the cost. This would set Londoner against Londoner”.
Harts is also critical of the previous Labour government for saddling London Underground with Public Private Partnerships, burdening Londoners with ever-mounting costs to finance the deals. “PPP has added very many millions to the cost and complexity of managing the now fragmented Tube. The bundle of Tube contracts runs to 28,000 pages.
“Croydon commuters, like those all over London, are bearing the extra cost.”
Coming to Croydon
- CODA’s Wind In The Willows, Charles Cryer, Carshalton, Oct 29-Nov 1
- SNATH free film festival, Lord Napier, Oct 29
- David Lean Cinema: Belle, Oct 30
- SNATH free film festival, Norbury Park tennis club, Oct 30
- NHS free health fair, Central Parade, New Addington, Oct 31
- SNATH free film festival Halloween event, Stanley Halls, Oct 31
- World War I centenary concert, Ruskin House, Nov 2
- MOPAC policing meeting, Surrey Street, Nov 4
- Personal safety training for volunteers, Nov 4
- St Giles School opening morning, Nov 5
- Grange Park bulb-planting event, Nov 8
- Brook recording studio open day and party, Nov 9
- Albert Einstein – Relativity Speaking, Spread Eagle, Nov 12-15
- Oval Tavern Folk Club, Nov 14
- South Croydon business breakfast, Nov 15
- Personal safety training for volunteers, Nov 17
- Norwood Society Talk: Lambeth’s Archives, Nov 20
- Choose Your Own Documentary, Spread Eagle Theatre, Nov 21-22
- The Last Sense of Sudden, Spread Eagle Theatre, Nov 27-29
- Ghost Stories for Christmas, Spread Eagle Theatre, Dec 3
- Fog Horn Funnies, Spread Eagle Theatre, Dec 6
- Coulsdon Yulefest, Dec 6-7
- Oval Tavern Folk Club, Dec 7
- South Croydon business breakfast, Dec 13
- South Croydon business breakfast, Jan 24
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