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Does London have a north-south transport divide?

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Tom Edwards Tom Edwards | 16:05 UK time, Tuesday, 8 June 2010

London skyline over the Thames

Has a black cabbie ever pulled over when you've flagged them down and said to you, "Sorry, guv, I don't go south of the river?"

Or is that an out of date cliche? Surely, in the current economic climate a cabbie would take you anywhere?

Similarly, the feeling among many south Londoners is that they are neglected when it comes to transport links and investment. But is that actually the case?

Historically, due to geology, the Tube has had more stations in the north and the rail network dominates in the south. Therefore investment from London Underground is skewed towards the north with the Tube upgrade.

TfL says it doesn't break down its £9.24bn budget on a north/nouth London or borough basis.

It does though point out that population wise in London 4.7 million live north of the Thames compared to 2.9million in the south.

It also says that in terms of TfL investment projects, south London is benefitting/will benefit from:

  • Continued funding of London's expanded bus network
  • Extension of Oyster to all commuter National Rail services
  • Victoria line upgrade
  • Northern line upgrade and second upgrade of Northern line
  • East London Line Extension
  • Upgrade of the London Overground network
  • Cycle Superhighways
  • Cycle Hire

It has to be pointed out that a lot of these investments apply to both north and south, and the real whopper at £16bn is Crossrail which will not go south of the river apart from at Woolwich and Abbey Wood. Although it may increase capacity overall on the Tube. Of the £16billion, £7.3 billion (at the moment) is coming from Transport for London.

Network Rail say its investing £2.25 billion in London stations until 2014. In South London it's also investing in the £5.5bn Thameslink project.

That will mean new and improved stations; new, longer and more frequent trains on the north-south Thameslink route.

It will also increase Southern and South West Trains from eight to ten carriages. And bring 12 car suburban trains to Southeastern services.

So does south London get a raw deal? Or is it proportional with the population? Let me know...

(By the way all figures are subject to cut/review by HM's Treasury....)


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