Inadequate investment in new transport infrastructure will jeopardise London’s future as a major international business hub, according to a business lobby group based in the UK capital.
London First executive director for transport Tim Hockney said that London’s economic growth will shrink if there is not more investment into the transport network.
Speaking at the Keep London Moving conference in London on 12 February, Hockney said that the situation is now becoming critical.
“Employers are now citing poor transport as one of the major threats to doing business in the capital,” he said. “Companies face losing an entire day’s business if an important artery such as the underground’s Jubilee line goes down.”
“While we do applaud the recent developments such as the London Crossrail scheme, we also urge the government to pursue more innovation and integration of transport. It is important to realise that London is not an island and we need to maintain good transport links with the rest of the world.”
The London Business Survey 2008, compiled by CBI/KPMG, indicated that six out of ten business leaders fear that the city’s competitiveness is under threat. Apart from tax and finance the biggest reason given for this fear was the ineffective tube and road network.
Nine out of ten respondents said the poor state of public transport was impacting their business, with the underground tube network overwhelmingly cited as the top priority for investment.
Transport for London managing director Michele Dix said that London’s transport system was playing “catch-up” against a background of intense growth.
“London is growing exponentially,” Dix said. “By 2017 we can expect a population of 3.4 million. Keeping a population of this size moving is very challenging and the mayor has announced a transport strategy that will see an investment of £39bn.”
“We realise, however, that more is needed and that we will have to develop a long-term vision that goes above and beyond our current business plan.”
By Daniel Garrun.