Cycle hires hit a record monthly high

Santander bike Chris Warham shutterstock_307029647-2

Photo: Chris Warham | Shutterstock

July 2016 was the most successful month for Santander Cycle hire since the bike-sharing scheme was first introduced in 2010.

A record 1.18 million bikes were hired across London last month, an average of 38,000 hires a for each day of the month.  The data from Transport for London shows that on three days, 19th, 30th and 31st of July there were more than 46,000 hires. The average hire time was 23 minutes.

The monthly total beats the previous record for July 2014 by 5,200.  Summer months always prove the most popular times and monthly hires were also over one million in May and just under in June.  The number of hires in January and February this year was around half the July total.

The city bike scheme was introduced on 30th July 2010. In the first two days 12,000 bikes were hired and in the first month 340,000 as the scheme was rolled out across the boroughs and the docking stations became a familiar sight on the streets.

The data shows that the most popular day in the scheme’s six-year existence was 9th July last year when 73,000 bikes were hired.  On the 6th August that year the second highest total was recorded of 64,000.

Mainline stations are the popular hire points, as previously reported by Urbs, as commuters arriving from outside London and make their way to work in the morning and afternoon rush hours.

But the hire data at major landmarks and parks also suggests that tourists may be the biggest users of the bikes, with routes across Hyde Park among the most popular. The data shows that weekends see the largest usage and the most popular weekday for hire is a Thursday.

The bike sharing scheme was introduced by Boris Johnson when he was Mayor and the bicycles  became known as Boris bikes despite a sponsorship deal with Barclays.  Santander took over sponsorship of the scheme last year, but the bikes have not gone on to be re-named Sadiq cycles.

Source data

See also

Tourists biggest users of Boris Bikes

Americans back on top as London’s biggest visitors

How London compares for the cost of public transport

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

EU Referendum: The country has spoken but the capital disagrees

Big Ben cloudsLondon bucked the national trend and voted 60/40 in favour of remaining in the EU. 27 of the 33 boroughs voted to remain, and in some central areas the vote to stay in the EU was much higher – 79% in Lambeth, 78% in Hackney and 76% in Haringey.

London is part of a small club that includes Scotland and Northern Ireland as the nations and regions of the country that voted to stay in. But with a UK-wide vote 52% in favour of leaving it will have no impact.

Central London boroughs are the most determinedly pro-EU areas in the country.  The vote to Remain was  75% or over in seven boroughs – Haringey, Islington, Camden, Hackney, City of London, Lambeth and Wandsworth. This level of support is only matched by the 74% in Edinburgh and East Renfrewshire in Scotland, 74% in West Belfast and 78% in Foyle in Northern Ireland. But the Remain win in a few areas was much narrower – just 51% in Bromley and Hounslow.

Remain share-2

Five boroughs voted Leave – Barking and Dagenham, Bexley, Havering, Sutton and Hillingdon.  The winning margin in these areas was not as emphatic as the mostly staunchly Remain boroughs but Leave won 70% of the vote in Havering, 63% in Bexley and 62% in Barking and Dagenham.

Leave share-2

The vote shows how the EU argument went across the traditional political divide. Bexley is traditional Conservative territory while Sutton has a Conservative member of parliament  and one of the few Liberal Democrat MPs.  Barking and Dagenham is Labour territory with influential party figures Margaret Hodge and Jon Cruddas as its MPs.

Hillingdon includes the constituency of the former Mayor and Leave camp leader, Boris Johnson.  But it also includes the area that since 1997 has chosen as its MP the Shadow Chancellor John McDonnel, a key ally of Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn.

Turnout in London was 69.7%, a little below the national level of 72.2%, with 3.77 million people voting. 2.26 million voted Remain, 1.51 million voted Leave. 1.64 million Londoners failed to vote.

Turnout EU-2

The highest turnout was 82% in Richmond, the lowest, 59% in Newham.  Turnout was above 70% in 15 boroughs and above 75% in 6, including three that voted Leave – Bexley, Havering and Sutton and three that voted Remain – Bromley, Kingston and Richmond.

EU Referendum: London results
REMAIN LEAVE
Barking and Dagenham 27,270 (38%) 46,130 (62%)
Barnet 100,210 (62%) 60,823 (38%)
Bexley 47,603 (37%) 80,886 (63%)
Brent 72,523 (62%) 48,881 (48%)
Bromley 92,398 (51%) 90,034 (49%)
Camden 71,295 (75%) 23,838 (25%)
City of London 3,312 (75%) 1.087 (25%)
Croydon 92,913 (54%) 78,221 (46%)
Ealing 90,024 (60%) 59,017 (40%)
Enfield 76,425 (56%) 60,481 (44%)
Greenwich 65,248 (56%) 52,117 (44%)
Hackney 83,398 (78%) 22,868 (22%)
Hammersmith and Fulham 56,188 (70%) 24,054 (30%)
Haringey 79,991 (76%) 25,855 (24%)
Harrow 64,042 (55%) 53,183 (45%)
Havering 42,201 (30%) 96,885 (70%)
Hillingdon 58,040 (44%) 74,982 (56%)
Hounslow 58,755 51% 56,321 (49%)
Islington 76,420 (75%) 25,180 (25%)
Kensington and Chelsea 37,601 (69%) 17,138 (31%)
Kingston 52,533 (62%) 32,737 (38%)
Lambeth 111,584 (79%) 30,340 (21%)
Lewisham 86,955 (70%) 37,518 (30%)
Merton 63,003 (63% 37097 (37%)
Newham 55,328 (53%) 49,371 (47%)
Redbridge 69,213 (54%) 59.020 (46%)
Richmond 75,396 (70%) 33,410 (30%)
Southwark 94,293 (73%) 35,209 (27%)
Sutton 49,319 (46%) 57,241 (54%)
Tower Hamlets 73,011 (68%) 35,224 (32%)
Waltham Forest 64,156 (59%) 44,395 (41%)
Wandsworth 118,463 (75%) 39,421 (25%)
Westminster 53,928 (69%) 24,268 (31%)

Source data

See also

A tenth of Londoners won’t get a vote but may feel the impact of the EU referendum

Left turn – the election shows further shift in the way the capital votes

Buses are slowing down, and not just in central London

busesTwo of London’s slowest bus routes are not through the city centre but 17 miles to the east, in Hornchurch in the borough of Havering.

Central London congestion is blamed for the slow down in buses, now running at an average speed or 9.3 mph.  But the 650 and 656 buses, both leaving from Emerson Park School are running at just 6 miles per hour and are among the 10 slowest routes run by Transport for London in the last financial year.

656 bus route

656 bus route: Google maps via TfL

650 bus route

650 bus route: Google maps via TfL

Data from TfL for average bus speeds for April 2015 to March 2016 shows that the slowest route is the 15H from Charing Cross to the Tower of London. But the H in the title gives a clue as to why.  This is a heritage route with original Routemaster buses running along part of the course of the proper 15, along The Strand, Fleet Street, Ludgate Hill and on to the Tower.  The tourists on board may appreciate its slow pace as they edge past St Paul’s.

TfL runs 675 routes and tracks the speed of buses each way along them, plus night buses.   Of the 1762 bus routes speeds recorded for the last financial year, 563 were below the 9.3 mph average.  Most of the slowest journeys cross central London.

London’s 10 slowest buses
Number Route Speed (mph)
15H Charing Cross to Tower 4.9
15H Tower to Charing Cross 5.1
14 Putney Heath to Warren St Station 5.6
11 Liverpool St Station to Fulham Broadway 5.6
650 Emerson Park School to Cedar Hill, Hornchurch 5.9
11 Fulham Broadway to Liverpool St Station 5.9
26 St Mary of Eton, Hackney to Waterloo Station 6.0
69A Canning Town to Walthamstow Bus Station 6.0
38 Clapton Pond to Victoria Bus Station 6.1
656 Emerson Park School to Gallows Corner, Hornchurch 6.1

Speeds are calculated across the full range of the route and many buses will have a much more varied pace as they cross parts of the city.  Looking at speeds across the boroughs shows that the centre is uniformly slow but things get better the further out you get.

Havering is one of the few areas where average speeds get above 12 mph despite having 2 of the slowest buses.

Average bus speeds

In a recent report the former chairman of the government’s panel on integrated transport, Professor David Begg, said that bus speeds are declining faster in London than any other urban area in the country. He says that the decision by the previous mayor, Boris Johnson, to reduce road capacity by 25% with the introduction of cycle superhighways without any measures to curtail traffic is partly to blame.

The new mayor, Sadiq Khan, has made buses a priority in his first weeks in office.  As he mentioned throughout his campaign, his father used to drive the 44.  His first act as mayor was to introduce the Hopper fare and he has announced a general freeze in prices. Londoners welcome cheaper travel. Making it faster may be a much bigger challenge.

Source data

See also

Mayoral Election Issues: Public Transport

Don’t just blame drivers for harmful NO2 pollution

All aboard! Big growth in public transport use in past 5 years

 

 

 

 

 

How the South West was won – Khan shifted his own backyard to Labour

Khan Goldsmith 2-2.jpegIn his campaign to become Mayor Sadiq Khan seldom missed an opportunity to drop into his speeches that he was a bus driver’s son from Tooting.

The detailed breakdown of votes from the election shows how that ‘local boy’ status helped him secure the job by taking traditional Tory territory in South West London.

Merton and Wandsworth are boroughs that could previously be relied upon to vote for a Conservative Mayor.  They helped form the doughnut of outer London Conservative blue around the Labour red of central London on the political map.  But in last month’s poll, the jam squirted out of the political doughnut in this corner of London.

The borough of Wandsworth proved an intriguing backyard battleground for the local boy from Tooting.  His Conservative opponent, Zac Goldsmith, managed to win 11 of the 20 wards and was ahead in postal votes from the borough.  But Sadiq Khan took 9 wards compared to the 5 won by Labour’s Ken Livingstone in 2012. In his home neighbourhood of Tooting he increased the Labour share of the vote from 53% to 66%.  He did the same in the Graveney ward, and in Furzedown took the share up to 69%.

Although taking fewer wards, Khan won the battle for votes taking 42% of first preferences to Goldsmith’s 40% in the borough.  But Wandsworth demonstrates not just how Khan increased the Labour vote but how Goldsmith lost the broader contest.

The Conservative candidate lacked the popular appeal of Boris Johnson, who in 2012 managed to win 53% of first preference votes in the borough.

In the neighbouring borough of Merton there was a direct turnaround in political fortunes.    In 2012, Johnson won the borough and secured 44% of first preference votes with Ken Livingstone scoring 37%.   Last month, Zac Goldsmith’s share sank to the Livingstone level, 36%, against 42% of first preferences for Khan.

The battle for Mayor was largely won through the large Labour vote in central area, as previously reported by Urbs. But the switch in the South West shows how the local boy factor may have helped some Conservative inclined voters to lean left.

Source data

See also

Left turn – the election shows further shift in the way the capital votes

How London’s population boom helped Sadiq Khan to victory

The election in numbers

Broader positive data behind the pollution near primary schools row

aerial river dawn

The revelation that a quarter of London’s primary schools are in areas that had dangerous levels of nitrogen dioxide in 2010 is a deeply worrying statistic and led to accusations from the newly elected mayor, Sadiq Khan, that his predecessor, Boris Johnson, had buried a 2013 report.

It was commissioned by the Greater London Authority and its findings make alarming reading, especially for those living and working in inner London. More than 2.2 million people were exposed to level of NO₂ above the EU safe limit in 2010 and this included 137,000 children in 433 primary schools.

But the report also contained some surprisingly positive projections on the speed at which the exposure levels will fall by 2020. The projections were based on emissions data from the GLA and pollution mapping data from the Environmental Research Group at King’s College.  The report concluded that by the end of 2015 the population exposed to harmful levels of NO₂ will have fallen to just over a million and will drop significantly further by 2020 with air quality objectives achieved in outer London, at least.

Pollution population no2-2

NO₂ is particularly harmful to children and the report identified 433 schools, mostly in central London, where levels were unsafe in 2010 – the red dots on the map below.

Screen Shot 2016-05-17 at 19.56.37-2

From Analysing Air Pollution Exposure in London

The situation is considerably better now, if the projections made by the researchers are correct. In 2010, 137,000 children aged 4-11 were affected but that should now be below 50,000. By 2020 the situation will improve further.

NO2 near primaries-2

The researchers also looked at pollution compared to deprivation levels, giving the report added political potency. They found that most of the schools with the highest levels of NO₂ were in districts with the highest levels of deprivation.

This is not due to any causal link between deprivation and pollution but due to the location of the schools near to very busy main roads. These areas may be home to more deprived families because property and rental costs are lower close to busy highways.

Many of the worst affected schools are in areas where poor people are resident but they’re also very close to where bankers and brokers work or where theatre-goers flock each evening – this is a central London problem. High nitrogen dioxide levels are bad for everyone, and as previously reported by Urbs, responsible for thousands of deaths.

There’s a lot of politics in this row over whether the bad news in the report was suppressed.  The new mayor is seeking to show himself as the new broom.  He has hit the ground running on the environment saying that he’ll extend the Ultra Low Emission Zone beyond the Congestion Charge area, as far as the North and South Circular roads, and he’ll introduce it early, in 2017.  Drivers of polluting vehicles will face an extra charge for entering the zone.

As the ‘buried’ report shows, London has a big pollution problem but is heading in the right direction. The task for the mayor will be balancing that progress with the economic growth of the capital as more jobs and people add to the environmental challenge.

Source data

See also

Don’t just blame drivers for harmful NO2 pollution

Election Issues: Balancing economic success with green ambitions

Nearly 9,500 deaths a year – study reveals impact of air pollution

Tests suggest NO2 pollution levels may be higher at child height

Left turn – the election shows further shift in the way the capital votes

look left-2The election of Sadiq Khan as Mayor of London proved some general truths about the way London votes but also suggests that as the city grows it will lean more to the left.

On the political map of Britain, London has long been an island of Labour red in a South East sea of Conservative blue.  London has traditionally been Labour at its centre and Tory on its fringes.

The mayoral elections underlined that pattern, with some significant additional wins for Sadiq Khan in previously Conservative ground of Merton and Wandsworth, and Ealing and Hillingdon.

The other significant change is the increase in Labour support in the central areas that have seen the fastest population rise.  The constituency of City and East is a good example.  It contains Tower Hamlets and Newham, the boroughs forecast to grow fastest in the coming decade. In these areas Sadiq Khan achieved 60% of first preference votes and the greater population and high turnout delivered nearly 20,000 more Labour voters than in 2012.

It was a similar story in the North East constituency which covers Islington, Hackney and Waltham Forest. Khan again achieved a 60% share and added 36,000 votes on 2012.

Zac Goldsmiths best performance was in the Bexley and Bromley.  He out-polled Sadiq Khan here by two votes to one, but his number of votes was down on Boris Johnson’s haul in 2012 and his share was 51% compared to 62% for the Conservatives four years ago.

In Havering and Redbridge, and his home South West constituency, which includes Richmond, Hounslow and Kingston, he increased the number of votes, but not in Croydon and Sutton or the West Central constituency covering Westminster, Kensington and Chelsea, and Hammersmith and Fulham.

In all 5 areas won by the Goldsmith, the Conservative share of the vote was down on 2012.  This might be attributed to the success of Boris Johnson as a larger-than-life character who worked across traditional party loyalties. Many, including leading Conservatives, have criticised the Goldsmith campaign, with its attacks on Khan, as negative and off putting for voters.

But the voting patterns indicate something more than personality politics and suggest an underlying sentiment.  A breakdown of all first preference votes into blocks representing broad party positions shows that parties of the left out-performed the parties of the right.

London's political balance-2

And the second preference votes also tell a story.  In the final run off Khan and Goldsmith were awarded the second preference votes of all the other candidates. Khan won convincingly here.  But we can also see from the data how the second preferences of Khan and Goldsmith voters would have been deployed if either had not made the final round. A quarter of Goldsmith voters marked Khan as their second preference.  Only 14% of Khan voters put a second cross next to Goldsmith. The main beneficiary of second votes were the Greens, who sit on the left.

After two terms of a Tory mayor the capital has a Labour politician as leader again.  The city population is forecast to be over 9 million by the time he is up for re-election.  The evidence from this election is that a growing number of people is central London is good news for Labour and Sadiq Khan.

Source data

See also

How London’s population boom helped Sadiq Khan to victory

Election Issues: Balancing economic success with green ambitions

A last verdict on Boris shows satisfaction at its lowest ever level

How London’s population boom helped Sadiq Khan to victory

Khan Goldsmith 2-2.jpeg

A large Labour vote from a growing central London population gave Sadiq Khan a resounding win in some constituencies and helped propel him into office.

In the large City and East,  and North East constituencies Khan’s first preference votes outnumbered Conservative Zac Goldsmith by three to one and he added 56,000 votes to the Labour performance in 2012.   In both these areas Khan won 60% of the first preference votes. On a similar turnout in 2008 Ken Livingstone only managed 52% and 49% of first preferences in these London Labour heartlands.

In Greenwich and Lewisham, and Enfield and Haringey Khan beat Goldsmith by roughly two votes to one.  Goldsmith only managed to fight back with that degree of margin over Khan in Bexley and Bromley.

Khan also managed to reshape the traditional election map that has Labour support in the centre of the city and Conservative areas at its edges. He won Merton and Wandsworth, which includes his home ground of Tooting, and Ealing and Hillingdon.

Mayor How London voted-2

The election saw a record-equalling turnout of 45% and more people voting than ever  thanks to the growing population. This has given Sadiq Khan the most votes secured by any winning candidate since the city began electing mayors at the start of the century.

Mayor London result-2

Sadiq Khan secured victory with the biggest share of the vote since Ken Livingstone swept into office as the first elected mayor in 2000. He won 56.8% of the vote compared to Livingstone’s 57.9% in 2000.

He did well on first preference votes winning 44%, matched only by Boris Johnson in 2012. But in the end the contest was decided on second preferences and Khan had a clear advantage here winning 161,427, almost twice the number cast for Goldsmith by those giving their first votes to the other candidates.

The full data on second preferences shows the Green’s Sian Berry as the most favoured second choice candidate.  She won 468,318 second choice votes, beating Sadiq Khan.

Berry came third overall in the poll, and secured third place in 10 of the 14 London Assembly constituencies.  The Liberal Democrats Caroline Pidgeon was fourth but picked up third place in 2 areas – West Central and South West. UKIP’s Peter Whittle managed fifth place overall but came third in Bexley and Bromley, and Havering and Redbridge.

It was an uncomfortable result for George Galloway and his Respect Party.  The former MP managed only seventh place behind Sophie Walker and the newly formed Women’s Equality Party.  Even in his old London stamping ground as an MP in the east of the city he managed only sixth place.

Source data

See also

Mayoral Election Issues: The Economy and Jobs

Mayoral Election Issues: The homes affordability crisis

The shifting population story of the fall and rise of inner London

A last verdict on Boris shows satisfaction at its lowest ever level

Boris Johnson copy-2As the clock ticks down to the end of Boris Johnson’s time as London Mayor a survey has shown the level of satisfaction with his performance has hit the lowest point in 7 years.

Since April 2009 the GLA has been doing a quarterly survey of 1,000 Londoners. It asks about a range of issues and in each survey it also asks one consistent questions: “Are you satisfied or dissatisfied with the job Boris Johnson is doing as Mayor of London?”

The latest survey was completed in the middle of March and shows that 48% of people said they were satisfied and 22% dissatisfied.  This is a sharp decrease on the previous quarter.  In January Boris’s satisfaction rating soared to it highest ever level of 66% when he was more in the news for his involvement in the EU Referendum debate than his role as Mayor. That’s even higher than the post Olympics glow of success when he scored 64%.

Boris was elected in May 2008 with 53% of the vote. His average satisfaction rating across the 29 quarterly surveys since April 2009 has been 55%. It has only dipped below 50% in two previous surveys, in April 2010 and in September last year.

Boris poll-2

 

Most politician would be happy with this consistent level of support and it underlines the job facing the candidates to replace him in matching his popular appeal.

The latest polling by YouGov says that Labour’s Sadiq Khan is leading the Conservative Zac Goldsmith by 32% to 25%.  There are still many undecided voters but the hopefuls have some way to go to match Boris’s 53%.

Source data

 

Heathrow decision soon but survey says most unconcerned by aircraft noise

© Olilee2 | Dreamstime.com - Heathrow Congestion Photo

Picture: © Olilee2 | Dreamstime.com

Aircraft noise has no impact on the majority of Londoners who took part in a survey conducted by the GLA, but most of those taking part were aware of the proposal to expand Heathrow, currently awaiting government approval.

The GLA used its regular phone poll of 1,000 people to ask to what extent daily life is affected by aircraft noise. A third said not at all and a further 28% said that they hardly noticed it.

7% of those asked said it had an adverse impact, with 3% saying it caused very significant impact, sometimes disrupting their sleep. If that 7% is converted into a proportion of the current population that’s around 600,000 people

Aircraft noise survey

But the low rate of concern about noise from the majority will be unwelcome to those campaigning against the expansion of Heathrow. The Airport Commission, set up to determine the expansion of airport provision for London and the South East recommended in July that Heathrow should grow.

The Mayor, Boris Johnson, is opposed to the plan and the Conservative chosen to try to replace him, Zac Goldsmith, has been a leading critic. Mr Goldsmith, who is the MP for Richmond Park, an area on the flight path, published a map which he said showed how noise from an expanded Heathrow could affect around 1 million Londoners. The results of this survey suggest that concern may currently be falling on deaf ears.

In delivering its verdict the Airport Commission acknowledged the noise pollution problems of a bigger Heathrow where a plane currently takes off or lands every 45 seconds. While is said that expansion of Heathrow was the clear choice because it delivered far larger economic benefits it hedged it bets by saying that Gatwick’s expansion plan was also “credible’.

The decision was given to the Government and is expected this autumn.

Source data

Heathrow gets the nod to expand, but it’s already Europe’s noisiest airport

Amid Heathrow-Gatwick battle smaller airports fuel passenger growth

Neck and neck in the race to replace Boris

Why the Mayor thinks busking should be music to our ears

2015-07-18 14.19.56-1-2For some, busking is a noisy nuisance that obstructs the pavements. For others it is an essential part of the vibrancy of London. The Mayor and the GLA are on a mission to increase busking but some boroughs seem unconvinced and it remains a contentious issue open to local rules and by-laws.

City Hall’s promotion of busking steps up a gear throughout the next few weeks with the Busk in London festival until August 8th. It kicked off on Saturday 18th July, which was National Busking Day, if you didn’t know. In the coming weeks a large number of performers will showcase their talents in high profile locations like Trafalgar Square.

But away from festival time the rules on busking and its public acceptability are complex. London has a number of ‘official’ busking pitches, though the GLA dislikes using the term official as it points out that busking is legal on any public land in the UK.

The GLA told Urbs that there are currently 70 established pitches which include 39 in the London Underground, 14 on the Southbank, 11 around Covent Garden, 4 in Hillingdon Town Centre, 1 at One New Change Shopping Centre near St Paul’s and 1 at the O2 Centre on Finchley Road.


See also

Where the arts-loving Londoners live – not in Newham

Good news for tourists and Londoners as city dominates for visitor attractions


For buskers the problems centre on knowing when a location is on public land and whether their act is causing an obstruction or a noise nuisance, when a number of different laws may be used to move them on.

The GLA has tried to combat this by producing a Buskers’ Code to help potential performers choose a pitch and build up a good relationship with local people.

So far just 6 of the 33 boroughs have signed up – Westminster, Islington, Southwark, Hounslow, Kingston and Redbridge.

Camden, known for its music venues, has sought to restrict busking by introducing a license scheme and £1,000 fines for anyone caught busking without one.

Busking is not allowed at all in the City of London. The Corporation sites the Police & Factories (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act 1916 as the reason why.

The GLA says it is hopes to sign up more boroughs to its code soon and is talking to Network Rail about pitches at the big main railway stations.

It estimates that about 1,000 buskers are regularly performing in London. TfL says that performers at its 39 marked pitches at 25 Tube stations provide 100,000 hours of music for commuters each year.

If the Mayor, Boris Johnson, has his way their be more music and street theatre. In launching the code of conduct and his annual Gigs busking competition for under 25s he said: ”’Busking adds to the capital’s joie de vivre, but in spite of its popularity, buskers have sometimes encountered problems when plying their trade.”

The GLA estimates that music tourism generates £600 million for the London economy each year and that live performances enhance public spaces. And if City Hall gets its way you’ll be seeing a lot more of it.