Speaking as a guest at the London Assembly Transport Committee, Director of the South London  Partnership (SLP), Sarah Sturrock, was in City Hall this morning (September 11th) making the case for south London’s transport network now and in the future.

London has a world-class transport system across much of the capital. Transport is a critical underpinning of its economic strength – and a huge asset in supporting opportunity and equality. 

However, the transport network in London is not equal. 

Speaking after the event, Sarah said, “Everyone who works, lives and studies in the SLP area will know the challenges that the sub-region faces with its transport network, and the very real impact that has on residents and SLP’s potential to deliver economic and housing growth.”

The SLP boroughs of Croydon, Kingston upon Thames, Merton, Richmond upon Thames and Sutton have a
lack of Underground, Overground or similar services compared to other parts of London, with more than double the number of Tube stations being outside of London than within south London.

This puts enormous pressure on our rail lines, which are regularly congested and suffer with challenges with reliability. In 2018, five of the top 10 most congested train lines ran through south London, and our lines frequently reflect the lowest customer satisfaction levels in the country. Our bus services tend to be
historic and, although the tram is a much-loved and well-used asset in some boroughs, there is much more that can be done to explore its potential. We have the highest car use of any sub-region in London, which has an impact on air quality, activity levels and road safety in the area.

These factors are all important for the 22% of residents in SLP who travel into central London for work, but also important are the 79% of trips that begin and end in south London. This reinforces the need for a connected network that supports a range of movements within the area, as well as increased capacity along key spines.

These challenges will require a range of solutions to unlock a thriving economy, much needed housing and improve quality of life for SLP residents. Major infrastructure projects like the Brighton Main Line improvements, Crossrail 2 and the Sutton Link are crucial for this, but modernising the bus network’s routes and fleet, exploring the potential of the tram in supporting modal shift, metroising suburban rail services and encouraging active travel like walking and cycling all have roles to play in tomorrow’s transport network, and to meet local and Mayoral ambitions, particularly the 80% modal shift target in the Mayors
Transport Strategy.

The SLP has started work with the Mayor and Transport for London on these areas, and we look forward
to working with them to tackle these transport challenges together for the benefit of SLP residents both now and in the future.