Despite only being 16 years young, the London Mayoralty has achieved a large number of noticeable changes that have made huge impacts to the capital and its population. A list of the Mayor’s achievements (both Ken Livingstone and Boris Johnson), can be found below:
- 2003: Congestion Charge
In February 2003, a fee charged on most motor vehicles operating in central London was introduced. The charge aims to reduce high traffic flow in the central London area, and raise funds for London’s transport system.
- 2003: Oyster Card
Oyster cards, used for over 90% of tube journeys, were created under Livingstone’s Mayoral term in 2003. It was introduced to further encourage the use of public transport, along with the introduction of the Congestion Charge in the same year.
- 2005: London 2012 Olympics
Ken Livingstone co-headed, with Sebastian Coe, the bid that was entered by London in 2003 to host the 2012 Olympics. Livingstone later admitted: “I didn’t bid for the Olympics because I wanted three weeks of sport… I bid for the Olympics because it’s the only way to get billions of pounds out of the Government to develop the East End – to clean the soil, put in the infrastructure and build the housing.”
- 2007: Crossrail
It was during Livingstone’s Mayoral term that the funding for Crossrail was secured by the Government. About this subject, Livingstone said: “I took Ed Balls, who was then chief secretary to the Treasury, out to dinner and over four hours and two bottles of wine he agreed the government would give £5bn for the construction of Crossrail. He did say it might take him most of the rest of the year to get it signed off through the Treasury but it was agreed before the end of 2007”.
- 2007: London Overground
The London Overground network was first created by Livingstone in 2007 when Transport for London look over the running of Silverlink routes. Railways in north and west London were considered neglected. The aim of the London Overground was to integrate these older networks into new routes in east and south London to create a “fully orbital network”.
- 2010: Cycle Hire Scheme
Barclays Cycle Hire Scheme, thought up by Livingstone, commenced operations under Johnson in July 2010 with 5000 bicycles and 315 docking stations across the capital. They became known as “Boris Bikes”. Since July 2010, the now named Santander Bikes have been hired on over 48 million separate occasions.
- 2010: Cycle Super Highways
Cycle Superhighways, cycle routes connecting inner and outer London and providing cycle zones around urban centres, can now be seen all over the capital. Two pilot routes were implemented under Johnson in July 2010 (#3 connecting Barking and Tower Hill, and #7 connecting Colliers Wood and Bank). By this summer there will be 12 Cycle Superhighways operating across London. Of particular note are the East-West (Tower Hill to Lancaster Gate) and North-South (Holborn to Elephant and Castle), both of which will be segregated tracks to separate cyclists from motor traffic.
- 2012: WiFi on the Underground
During Johnson’s Mayoral term he announced that London’s Underground network would benefit from wireless internet. This was implemented in the busiest stations (Oxford Circus, Liverpool Street, London Bridge and Kings Cross) in late 2012. To this date, there is wireless internet at 250 stations.
- 2012: Emirates Air Line (Cable Car)
The Emirates Air Line is a cable car link across the Thames operated by Transport for London. The service was announced in 2010, and during the second week of October 2012 over 42,500 journeys were made.
- 2014: 24 Hour Tubes
Under Johnson in mid-2014 Transport for London announced the introduction of the Night Tube. The service was planned to launch in September 2015 however due to numerous strikes by London Underground staff this has been delayed.
- 2016: London’s Skyline
Johnson will be known for influencing London’s changing skyline, with notable buildings constructed during his Mayoralty including The Leadenhall Building (more commonly known as the cheese grater) which opened in 2014, and of course Europe’s fourth tallest building, The Shard, which opened in 2012. In fact, even since March 2015 119 new buildings with at least 20 storeys have entered the planning process.