Zac Goldsmith pledges to improve rail transport in Bexley during Sidcup visit
PUBLISHED: 10:01 08 March 2016 | UPDATED: 10:01 08 March 2016
The Bexley Times was invited on board the back-Zac bus last week
It would have been hard to miss the light blue double-decker bus rolling through the streets of Sidcup last week.
Marked with the face of Conservative Mayor of London hopeful Zac Goldsmith, the bus turned more than a few heads as it turned into Sidcup High Street on Thursday, March 3.
But inside, the MP was sat alongside the Mayor incumbent, Boris Johnson, as the duo told this reporter the importance of Bexley at this May’s elections.
Speaking on the importance of the Back Zac campaign, Mr Goldsmith said: “The more we meet people the more this campaign team get out on to the streets of London then the more our message resonates with the people.”
And visiting the borough, Mr Goldsmith echoed the concerns of locals when discussing local transport links.
He said “I get letters everyday from this part of London from people who have been late for meetings, late home, because of Southeastern travel.
“All the signs suggest the government is up for Southeastern being taken over by Transport for London, and we can try to emulate the success we’ve had with the Overground since Boris took over.
“We’ve seen a 300 per cent increase in passengers and capacity, satisfaction levels have increased and eventually it means more money for TfL to reinvest.
Boris Johnson echoed the Mr Goldsmith’s aims, claiming a “metro” service is something Bexley residents could benefit from
He said: “To improve Southeastern it will require us to run it in a way that we want, driving up standards by investing in stations, having higher frequency trains then offering a turn-up and go metro service.”
But as the pair talk transport on board the bright blue bus, questions were raised over the threat to jobs in Bexley, by potentially leaving the EU.
Both the mayor and the Richmond Park MP have already voiced their positions to leave the European Union, a decision which, according to figures from Labour Mayoral candidate Sadiq Khan, could threaten 17,000 jobs in the borough.
Mr Khan said: “Zac Goldsmith’s desire to leave Europe poses a serious threat to Londoners’ jobs, livelihoods and security. 17,000 people in Bexley can’t afford to have their jobs put at risk in this way.
“Zac Goldsmith has chosen to jeopardise our place as a global city, put our safety at greater risk and sacrifice our ability to build a better future for all Londoners.
“Zac Goldsmith is advocating a position that is clearly damaging to the people he is seeking to represent.”
But Mr Goldsmith dismissed the claims, saying: “These figures are plucked out of thin air, the people who are now saying apocalyptic things about leaving are the same people who spoke in the same way about not joining the Euro.
But the former Eton alumni refused to rule out that local jobs were at risk.
“Both options are not without risk, with change comes that possibility, so there is no zero risk option.”
Following the journey on board the back Zac bus, Mr Goldsmith and Mr Johnson took to Sidcup High Street, before Mr Johnson visited a local school.
The Mayor of London elections will be held on May 5.