Murad and John Biggs, another Labour Assembly Member on the Assembly’s Transport Committee, have spoken out against the Committee’s report into crime on buses. Murad and John say that while they welcome the committee’s work, they have “serious doubts” about the motives of its Chair.
Murad said: “While this is a valuable piece of work we strongly dispute many of its findings. Both John and myself saw the same evidence as the Chair and we feel that in some places it has been wishfully interpreted to suit his existing prejudices.”
John and Murad produced their own minority report rubbishing many of the committee’s findings:
* The latest figures show that crime rates on buses have fallen to below 2004/05 levels
* There is no evidence of a correlation between recorded crime levels and the introduction of free travel for under-16s
* Anecdotal references to “rowdy behaviour” on certain bus routes are not linked to recorded criminal behaviour
* The table of “least safe routes” is meaningless without comparing the lengths of the routes or the number of passengers they carry
Murad continued: “While one crime on our bus network is one too many, we feel there is little to be gained from scaremongering and reinforcing urban myths. The latest figures from TfL, which the committee chose not to cite, show that in the first half of 2007/08 there were just 15 crimes per million passenger journeys.
“Free travel has been a huge benefit to London’s youngsters, especially for those from low income families. Some members of the committee are on record as opposing this policy and it should be no great surprise that they tried to use this scrutiny report to back up their opposition. The investigation found no evidence to fit their agenda.
“We would like to reiterate our support for free bus travel for young people and strongly welcome the introduction of photocards which will reinforce that with the right to free travel comes responsibilities.”
You can read the report here, our minority report is listed as appendix 1.