HIGH COSTS and long planning and design periods mean that local authorities will have to fight hard for new tram schemes in the capital, Transport for London (TfL) warned this week.
TfL is currently working up proposals for six tram schemes across London.
They include 34km of extensions to Croydon tramlink in south London, a 20km tram route from Uxbridge to Shepherds Bush in west London and a 16km Cross River Transit from Camden to Brixton.
Plans for the West London Tram are at the most advanced stage, with the mayor and TfL set to review the scheme in March ahead of a public inquiry in the summer. But raising funding for the £425M scheme is a major issue.
'Realistically, there will not be many schemes at these prices, ' said TfL managing director of surface transport Peter Hendy.
'Financing and delivery is a problem.
Bus priority and busway schemes can be delivered for £3.5M/km and inside three years. light rail schemes cost up to £20M/km and take a long time.
'The study for the Croydon project began in the 1970s and the scheme opened in 2000. West London Tram has taken 10 years to get to where it is today - a workable scheme but not funded.'
Speaking at a London Assembly transport committee seminar, Hendy added that Croydon proved tram schemes can offer more in terms of economic development, but that this scheme was only delivered with cross party support, funding and copromotion over 15 years.