← Older posts

News Updates

Posted on by ptcadmin

News Update 23 November 2018

  1. Greener Journeys has produced a report Bus Infrastructure Investment which demonstrates that investment in bus can have a transformational impact on a city region’s economic performance and provide opportunities for growth. It includes ideas for investment and journey time improvements, with a focus on accessibility. It outlines changes that could result from investment in the bus.
    Ref: https://greenerjourneys.com/publication/bus-infrastructure-investment-2/
  2. Transport Committee enquiry into the health of the bus market
    The Local Government Association submission is available at http://data.parliament.uk/writtenevidence/committeeevidence.svc/evidencedocument/transport-committee/health-of-the-bus-market/written/90007.html
  3. The Urban Transport Group has produced a report About towns: How transport can help towns thrive, which looks at urban areas where historic industries have fallen into decline. The report advocates that investment needs to be part of wider and coordinated packages of transport measures integrated with areas such as education, housing and economic development. Key findings are that capital and revenue transport measures can play a vital role in widening access to employment, education and skills, enhancing quality of life and enabling access to leisure and recreation. Transport is key to opening up new sites for housing and commercial development in and around towns. Case studies where transport infrastructure has helped urban renewal are Kilmarnock Station, Doncaster High Speed Rail campus and Altrincham multimodal transport interchange which, with other investment, generated a 19% increase in footfall in the town centre and a 20% reduction in vacancy rates.
    Ref: http://www.urbantransportgroup.org/resources/types/reports/about-towns-how-transport-can-help-towns-thrive
  4. Revised guidance published for road transport operators. The Senior Traffic Commissioner’s guidance documents have been updated following a consultation with industry and stakeholders
    Ref: https://www.gov.uk/government/collections/senior-traffic-commissioners-statutory-guidance-and-statutory-directions
  5. Network Rail is to reduce its level crossing closure programme and use technologies to improve crossing safety: 1000 crossings have closed since 2010. A Transport and Works Act Order inquiry is taking place into its plan to close 60 level crossings in Essex.
  6. Office of Rail and Road figures show a 0.6 year reduction in the average age of UK trains in 2017/18 compared with the previous year. The average age for franchised services is 19.6 years.
  7. The Office of Rail and Road has proposed reforms to the Disabled Peoples’ Protection Policy covering assisted travel. Among the proposals for consultation is the notice period for booking assistance (currently 24 hours before travel), a new standard handover process for all mainline stations, improved accessible journey planning and standardised information.
  8. The operator of the Wales and Borders rail service has applied for a Transport and Works Act Order to authorise the transfer of the Core Valley Lines from Network Rail to Transport for Wales.
  9. Transport Focus have produced a report on the Impact of Strikes on Northern passengers and their views on the dispute: on consecutive Saturdays since 25 August, strike action has been taking place. The impact was discussed at the Consortium meeting on 16 November.
    Ref: http://d3cez36w5wymxj.cloudfront.net/wp-content/uploads/2018/10/30102946/Impact-of-strikes-on-Northern-passengers-and-their-views-on-the-dispute.pdf
  10. Transport for Wales has started the planning process for a £50m park and ride station on the South Wales mainline at Llanwern, east of Newport.
  11. Virgin Trains has removed Friday afternoon peak restrictions from Euston Station.
  12. TransPennine Express, over the last 12 months, has worked with the Department for Work and Pensions in Hull, to provide free travel for the long term unemployed to job interviews (113 people) and those that secure jobs are given free rail travel for their first month of employment.
  13. A new audio-enabled interactive map display to help visually impaired passengers find their way around Norwich bus station has been installed at a cost of £17500.
  14. The Department for Transport has published Rolling Stock Perspective Fourth Edition.  A small percentage of trains do not yet meet the accessibility standards required by 1 January 2020. The use of lightweight, refreshed and repurposed vehicles could strengthen the case for reopening disused lines – highlighted are hydrogen powered Class 321, Class 230 and Class 165 HyDrive trains. The report predicts a fleet increase of between 40% (5500 vehicles) and 85% (12000 vehicles) over the next 30 years.
  15. The Office of Rail and Road has launched a market review into the role played by Delay Repay claims companies in helping passengers claim compensation when journeys are delayed and in helping train operators deal with claims more efficiently. In 2016/17, more than 7 million journeys were delayed by 30 minutes or more. Only 35% of eligible passengers claimed compensation totalling around £81m.
  16. Following the trial closure of 59 bus stops in South Birmingham, 32 will be permanently closed in order to speed up bus services.
  17. Network Rail has announced work on 330 projects over the Christmas period.
  18. LNER has confirmed new Class 800/801 Azuma trains will not enter service until 2020.
  19. Southeastern has published proposals for timetable changes to reduce journey times from May 2019: a more regular service is to be provided for some stations, with the closure of some gaps in service. The full range of proposals are in a consultation document
    https://www.southeasternrailway.co.uk/travel-information/live-travel-information/may-2019-timetable-consultation
  20. Spanish train manufacturer Talgo is to create a train manufacturing plant in Scotland at Longannet, near Falkirk, and is also planning to establish an innovation centre in Chesterfield.

News Update 29 November 2018

  1. A new rail ombudsman service has been launched from 26 November: figures show 28% of people who made a complaint to a rail company in 2017/18 were satisfied with the outcome. The new body, with expertise in consumer law and alternative dispute resolution, will review appeals with a view to resolution by mediation or issuing a formal ruling if agreement cannot be reached. The service is free to use.
  2. An Independent Transport Commission report concludes that the growth of Britain’s service economy and an increasingly urbanised population help explain the reason rail patronage growth has more than doubled over the last 20 years and recommends rail projects be appraised against different possible patterns of future spatial and economic development.  The growth of home working and the number of new housing developments in suburbs and beyond may work against continuing rail growth.
    Ref: http://www.theitc.org.uk/wp-content/uploads/2017/05/ITC-Report-Rail-Passenger-Demand-November-2018.pdf
  3. Bus Services Act 2017 Open data. The consultation set out proposals to require the provision of information about bus routes, timetables, fares, tickets and service operation to enhance the passenger experience through the provision of better journey planning information. The consultation findings will be published in January 2019 with regulations due to be laid in Parliament in summer 2019, coming into force Autumn 2019.
  4. Hertfordshire County Council has published plans for a 5 route bus rapid transit network to improve east-west connectivity, linking Watford to Welwyn, Watford to St Albans, Hemel Hempstead to Welwyn, Hatfield to Cheshunt and Hatfield to Harlow.
  5. Transport for the North, in partnership with Northern Rail and TransPennine Express, has launched the first part of a smartcard project, commencing with season tickets purchased at a ticket office. The project will eventually provide contactless, capped payments across the bus, tram and rail network.
  6. Network Rail in Wales and Borders is to spend £2bn in control period 6 (2019-2024) on maintenance and renewal, a 28% increase on control period 5.
  7. Sheffield City Council has published plans for a charging clean air zone covering the city centre and inner ring road, applicable to buses, taxis, private hire vehicles, heavy and light goods vehicles.
  8. Nottingham is the first local authority to have their air quality plan approved as part of the Government programme.
  9. The Rail Freight Group has published a position paper ‘Rail Freight Outcome in Rail Review’ setting out the key freight requirements from the Government Rail Review
    ref: http://www.rfg.org.uk/?s=rail+freight+outcomes+in+rail+review
  10. Nottingham City Council plans to introduce multi-operator contactless ticketing on bus and tram services in 2020, offering daily and weekly fare capping on Nottingham City Transport, Nottingham Express Transit and the council’s link bus network.
  11. Scotland’s first self-driving bus trial will operate between Fife and Edinburgh next year, involving five autonomous single deck buses travelling across the Forth Road Bridge.
    Ref: http://www.transportengineer.org.uk/transport-engineer-news/world-first-autonomous-bus-trial-to-start-in-scotland/195575/

News Update 6 December 2018

  1. Campaign for Better Transport has issued a report – The Future of Rural Bus Services in the UK – which shows the impact of poor public transport on the health and wellbeing of communities and rural economies. In England, a quarter of all bus journeys outside London are in predominantly rural areas or towns with rural hinterlands. Between 2011/12 and 2016/17, rural bus service mileage fell 6%, patronage on supported bus services in non-metropolitan areas of England fell by more than 30%, 44% in Wales. The report makes a number or recommendations, including long term central Government ring fenced funding to support rural communities and local authorities, to improve public transport.
  2. Regulated rail fares, which cover about 45% of fares on national rail and include season tickets are to rise by 3.1% from 2 January (lower than the Retail Price Index in July).
  3. The Department for Transport has completed its analysis of the introduction of the rail timetable changes in May 2018. The Government is holding Govia Thameslink Railway to account, who will make no profit from its franchise in this financial year and the profit the operator can make for the remainder of the franchise due to expire in September 2021 is capped. The company will fund £15m worth of improvements for passengers, in addition to the £15m already contributed towards compensation for passengers.
  4. Peninsular Transport has been launched – a shadow sub national body covering Somerset, Devon, Cornwall, Plymouth and Torbay.
  5. The Chair of the Rail Review is inviting evidence from a wide range of stakeholders in all parts of the country, including passenger representatives, businesses, leading thinkers and investors, and local and devolved bodies and governments. The Government will publish a white paper on the review’s recommendations, with the implementation of reform planned to start from 2020.
  6. The Rail Regulator is taking formal action against Network Rail as punctuality and reliability from April to mid-October 2018 was at its lowest level in control period 5, which started in 2014.
  7. Research from Transport Focus into the roads network managed by Highways England shows only half of freight, logistics and coach operators are satisfied with the way motorways and major A roads meet their needs. Poor road surfaces, poor incident management and information about delays and disruptions were a concern together with dissatisfaction with roadside services.
    Ref: https://www.transportfocus.org.uk/research-publications/publications/logistics-coach-manager-survey-englands-strategic-roads/
  8. Oyster and contactless cards are to be extended next year to include Hertford North, Epsom, Cuffley and Bayford with stations up to Welwyn Garden City and Luton Airport Parkway to be added later in the year.
  9. The upper age limit for the Wales discounted bus travel scheme is to be increased from 18 to 21. The MyTravelPass card offers one third discount on adult fares.
  10. ScotRail is delivering major timetable changes from 9 December to provide faster journeys, more seats and additional services: further changes are due in May and December 2019.
  11. The Welsh Government is to publish a White Paper on bus policy and is expected to legislate to improve consistency of supply.
  12. Transport for London has notified vehicle manufacturers of the need to procure an acoustic vehicle alerting system to reduce the danger electric vehicles pose to pedestrians.
  13. The City of London plans to close some streets to traffic at lunchtimes when they are busy with pedestrians.
  14. Proposals for a light rail network serving the West Yorkshire conurbation have been published with the system to be in operation when HS2 reaches Leeds: 3 lines are proposed.
  15. The coalition Government in Luxembourg is to abolish all fares on public transport. Currently an all-day ticket costs €4.

News Update 13 December 2018

  1. The Government has published a Community Rail Strategy for England and Wales which supports the Association of Community Rail Partnerships’ efforts to encourage greater community involvement and requires the rail industry to engage with local areas where there is no such organisation, to raise awareness of how local issues can be addressed. A new Community Rail accreditation scheme is proposed, encouraging community groups to develop local facilities by making use of unused or underused railway property. Network Rail will be required to consult with community rail organisations over the disposal of land and buildings or proposed changes at adopted stations. Ref: https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/756054/connecting-communities-with-the-railways-the-community-rail-development-strategy.pdf
  2. Network Rail has announced the award of contracts for Control Period 6 valued at £645m including renewal and enhancements work in Scotland (£130m), and work on the London North East route (£190m). The total available to Network Rail in CP6 is £35bn.
  3. Office of Rail and Road statistics show Waterloo is the busiest station in Britain with 94.4 million passengers. The only non-London station in the top ten is Birmingham New Street. The least used station is British Steel Redcar (40 entries and exits in the year). The 3 new stations that opened in 2017/18 recorded 488,000 (Cambridge North), 252,000 (Ilkeston), 133,000 (Low Moor) entries and exits.
  4. A Rail Sector Deal between the industry and Government has been announced to build on the strong partnership working and exploit the opportunities of new technologies, improve the efficient use of rail network capacity and enhance the experience of users.
  5. The opening of Crossrail, deferred from December 2018 to Autumn 2019, cannot be met. The Mayor of London and the Government have agreed a financial package to complete the project which is now predicted to cost up to £17.6bn.
  6. Transport for London has published a new Bus Safety Standard. From 2019, all new buses must include technology that automatically limits the speed, an audible alert, slip reduction measures inside, more blind spot mirrors and reversing cameras and pedal warning indicators for drivers.
  7. London North Western Railway passengers can now purchase advanced tickets up to one hour before the train departure on some routes.
  8. Transport for London has produced an updated draft Business Plan, covering the period 2018/19 to 2023/24, which outlines investment in transport improvements. Available at http://content.tfl.gov.uk/fc-20181213-item07-tfl-business-plan-approval.pdf
  9. The former Eurostar terminal at Waterloo has opened to increase capacity on the South Western Railway network.
  10. West Midlands Metro will have the facility in 2019 for passengers to buy and save tram tickets on their smartphones using Google Pay.

News Update 4 January 2019

  1. The Office of Rail and Road has published recommendations following the Inquiry into the disruption caused by the May 2018 timetable changes. The Inquiry concluded that there was insufficient consideration of passenger interests when assessing delivery risk in the infrastructure programme and timetable planning processes ahead of the change. It recommends that an enhanced systemwide advice, audit and assurance capability for major network changes should be introduced as soon as possible.
  2. The Welsh Government (Llywodraeth Cymru) has published a white paper on the planning and delivery of local bus services, and licensing of taxis and private hire vehicles. Consultation closes on 27 March.
    Ref: https://beta.gov.wales/sites/default/files/consultations/2018-12/improving-public-transport_0.pdf
  3. Punctuality of rail services in July to September 2018 fell 2.5% compared to the same period in 2017. 85.9% of trains were on time. Cancellations and significant lateness increased 1.1% to 4.6% – the worst figure since 2001/2. The 3 most punctual operators were Merseyrail 94.9%, c2c 94.3% and London Overground 93.6%, although all had reduced punctuality. The worst performing operators were Hull Trains 71.6%, London North Eastern Railway 74.5% and TransPennine Express 78%.
    Ref: http://orr.gov.uk/__data/assets/pdf_file/0004/39892/passenger-freight-performance-2018-19-q2.pdf
  4. Bus operator Transdev Blazefield is to trial ‘tap on tap off’ contactless fare capping, having been awarded £50k by Transport for the North to pilot the technology.
  5. Thirty responses have been received regarding possible railway re-openings as part of the market led proposals
  6. The on demand shared ride service in Bristol – Slide Bristol – operating in peak hours since the summer of 2016, has been withdrawn. 40,000 passengers have been carried.
  7. Stagecoach now offers contactless payments on all buses in the UK
  8. The third Metrobus route in Bristol will commence on 6 January – service M1 linking Cribbs causeway with Hengrove Park
  9. Network Rail has announced contracts worth £7bn for the South of England for Control Period 6 (2019-24), to deliver renewals and enhancements in Anglia, South East and Wessex
  10. Cambridgeshire County Council has appointed consultants to prepare a business case for re-opening the March – Wisbech railway, closed to passengers in 1968 and to freight in 2000
  11. The Department for Transport has published the strategic and economic cases for building the next stage of the East West Rail line: phase 2 will reinstate and upgrade lines to allow train services between Oxford and Milton Keynes, Oxford and Bedford, Milton Keynes and Aylesbury. Target date for opening the line is 2024
  12. A new railcard is to be introduced in September 2019 that extends half price child fares to 16 and 17 year olds.
  13. The announcement of the operator for the South Eastern franchise has been delayed. Bidders are Abellio, Govia and Stagecoach Alstom
  14. Transport for London has published Travel in London Report 11. The average number of trips per person per day by London residents fell to 2.13 in 2017/18 (2.64 in 2016/17). Overall travel demand in 2017 was 0.1% lower than in 2016. The total number of bus journeys in 2017 was down 6.5% on 2014, with Underground travel 1.1% down on the previous year. Bus journeys increased 0.1% between 2016 and 2017.
    Ref: http://content.tfl.gov.uk/travel-in-london-report-11.pdf
  15. The London Assembly Transport Committee has produced a report Broken Rails – a rail service fit for passengers setting out 3 recommendations to improve the rail network. Network Rail needs to deliver a plan to enable more frequent and longer trains to operate on existing infrastructure. There should be an improvement in access to stations by cyclists and pedestrians and dedicated passenger engagement with a specific station user group for each station.
  16. Greater Anglia will end first class seating on all services except Intercity trains from January 2020, when new trains have entered service

News Update 10 January 2019

  1. A new £10.55m railway station is to be built at Horden in east Durham, scheduled to open spring 2020.
  2. Delay repay is now available after 15 minute delays to Northern rail passengers, who can claim 25% of the single fare if their train is delayed between 15 and 29 minutes.
  3. The Government is to place a duty on airports to work with local authorities on the preparation of surface access strategies. The proposal features in the Department for Transport consultation in the future of aviation – Aviation 2050: The future of UK aviation
    ref:
    https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/769695/aviation-2050-web.pdf
  4. The House of Commons Transport Committee reports that the Government should fund a programme of Mobility as a Service (MaaS) pilots across the country – supporting the development of new digital platforms for planning journeys
    ref: https://publications.parliament.uk/pa/cm201719/cmselect/cmtrans/590/590.pdf
  5. The National Infrastructure Commission is to assist Liverpool city region, West Yorkshire, Derby, Basildon and Exeter to develop transport strategies: the Commission wants the Government to give cities long term devolved transport budgets and increase the funding for urban transport.
  6. An updated Greater Manchester Spatial Framework has been published which emphasises the importance of redeveloping brownfield sites and outlines plans for 65 transport projects, to be completed in the next five years.
  7. London Overground services in the first 12 months have carried 250,000 passengers: the trains introduced between Dalston Junction and New Cross Gate were extended to Highbury and Islington in February 2018.
  8. 7.3 million journeys were made on Edinburgh trams in 2018 – a 10% increase on 2017.

Posted in News | Leave a comment

News Update 2 November 2018

Posted on by ptcadmin

  1. The Office of Rail and Road has set out its final determination on Network Rail’s plans for Control Period 6, commencing April 2019.
    £24.3bn is approved on maintaining (£7.7bn) and renewing (£16.6bn) the existing railway in Great Britain. Renewal work increases 17% on Control Period 5.
    The Performance Innovation Fund, to support testing and implementation of ideas to improve punctuality, increases to £40m from £10m. Funding for timetabling and planning is £270m (£145m in CP5). Each of the 8 geographic routes will have its own budget and delivery plans.
  2. In the budget, £37m has been allocated to Northern Powerhouse Rail and £20m for the central section of East West rail.
  3. A tram train entered service on 25 October operating between Sheffield and Rotherham.
  4. Passenger demand on the Belfast new Glider bus corridors has increased, requiring an additional peak express service. Patronage on the corridor has increased 17% on the previous conventional bus service.
  5. The 26-30 railcard is to be available nationwide before the end of the year: 4 million people will be able to receive one third off most tickets, purchasing the card costs £30 per year. Before 10am weekdays there is a minimum £12 fare.
  6. Leicestershire County Council is to reduce its bus service support budget by £400k: it is to spend £400k on mitigating the local impacts of constructing 30km of HS2 phase 2b through the county.
  7. Thameslink and Great Northern will operate an additional 32 peak and 170 off peak services from 10 December.
  8. Nottingham City Transport is testing a mobile phone solution that detects when and where passengers board and alight buses: fares could be automatically calculated and deducted from passengers’ bank accounts. The data collected will assist with service planning.
  9. The Transforming Cities Fund, which is supporting major new transport investment, is to be extended by a year to 2022/23 with an extra £240m for the six areas covered by metro mayors and a further £440m to the competitive stream for other areas (two from ten shortlisted).
  10. Combined authorities with strategic planning powers are to be given the power to levy a strategic infrastructure tariff on new development, to help fund major new transport and other infrastructure.

The Government is allocating £90m to create Future Mobility Zones to trial shared and on demand travel, autonomous shuttles and new ticketing systems. The West Midlands has been allocated £20m and is the first zone to be designated.

Posted in News | Leave a comment

News Update 18 October 2018

Posted on by ptcadmin

  1. The proportion of non-frequent scheduled bus services in England on time, ie within 1 minute early and 5 minutes 59 seconds late, was 82.7% in 2016/17 (82.6% in 2015/16, 82.9% 2014/15)
  2. The Department for Transport Quarterly Bus Statistics for England April to June 2018 show local bus passenger journeys at 1.2 billion, a decrease of 1.7% since 2017. Fares increased 2.2% in metropolitan areas and 6.6% in non-metropolitan areas. Local authority bus budgets in England and Wales reduced by £20.5m last year.
  3. Across Great Britain, 429 million rail journeys were recorded April to June 2018, a 3.1% increase on 2017. London and South East journeys increased 3.5%; Chiltern Railways growth was 6.8%; Govia Thameslink 4.8%; TransPennine Express 10.9%. Three train companies recorded reductions – Northern 2.4%, Great Western 1%, Caledonian Sleeper 2.3%. Virgin East Coast recorded growth of 6.7%. Passenger revenue increased by £155m (6.5%) on the same quarter the previous year, a 3.2% increase in revenue per passenger journey with a 1.7% decline in journeys by season ticket.
    Ref: http://orr.gov.uk/__data/assets/pdf_file/0003/39342/passenger-rail-usage-2018-19-q1.pdf
  4. On 14 October, Transport for Wales took over rail operations from Arriva Trains Wales. By 2023, 95% of passenger journeys will be on new higher capacity trains with 285 extra services every weekday and 22% more on Sunday by 2020. Details of improvements, Coming Down the Track, has been published for customers. The 15 year Operator and Development Partner Contract was awarded to Keolis Amey.
  5. The United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change reports that a sharp drop in transport related emissions could be achieved through new technologies and a change in travel behaviour. Switching passengers and freight from cars, lorries and airplanes to buses and trains, rather than reducing travel demand, is recommended, by integrating transport, land use and urban planning.
  6. Eight councils have persistently high nitrogen dioxide limits which must be addressed urgently, reports the Departments for Transport & Environment, Food and Rural Affairs. Bolsover, Bradford, Portsmouth, Broxbourne, Newcastle-under-Lyme, Stoke on Trent, Leicester and Liverpool have roads where significant measures are necessary and have been directed to publish a final plan of action by 31 October 2019. The report is an update on the National Air Quality Plan, which requires 33 councils to submit studies on the steps taken to comply with roadside nitrous oxide emissions.
  7. Network Rail is to consult in November and December on proposals to improve rail services in Croydon, the busiest and most congested part of the rail network. The scheme would provide additional tracks, extra platforms and flyovers.
  8. On 11 October, two public consultations were launched on Phase 2b route of HS2 serving communities between West Midlands, Manchester and Leeds. The consultations close on 21 December and responses are invited on the working draft Environmental Statement and Equality Impact Assessment report.
  9. Crime on the rail network rose 17% in 2017/18 compared to 2016/17 (61,159 crimes in England, Scotland and Wales).
  10. An RAC survey shows 33% of motorists say they are more reliant on cars than 12 months ago (27%). The top reasons given for more car use were the need to transport family members 34%, having a longer commute 32%, family and friends having moved further away 27%. 24% blamed a deterioration in public transport for more car use – the complaints of this group focused on reliability 44%, rising fares 39% and reductions in service 33%.
    Ref: https://www.rac.co.uk/pdfs/report-on-motoring/rac10483_rom-2018_content_web
  11. ScotRail is likely to be penalised as only 8% of journeys are made using smartmedia, and the franchise agreement requires 60% by April 2019.
  12. Spanish trainbuilder, Talgo, has announced six UK locations shortlisted for a manufacturing facility.

Posted in News | Leave a comment

News Update 27 September 2018

Posted on by ptcadmin

  1. The Government review of the railways is to be led by Keith Williams who is deputy chairman of John Lewis, a former chief executive of British Airways and a non-executive director of Transport for London. The review is to look at the structure of the industry, including increasing integration between track and train, regional partnerships and improving value for money for passengers and tax payers.
  2. As a result of the rail industry review, work on the new Cross Country franchise will not proceed, due to the unique geographical nature of the franchise, as awarding the franchise in 2019 could impact the review’s conclusions.
  3. Network Rail has agreed sale of its commercial estate portfolio of 5200 properties for £1.46 billion, which will fund the railway upgrade plan: there will be a loss of £81m per year in revenue from the commercial estate.
  4. 4% of trains failed the industry measure of punctuality in the 12 months to August – the highest level of delays since 2006.
  5. A Transport Committee report concludes that the East Coast franchise failed because revenue projections in the bid were over optimistic and the operator was unable to continue to meet its premium obligations to the Department for Transport. The inquiry concludes setting unrealistic benchmarks in the invitation to tender encouraged overbidding. It was the third franchise failure on the East Coast Mainline since 2006.
  6. The Office of Rail and Road has published an interim report on the May 2018 rail timetable changes, concluding that Network Rail, Govia Thameslink Railway, Northern Rail, the Department for Transport and the Office of Rail and Road all made mistakes contributing to the collapse of rail services.
  7. Contactless payment is now available on all Firstgroup bus services.
  8. A commitment to procure only zero emission buses from 2025 has been given by Birmingham, Greater Manchester and Oxford Council leaders who will now be required to work with fleet operators.
  9. South Western Railway customers with a Touch Smart card can buy 10 journeys at 5% discount offering unlimited travel between the same origin and destination all day, valid for up to 2 months from date of purchase. Customers can also buy 11 monthly season tickets in succession and get a 12th free when paying by direct debit with auto renewal on a touch smartcard.
  10. Passengers on Northern Rail will be eligible for enhanced compensation for train delays from December 2018. Delay repay compensation will include delays from 15 minutes (currently 30) – compensation is 25% of the single fare. This level of compensation is being included in franchises as contracts are renewed.
  11. The Windsor rail link proposes to provide 300 metres to join the two stations at an estimated cost of £370m with a second phase providing a link to Heathrow Airport at a further cost of £1.1bn. The plans have been submitted as part of the market led proposals.
  12. Transport for the North is seeking assurances from Ministers that a £3bn upgrade of the TransPennine rail route does not fall short of the originally agreed outcomes.
  13. The Urban Transport Group has produced a report – Policy futures for urban transport 
    which suggests the way forward is through new enhanced and stable capital and revenue funding for urban transport which recognises the exceptional economic benefits of investing in urban transport as well as the major economic challenges – air quality, climate change and the benefits of technological transformations.
    The 10 key policy changes needed are – a new enhanced and stable capital and revenue funding for urban transport; a national planning framework promoting transit orientated development; an ambitious national active travel strategy; greater recognition of the benefits of supporting bus services; full implementation of the Traffic Management Act 2004; a more ambitious national policy framework on air quality; a national strategic freight policy; a long term investment plan for urban rail networks; increased rail devolution; reforming the regulatory framework with technological change
    Ref: http://www.urbantransportgroup.org/resources/types/reports/policy-futures-urban-transport-2018
  14. Nottingham City Council has extended the use of a bus lane to Ultra Low Emission Vehicles
  15. A million journeys have been made on the 30 mile Borders railway linking Edinburgh and Tweedbank since it opened 3 years ago: the line included 7 new stations

Posted in News | Leave a comment

News Update 25 October 2018

Posted on by ptcadmin

  1. The Government Rail Review will examine commercial models, industry structures, financial matters, fares and industrial relations: the terms of reference were announced by the Secretary of State on 11 October and recommendations should avoid creating negative impacts on the public sector balance sheet and/or additional government expenditure beyond reasonable transition costs. The review should identify the concern of passengers, staff and communities; should consider exploring options for devolution of rail powers; and have a structured approach to engagement with stakeholders across local, national and devolved government and industry bodies.
    The review will conclude with a White Paper in autumn 2019.
  2. A report by KPMG, commissioned by the Confederation of Passenger Transport, has provided a comprehensive analysis of the factors driving demand for bus travel in England. Between 2011/12 and 2016/17 bus patronage in England fell by 4.4% – metropolitan areas 6.6%, non-metropolitan areas 3.9%, London 3.6%. A UK Research Council funded analysis show people are making 16% fewer trips than in 1996. The report concludes that with the right investments and the right set of co-ordinated transport and land use policies, buses can support sustainable and inclusive growth.
    Ref: http://www.cpt-uk.org/_uploads/attachment/4639.PDF
  3. A report by Transport for New Homes highlights that residents are being forced into car dependency because the planning system is not ensuring new developments can be accessed by using alternative forms of transport.
  4. The Mayor of Bristol plans to double the frequency of buses on main routes and wants a citywide flat fare so people travelling from less affluent areas are not penalised.
  5. London North Western Railway is to staff station ticket barriers from first to last trains from 31 October (Northampton, Milton Keynes Central, Bletchley, Hemel Hempstead, Watford Junction, London Euston stations) as is West Midlands Railway (Birmingham Snow Hill, Five Ways and University).

Posted in News | Leave a comment

News Update 4 October 2018

Posted on by ptcadmin

  1. The Department for Transport has published a report by a Task and Finish Group on Taxi and Private Hire Vehicle Licensing which makes 34 recommendations to Government on overhauling legislation. Licensing authorities should be able to set higher standards in safety and all other aspects. Only 46 of 316 local authorities were able to provide detailed information about drivers’ criminal histories and at least 865 drivers in 38 licensing authorities in a survey had successfully applied for or renewed their licence despite having a criminal conviction.
    Recommendation 2 is that Government should legislate for national minimum standards for taxi and private hire vehicle licensing (drivers, vehicles and operators). Recommendation 5 is that Government should introduce a statutory definition of ‘plying for hire’ and ‘prebooked’. Recommendation 8 is to allow local licensing authorities, where a need is proven through a public interest test, to set a cap on the number of taxi and private hire vehicles they license. Recommendation 11 is that all taxi and private hire journeys should start and/or end within the area for which the driver, vehicle and operator are licensed. Recommendation 17 is that all licensed vehicles should be fitted with audio and visual CCTV. Recommendation 20 is that all drivers must be subject to enhanced DBS and barred lists checks. Recommendation 24 is that Government must establish a mandatory database of all licensed taxi and private hire drivers. Recommendation 27 is that Government must review the assessment process of passenger carrying vehicle (PCV) licensed drivers. Recommendation 29 is to ensure drivers undergo disability, equality and awareness training and recommendation 30 is that licensing authorities with unmet demand for wheelchair accessible vehicles should consider how existing powers should address this, including a minimum number for the fleet. Recommendation 34 is that the case for restricting hours worked should be reviewed.
  2. Network Rail has published an updated list of projects for which it is seeking 3rd party funding, financing and delivery, ranging in value from less than £10 million to more than £100 million, for potential delivery in Control Period 6 (2019-24). Projects include Cumbrian Coast Line upgrade, Ely Area Remodelling, coastal resilience work at Dawlish, and refurbishment of Leeds Station and reopening to passenger traffic of the freight only Ashington, Blyth and Tyne line.
  3. The 10 city regions in England shortlisted for a share of £840m public transport funding from the Transforming Cities Fund are Derby and Nottingham, Leicester, the North East, Norwich, Plymouth, Portsmouth, Southampton, Sheffield, Stoke on Trent and West Yorkshire.
  4. New franchises will require train operators to make it easier for passengers to claim compensation, including one click systems on smartphones and smartcards.
  5. A smartphone app, currently being trialled by four train companies is to be extended to all train companies to enable people with a disability to book assistance.
  6. The scheme providing additional compensation for season ticket holders by Northern Rail has been extended to non-season ticket holders who have travelled 3 days a week or more.
  7. Transport for London is consulting on reductions to 33 routes in central London, enabling the network to grow in outer London where improvements are most needed.

Posted in News | Leave a comment

Transport Knowledge Hub Weekly Update

Posted on by ptcadmin

New railway review offers Grayling breathing space

A “sweeping review to transform Britain’s railways” was launched by Transport Secretary Chris Grayling last week.

The Department for Transport says that the review is the “most significant since privatisation” and will consider ambitious recommendations for reform.

Led by independent chair Keith Williams, the former British Airways chief executive and deputy chairman of John Lewis Partnership, the review will build on the government’s strategy of bringing track and train closer together to reduce disruption and improve accountability. It will also consider regional partnerships and how innovation can improve services and value for money for passengers.

The announcement follows a difficult period for the railways, with the failure of the East Coast intercity franchise and the subsequent failure of the GTR and Northern to deliver the May timetable. Commentators have suggested that the review will buy some time for Grayling and his government colleagues.

Responding to news of the review, Norman Baker, who served as a transport minister for the coalition government, said: “It gives the semblance of action, outsources the whole issue to someone outside the department, and gives everyone in the department, ministers and civil servants alike, a breathing space of several months until the review reports, during which time they can bat any awkward question away on the basis that the review will examine it.”

While the review promises to be the “most significant since privatisation”, it certainly won’t be the first. There have been a number of significant reviews in the current decade. “It’s almost become a part of our DNA that we must have a rail review once every few years,” commented one Whitehall insider.

It’s now two and a half years since Nicola Shaw completed her review of Network Rail and it’s just under six years since Richard Brown delivered his review of rail franchising in January 2013. And the McNulty rail review, published in May 2011, now seems like a distant memory.

John Nelson, a former executive at British Rail, believes that sidelining McNulty’s “excellent” report was the government’s worst single oversight.

McNulty’s report demonstrated clearly and for all but the purblind to ignore that the fragmented structure that separated train operations from infrastructure was costing the taxpayer millions,” said Nelson. “It was sub-optimal in just about every respect.”

Nelson believes that the review is unnecessary. “Grayling might need it for political  cover and to buy some respite whilst giving  the impression of moving things forward,” he said. “In fact it will almost certainly delay rather than accelerate the actions that need to be put in place.”

Baker questioned the appointment of Williams. “He has no obvious knowledge of rail and it is a tall order to expect him to absorb all he needs to absorb before writing his report,” he said.

He continued: “I am sure, all await his conclusions with interest. Time will tell whether his report is a catalyst for major change, or another worthy document to add to the dust-covered volumes on the top shelf at Great Minister House.”

Keith Williams will be supported by an external panel and will report next year. The government will publish a white paper on the review’s recommendations, with the implementation of reforms planned to start from 2020.

The panel will consider all parts of the rail industry, from the current franchising system and industry structures, accountability, and value for money for passengers and taxpayers.

About the Author

This post was written by Robert Jack. Robert is Managing Editor and Publisher of Passenger Transport. He has worked as a journalist, editor and publisher in the passenger transport sector for 18 years. He has played a key role in many transport-related conferences and events.

Join the conversation

The success of the Transport Knowledge Hub relies on your input. Follow us onTwitterLinkedIn and join our LinkedIn group.

Copyright © 2018 Transport Knowledge Hub | All rights reserved.

Posted in News | Leave a comment

News Update 6 September 2018

Posted on by ptcadmin

1. The DfT has asked the Office of Rail and Road to monitor the internal organisation of Network Rail following the creation of its devolved route structure. This is part of the Government response to the Office of Rail and Road draft determination of the Periodic Review published in June relating to Control Period 6. The Government’s Statement of Funds Available, published in October 2017, committed the Government to enabling around £47.96bn of spending on rail infrastructure in Control Period 6, £34.7bn of which is direct Government grant.
Government response to the periodic review 2018 draft determination is available at
https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/government-response-to-orrs-draft-determination
2. The opening of Crossrail (Elizabeth Line) has been delayed from December 2018 to Autumn 2019 to complete testing on the central section between Paddington and Abbey Wood.
3. The Department for Transport is extending the current Great Western Rail franchise to April 2020 and plans to negotiate a direct award for the following 2 years, including an option to extend for a further 2 years; the planned new specification has been deferred.
4. Legislation for the second section of HS2 north of Birmingham is to be delayed for a year: the Bill will now be tabled in 2020.
5. Scottish ministers have confirmed public sector bodies will be able to bid for the next ScotRail franchise, due to commence in 2025.
6. Rotala owned Diamond Bus has now been fined £9075 by the Traffic Commissioner for poor punctuality, and this will be returned to passengers in Kidderminster in the form of free or reduced price travel: the fine is based on £33 for each of 275 vehicles the company is authorised to operate based on section 155 of the Transport Act 2000. The company is appealing against the decision to the Upper Tribunal.
7. Edinburgh is to review the location of the city’s 2500 bus stops with the aim of locating them more than 400 metres apart to reduce the number of stops. Average speeds on Lothian buses have reduced 7.7% between 2006 and 2018.

Posted in News | Leave a comment

News Update 16 August 2018

Posted on by ptcadmin

1. The Government and the Rail Delivery Group have published a joint rail data action plan: more real time data is to be available to enable the development of intelligent travel apps providing information for passengers about services and delays, seats and on-board facilities.
2. Regulated fares will increase 3.2% in January 2019.
3. Train companies are making changes in September to make ticketing simpler – ‘Route Direct’ or ‘Any Permitted’ will be removed, and ‘London Terminals’ will specify the station.
4. Greater Manchester Combined Authority wants the Government to act to prevent taxi and private hire drivers licensed in other parts of the country from operating within the conurbation.
5. Which? Reports that in July 2018, only 23% of people told its customer insight tracker that they trust train travel – a 6% reduction on July 2017. An analysis of Transport Focus data found that passenger satisfaction has stagnated over the past 10 years.
6. Stadler is the preferred bidder to supply 71 trains for Wales and Borders to be introduced from 2022.
7. The Transport Secretary has decided against splitting the Great Western Rail franchise – an option that was included in the consultation.
8. A study by Sheffield Hallam and Sheffield Universities for the Joseph Rowntree Foundation looked at transport issues facing out of work residents in four areas of Greater Manchester and Leeds and concluded transport is a significant barrier to work once the trade-off between the cost, reliability and speed of public transport and the prospect of low wage, insecure work was considered. High bus fares, poor coordination of services and the lack of reliability seriously hamper the ability of low income groups to commute to more distant jobs. The report suggests bus franchising to improve the availability, affordability and reliability of services; planning processes to ensure new housing and developments are well served by public transport; and transport and employment policy is integrated so that employment support providers help clients understand travel choices available.
9. 8 electric single deck Volvo buses have been introduced in Harrogate using overhead masts installed at bus stops for charging in the bus station. A 7 minute charge provides power for 35 miles.
10. Transport for the West Midlands is inviting tenders for the supply of 18 battery trams, with an option for a further 32 for its Metro services.
11. Spelthorne Borough Council is promoting a light rail scheme costing £375m to link Staines and Heathrow Airport funded by the private sector. Plans have been submitted to the DfT in response to the request for market led proposals.

Posted in News | Leave a comment

News Update 10 August 2018

Posted on by ptcadmin

1. The decision to delay some rail timetable changes will result in South Western Railway’s franchise being renegotiated as it will be unable to meet the commitment to deliver 30% more seats on trains into Waterloo from December 2018.
2. British Social Attitudes Survey 2017: Public attitudes towards transport
This is a statistical report by the Department for Transport: the survey includes issues such as willingness to change current travel behaviours, attitudes to the environment and transport, congestion, and views on road safety.
The proportion of people saying they never travel by train has reduced, but infrequent travel (less than once per week) has increased. Frequent travellers (1 to 5 times per week) has hardly changed. A similar pattern exists for travel by bus or as a car passenger. Opposition to using the bus instead of the car for short trips has declined (45% 2016, 38% 2017)
Report available at https://www.gov.uk/government/statistics/british-social-attitudes-survey-2017
3. Most of the trackbed on the TransPennine route between York and Manchester is to be relaid accounting for one third of the expenditure on rail enhancements nationwide in the period 2019/20 to 2023/24
4. The National Infrastructure Commission has produced a report National Infrastructure Assessment suggesting the Government should introduce new local funding mechanisms to help local authorities raise funds for transport and other infrastructure.
5. Network Rail has submitted plans to the Secretary of State to construct phase 2 of the East West Rail project between Bicester and Bedford.
6. The Government has announced a £780m investment on the East Coast mainline by 2020, improving platforms, tracks, signals and junctions.
7. A consortium has submitted a market led proposal to build a rail line – Windsor Link Railway – to connect the South Western and Great Western rail lines, linking Slough – Staines, and a second phase will connect Heathrow.
8. A proposal, HS4Air, to connect HS1 at Ashford and HS2 North West of London, serving Heathrow and Gatwick airports, is to be submitted to the Department for Transport in response to the request for rail proposals.
9. The Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government has published a paper reviewing Local Enterprise Partnerships and setting out details of reforms. The government remains committed to Local Enterprise Partnerships and seeks to strengthen leadership and capability, improve accountability, manage risk and provide clarity on geography.
https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/strengthened-local-enterprise-partnerships
10. The Traffic Commissioners have published their Annual Report to the Secretary of State for 2017-18.
https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/traffic-commissioners-annual-report-2017-to-2018

Posted in News | Leave a comment

← Older posts