News Update 27 September 2018

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  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
  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

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