News Updates

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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.

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