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All across the Great Western territory => The Wider Picture in the United Kingdom => Topic started by: grahame on March 20, 2020, 11:54:46 am

Title: Coronavirus: principles for amending transport timetables
Post by: grahame on March 20, 2020, 11:54:46 am
From Transport Focus and mirrored on our site at

Coronavirus: principles for amending transport timetables

In the coming days/weeks it is likely that public transport timetables will be reduced, reflecting both lower demand and the availability of staff. This is a pragmatic and reasonable reaction provided that the remaining ‘product’ can still meet the core needs of consumers.

The following are some principles to take into account when revising timetables.

1. Network planning
• Coordination: where several companies serve the same market, efforts must be made to coordinate timetables rather than each being introduced in isolation.
• Consistency of approach: a situation where one operator may offer a standard Saturday level of service, another a Sunday level, and a third a modified weekday service is confusing to passengers.
• Relaxation of ticketing rules to give consumers a better choice of services. For example:
o relaxing operator-specific restrictions (the ability to use any operator’s service)
o relaxing time restrictions when services are withdrawn. For example, if the first off-peak service is withdrawn then allow passengers with off-peak tickets to board the previous one rather than having to wait for the next scheduled off-peak train.

2. Timetables
• Frequency: service frequency adopted must be sufficient to meet the demand but must also be regular enough to maintain reasonable access to essential services (for example healthcare, and supermarkets).
• Capacity/rolling stock (rail): the number of carriages provided should not just reflect levels of demand, it should also take into account the need for passengers to keep a safe distance from each other. This will likely mean a degree of over-provision.
• First/last/night services: while demand will inevitably be less at such times the needs of key workers must be factored in. Some people will still need to get to work/home outside of core hours. Existing first and last services should be maintained – a Sunday service frequency may be OK, but Sunday service start-up and close-down times may not be.
• Saturday and Sunday: service patterns must again recognise the needs of key workers and of providing access to socially necessary services.
• Stopping patterns: in most instances inserting additional stops to enhance overall connectivity should take priority over journey time/speed.
• Resilience: focus on providing a robust service that can be reliably provided given likely/potential staff sickness.

3. Connections
• While recognising that outgoing services cannot be held indefinitely for the arrival of the late incoming service, there should be a greater use of discretion by operators (with a necessary allowance made in regulatory/performance regimes). The decision whether to hold a connection must take into account the frequency of the service (for example if an hourly frequency, it is important to hold connections for longer).
• Rail connections should be held in the following circumstances:
o on branch lines where the outgoing train’s main purpose is to pick up
passengers from the main line. Running a service on time but empty is
of no use to passengers
o where it is a connection with the last service of the day.
• When services are to be withdrawn, or long-standing connections broken, efforts must be made to ensure ongoing connectivity for those places most affected.

4. Accessibility
• Any move to hub-and-spoke service patterns must ensure that the key interchange points selected are accessible.
• Revised timetables must indicate where disabled access is available.

5. Communication
• Where feasible, effort should be made to engage users and/or representative bodies. This could include asking agencies/representatives for evidence on which to base decisions, consultation on key changes, and creating mechanisms to review/react to any unintended consequences arising from the changes.
• All changes must be well publicised using a variety of channels.
• Consistency: every effort should be made to ensure that there is a ‘single
source of the truth’ on timetable information rather than different channels
giving different information on the same service.
• Push/publicise ‘live-running’ sources of data.
• Where a train is withdrawn from the timetable on which passengers have
already bought tickets, efforts should be made to get in touch with those passengers beforehand. Don’t let passengers turn up and then find out about the cancellation.

I have taken the unusual step of quoting in full as public information; pretty sure they won't be upset about me going beyond the normally accepted copyright limits ...

HUGE lot of sense in the above!

Title: Re: Coronavirus: principles for amending transport timetables
Post by: Marlburian on March 20, 2020, 12:16:54 pm
Just 13 vehicles in Tilehurst Station car park this morning at 0915, and I suspect that a couple may have "over-nighters".

(I'd popped in to get a copy of Metro, of which there were understandably many copies.)

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