Great Western Coffee Shop

All across the Great Western territory => Looking forward - after Coronavirus to 2045 => Topic started by: grahame on August 26, 2020, 09:35:05 am



Title: Beyond current Emergency Measures - where will we be on 21st September?
Post by: grahame on August 26, 2020, 09:35:05 am
From Rail Business UK (https://www.railwaygazette.com/uk/train-operators-resist-proposed-emergency-remedial-measures-agreements/57221.article) with the rest of the article hidden ...

Quote
UK: With the current Emergency Measures Agreements with franchised passenger train operating companies set to expire on September 20, industry sources report that some TOCs have been ‘resistant’ to the terms of the successor Emergency Remedial Measures Agreements proposed by the Department for Transport.

But the questions DOES arise - "what will be the operating and financial arrangements in less than 4 weeks from now" and "what are the various parties looking to get from them"


Title: Re: Beyond current Emergency Measures - where will we be on 21st September?
Post by: IndustryInsider on August 26, 2020, 10:16:17 am
One thing is for sure, the DfT holds all the cards!


Title: Re: Beyond current Emergency Measures - where will we be on 21st September?
Post by: Electric train on August 26, 2020, 01:37:41 pm
One thing is for sure, the DfT holds all the cards!

Problem is the cards are all jokers  ;D


Title: Re: Beyond current Emergency Measures - where will we be on 21st September?
Post by: grahame on August 26, 2020, 05:31:50 pm
From the Institute of Economic affairs (https://iea.org.uk/a-tory-renationalisation/) (quoting just extracts from a longer article to give members a flavour of the key points):

Quote
Attention is now turning to what the government will do when the current “Emergency Measures Agreements” – hastily put in place to ensure trains kept running when passenger numbers nosedived by 95% as lockdown began – comes to an end in September.

One suggestion is that the government is offering operators deals on such wafer-thin margins that they will struggle to even cover their overheads, in effect forcing private operators off the tracks. The pleas of train companies for government to write into contracts incentives for them to regrow passenger numbers have apparently been rejected. This is utterly perplexing given the DfT is calling for innovation as it appears devoid of any purposeful ideas itself.

Then came the idea that Network Rail (the state-owned infrastructure successor to Railtrack), which looks after 20,000 miles of track, could be put in charge of running the entire system, including letting contracts for passenger services.

Rail executives understandably baulked at the prospect of a company which carries with it a history of profligacy and delays – its upgrade to the Great Western mainline trebling in cost and arriving years late – being put in total charge. Its corporate culture is entirely focused on looking after the track infrastructure, not passengers, but it is the latter that is crucial to the commercial recovery of the sector left reeling from the impact of Covid-19.

Quote
The ability to spot an opportunity, take a risk and reap the rewards will be crucial to the railway’s future. In my own small way I know this only too well having just set up the UK’s first ever multi train timetabled dedicated tourist rail service in North Yorkshire.

In its first week the business – Rail Charter Services Ltd – has received widespread press coverage both at home and abroad. There has been enthusiastic support from councils, MPs, tourism authorities and local businesses. By adopting a true customer centric approach, lateral entrepreneurial thinking – and a strict zero tolerance approach to “jobsworths” and “nae-sayers” – we saw bookings grow 550% in the first week! This is what can be achieved if only ....


Quote
In the coming weeks and months, the DfT will decide what will replace the current short-term contracts it has with train operators and will set out a plan for long-term reform of the railway. While there may be a role for the state in light-touch regulation and considerations of underwriting uneconomic routes for social, political or economic development reasons, I believe that this review should halt the creeping renationalisation of the railway and unleash the market discovery process – which may lead to mergers and vertical integration – if the Conservatives wish to reclaim the mantle as the party of free enterprise.


Adrian Quine is an entrepreneur and former BBC World Service broadcast journalist. He is a director of “Rail Charter Services Ltd” and developed the concept for this service. He was one of the founders of Open Access operator Alliance Rail Holdings Ltd, now owned by Arriva Group PLC. He has written a number of think tank policy papers and briefs and Telegraph op-eds about transport.


Title: Re: Beyond current Emergency Measures - where will we be on 21st September?
Post by: southwest on August 26, 2020, 07:25:13 pm
I think it's certain we will see a temporary reduction in services as it won't be financially viable to keep the current normal service levels running if the custom isn't there. It would certainly be a good time to follow the airline industries example and remove older locomotives from the fleet or place them in long term storage.  It could mean most of the Class 14x's are gone for good.

I do think 2021's price rise should be scrapped, and TOC's should be allowed more flexibility in their ticketing options, be it prices or choices for at least the next 3 years to bring custom back to the railways. 

In terms of the rumors of mass culling of regional railway lines and halving of intercity services, I don't think it will be exactly like that. But I do think the railway as a whole are going to have to be a bit more creative, such as joining up shorter services and making better use of available rolling stock.


Title: Re: Beyond current Emergency Measures - where will we be on 21st September?
Post by: Sixty3Closure on August 29, 2020, 01:34:12 am
It does feel the pandemic offers an opportunity to redraw so many things - not just trains. Unfortunately I'm not sure the current government gets it and seems wedded to the old way of doing things. The more I read about their wanting office workers to get back to their desks the more it feels a missed opportunity. Yes there is a financial cost but that money not being spent in London, for example, could be spent elsewhere.

Revitalise local high streets, simplify the ticketing system, carnet type tickets, invest in broadband rather than HS2. Move people out of the over crowded south east. Instead all I read from most of the government is an attempt to return to 'before'. My limited knowledge of Network Rail based on people who have worked there is that they really don't understand customers and rail users and are probably the last company to come up with new ideas.

Apart from it being the government's own legal regulations that stop me returning to the office why would I want to go back to travelling on overcrowded and expensive trains in the early hours of the morning.


Title: Re: Beyond current Emergency Measures - where will we be on 21st September?
Post by: grahame on August 30, 2020, 07:14:59 pm
From Rail Business UK (https://www.railwaygazette.com/uk/train-operators-resist-proposed-emergency-remedial-measures-agreements/57221.article) with the rest of the article hidden ...

Quote
UK: With the current Emergency Measures Agreements with franchised passenger train operating companies set to expire on September 20, industry sources report that some TOCs have been ‘resistant’ to the terms of the successor Emergency Remedial Measures Agreements proposed by the Department for Transport.

But the questions DOES arise - "what will be the operating and financial arrangements in less than 4 weeks from now" and "what are the various parties looking to get from them"


City A.M. (https://www.cityam.com/row-over-train-operators-finances-threatens-to-hamper-back-to-work-plan/) has some thoughts and perhaps some information

Quote
The government’s back to work campaign, due to launch this week, could be derailed amid a row brewing with train operators.

In March the coronavirus outbreak prompted ministers to take the UK’s trains under emergency measures for six months to protect them from any losses incurred by the 95 per cent slump in passenger numbers.

Whitehall officials are scrambling to finalise new contracts called Emergency Recovery Measures Agreements (Ermas), according to the Sunday Telegraph.

The government spent around £3.5bn between March and mid-June propping up operators’ finances but ministers are desperate to keep the taxpayers’ bill to a minimum.

The Department for Transport has reportedly earmarked four networks for less favourable terms so as not to have too big an impact on the Treasury. The Sunday Telegraph reported that South Western Railway, Transpennine Express, Greater Anglia and commuter line C2C will be offered wafer-thin profit margins.

Greater Anglia and C2C are said to be particularly aggrieved by the deal which is underpinned by a “flawed” mechanism, linking payments to operate the lines to London employment figures.


Title: Re: Beyond current Emergency Measures - where will we be on 21st September?
Post by: grahame on September 01, 2020, 09:07:15 am
From RailNews (https://www.railnews.co.uk/news/2020/09/01-emergency-measures-extended-on-great.html)

Quote
THE Department for Transport has extended the Emergency Measures Agreement on Great Western Railway from 20 September to at least 26 June next year.

The EMAs protect franchises from the financial impact of the pandemic, because all costs and revenues are handled directly by the DfT, with a management fee paid to the franchise holder.

GWR’s owner FirstGroup also said that the EMA could be extended again. If not, the terms of the franchise until its expiry in March 2023 could be renegotiated with a ‘revenue rebasing’. The expiry date of March 2023 can also be extended by a further 12 months.

FirstGroup chief executive Matthew Gregory said: ‘We welcome the news of the extension of the EMA for GWR. This demonstrates the essential nature of GWR’s services to the communities it serves, and provides important clarity and continuity for our customers, employees and wider stakeholders.’


Title: Re: Beyond current Emergency Measures - where will we be on 21st September?
Post by: grahame on September 01, 2020, 09:12:35 am
And official announcement via https://www.firstgroupplc.com/investors/regulatory-announcements.aspx

from within that:

Quote
Extension of GWR Emergency Measures Agreement
Released : 01.09.2020

FirstGroup plc (‘the Group’)

Statement re extension of Great Western Railway Emergency Measures Agreement

We are pleased to announce that the Department for Transport (‘DfT’) has today exercised its option to extend the Emergency Measures Agreement (‘EMA’) for Great Western Railway (‘GWR’) until at least 26 June 2021.

On 30 March 2020 we announced that we had signed an agreement with the DfT to continue operating GWR until March 2023, with a possible one-year extension.

At that time, we also announced that the franchise would run under EMA terms for at least the first six months in response to the coronavirus outbreak. That time period is now expiring and therefore the DfT has exercised its option for the EMA to continue under the same terms and conditions as previously. Under the EMA, the DfT waive our revenue, cost and contingent capital risk and GWR are paid a fixed management fee with the potential for a small performance-based fee.

Before the end of the EMA period in June 2021, the DfT has an option to further extend the EMA. GWR also has the right to revert to operating with revenue risk but with protection provided though the Forecast Revenue Mechanism until at least 2023. The franchise agreement also makes provision to agree a revenue rebasing which would apply at the end of the EMA term.

The parent company support and performance bond commitments associated with GWR are each £10m, and cash ring-fenced within the train operating company was £266m as at 31 March 2020, out of a First Rail total of £612m.

GWR’s existing EMA was signed on the same day as the new franchise agreement in March, and the DfT’s option to review the EMA formed part of that contract. This process and timing is different from our other three rail franchises which were already on established franchise agreements before adopting EMAs in response to the pandemic. Discussions are underway with the DfT about these franchises which are under EMAs until 20 September 2020. Further updates will be provided to the market as appropriate.

Commenting, Matthew Gregory, Chief Executive said:

“We welcome the news of the extension of the EMA for GWR. This demonstrates the essential nature of GWR’s services to the communities it serves, and provides important clarity and continuity for our customers, employees and wider stakeholders. Across the network we are increasing service levels to provide more capacity as schools recommence and work and leisure facilities reopen, and we are taking all necessary steps to ensure our passengers continue to travel safely. This includes running services with more carriages to allow for distancing, enhanced cleaning and sanitisation of our trains and ensuring more customer-facing employees are readily available. We look forward to delivering further plans that will bring improvements for passengers over the next few months and into the future.”

About GWR

Great Western Railway provides high speed, commuter, regional and branch line train services and help more than 100 million passengers reach their destinations every year - across South Wales, the West Country, the Cotswolds, and large parts of Southern England. The network is currently seeing the biggest investment since Brunel so we can offer more trains, more seats, and shorter, more frequent journeys and continue the network’s heritage of helping connect more businesses to new markets. Through a series of initiatives, we aim to be a good neighbour to the communities we serve and are committed to making a positive social impact in those regions.

Since 2015, GWR has delivered new fleets of modern intercity and local trains and successfully introduced the largest timetable change in decades in December 2019. Building on these improvements, GWR recently took delivery of the UK’s first tri-mode train able to run on overhead and third-rail electric lines, as well as under its own diesel power, which will enter service next year. The franchise is also due to introduce new more flexible tickets for customers who do not commute every day, such as discounted part-time season tickets and the extension of paperless pay-as-you-go schemes.


Title: Re: Beyond current Emergency Measures - where will we be on 21st September?
Post by: grahame on September 01, 2020, 11:43:55 am
And the GWR "take" to Stakeholders ...

Quote
Dear Graham
 
You may have seen media reports following FirstGroup’s announcement of an extension of GWR’s Emergency Measures Agreement.  In case you haven’t I have included a link to the report in the Evening Standard below.   
 
We are pleased that the Government has taken this decision. It ensures that we can continue to operate during the current situation, providing services that are essential to restarting the economy.   Our responsibility is to run a service that our customers and our partners can rely on, and we have taken sensible measures to make sure customers can travel by train with confidence. This means we can continue to run this key part of the nation’s railway in a safe and sustainable way as the country takes the next steps in responding to the situation.
 
Importantly, it also means we can look to the future and continue to develop and deliver our plans for improvements for our customers and communities. We look forward to working with you on this and we are grateful for the support and encouragement that you have given to our teams as they have worked to keep services running throughout the last six months.
 
Best wishes
 
Matthew
 
Matthew Golton | Interim Managing Director | Great Western Railway
Milford House | 1 Milford Street | Swindon | SN1 1HL


Title: Re: Beyond current Emergency Measures - where will we be on 21st September?
Post by: grahame on September 01, 2020, 03:40:38 pm
And the views from the RMT (https://www.rmt.org.uk/news/rmt-responds-to-govt-extension-of-emergency-measures-on-gwr/)

Quote
Senior Assistant General Secretary Mick Lynch said;

"It's vital that the Government continue to finance our railways as the broken privatised system has shown it simply cannot withstand a crisis. With Ministers pushing their back to work drive we need stability and long-term assurance and planning rather than ad-hoc short-term emergency measures. The private, franchise system is not able to deliver that as the current de-facto nationalisation of the railways has shown as clear as day.

"What is completely unacceptable though is these bailouts all taking place behind closed doors with zero transparency and zero accountability to the taxpayer.

"Also if these bailouts are done on an individual operator by operator basis it will entrench the fragmentation of our railways when what we need is a publicly owned railway funded in the national interest not those of privatised shareholders."


Title: Re: Beyond current Emergency Measures - where will we be on 21st September?
Post by: southwest on September 11, 2020, 02:03:22 pm
And the views from the RMT (https://www.rmt.org.uk/news/rmt-responds-to-govt-extension-of-emergency-measures-on-gwr/)

Quote
Senior Assistant General Secretary Mick Lynch said;

"It's vital that the Government continue to finance our railways as the broken privatised system has shown it simply cannot withstand a crisis. With Ministers pushing their back to work drive we need stability and long-term assurance and planning rather than ad-hoc short-term emergency measures. The private, franchise system is not able to deliver that as the current de-facto nationalisation of the railways has shown as clear as day.

"What is completely unacceptable though is these bailouts all taking place behind closed doors with zero transparency and zero accountability to the taxpayer.

"Also if these bailouts are done on an individual operator by operator basis it will entrench the fragmentation of our railways when what we need is a publicly owned railway funded in the national interest not those of privatised shareholders."

Although these are no bailout's are they, such a stupid mantra from the RMT. The last railway bailout was WW2, if the government didn't provide this emergency funding all the TOC's would just hand back the franchises and the government's emergency operator would be running them.

Hopefully this new deal will put GWR on a level footing and by next year should be back on it's feet again. I find it interesting why only GWR have got this extension and no others have, as of yet anyway.


Title: Re: Beyond current Emergency Measures - where will we be on 21st September?
Post by: IndustryInsider on September 11, 2020, 02:15:19 pm
I find it interesting why only GWR have got this extension and no others have, as of yet anyway.

Simplicity basically.  The DA3 (Direct Award 3) deal was signed pretty much as the Emergency Measures Agreement was being enforced, so comparatively easy to arrange a deal.


Title: Re: Beyond current Emergency Measures - where will we be on 21st September?
Post by: grahame on September 17, 2020, 06:11:18 pm
And from the TSSA (https://www.tssa.org.uk/en/whats-new/news/index.cfm/tssa-slams-government-over-rail-shareholders-covid-payouts)

Quote
TSSA Slams Government Over Rail Shareholders Covid Payouts 
17 September 2020

TSSA General Secretary, Manuel Cortes, has attacked the Government over the "national scandal" of rail franchise shareholders receiving millions in profits under the Coronavirus Emergency Measures Agreements (EMA's).

The EMA?s - which are due to end on Sunday (20th September) - saw all franchises in England bailed out, removing the commercial risk for train operating companies, while continuing to guarantee management fees. 

Today Labour?s Shadow Transport Secretary, Jim McMahon, told MPs - ??100m has been paid out to shareholders, many of which are foreign governments?. He also criticised Transport Secretary, Grant Shapps, for failing to update Parliament about plans for the railways once EMA arrangements expire. 

GWR carries on until next spring in EMA ... but have we any other announcements yet?


Title: Re: Beyond current Emergency Measures - where will we be on 21st September?
Post by: eightf48544 on September 18, 2020, 10:18:49 am
Up the creek without a paddle.


Title: Re: Beyond current Emergency Measures - where will we be on 21st September?
Post by: IndustryInsider on September 18, 2020, 11:21:40 am
Quote from: grahame
GWR carries on until next spring in EMA ... but have we any other announcements yet?

Not as yet!

https://www.bbc.com/news/business-54197168


Title: Re: Beyond current Emergency Measures - where will we be on 21st September?
Post by: grahame on September 18, 2020, 02:24:52 pm
Revitalise local high streets, simplify the ticketing system, carnet type tickets, invest in broadband rather than HS2. Move people out of the over crowded south east. Instead all I read from most of the government is an attempt to return to 'before'. ...

From City am (https://www.cityam.com/plan-for-flexible-uk-rail-tickets-now-facing-a-delay/)

Quote
Plans by train operators to provide flexible season tickets to cater for people returning to the office part-time have been reportedly been stifled by government inactivity.

Rail companies last month submitted plans to the Department for Transport to offer Carnet-style ticketing, which would allow commuters to use up their rail trips over a certain period of time.

However, the Sunday Times reports that rail companies have been told by the government that the proposal will not be approved in time for January when ticket prices are set to rise.

Rail companies have proposed the new option as season tickets only make financial sense for commuters if they travel at least three times a week.


Title: Re: Beyond current Emergency Measures - where will we be on 21st September?
Post by: grahame on September 18, 2020, 02:26:40 pm
From a (different) article in City am (https://www.cityam.com/rail-nationalisations-on-the-timetable-for-this-weekend/)

Quote
A number of rail networks could be heading for nationalisation by the government this week as emergency contracts set up during the coronavirus crisis come to an end.

Sources told the BBC that talks between the government and nine private operators were ongoing, but that it could leave some franchises falling back into public hands if a deal cannot be found.

Similar emergency arrangements could be extended to leave private operators in place, however some may choose not to continue with the plans.


The Department for Transport (DfT) declined to comment.

Transport secretary Grant Shapps declined to give MPs an update on the situation in the House of Commons yesterday, saying the talks could not be discussed ?in public?.


Title: Re: Beyond current Emergency Measures - where will we be on 21st September?
Post by: eightonedee on September 18, 2020, 08:41:28 pm
Quote
From City am

Quote
Plans by train operators to provide flexible season tickets to cater for people returning to the office part-time have been reportedly been stifled by government inactivity.

Rail companies last month submitted plans to the Department for Transport to offer Carnet-style ticketing, which would allow commuters to use up their rail trips over a certain period of time.

However, the Sunday Times reports that rail companies have been told by the government that the proposal will not be approved in time for January when ticket prices are set to rise.

Rail companies have proposed the new option as season tickets only make financial sense for commuters if they travel at least three times a wee

WHAT!!!! How difficult is it to say - yes that's a good idea, just what we need to encourage rail travel if part working at home becomes widespread as seems to be happening?


Title: Re: Beyond current Emergency Measures - where will we be on 21st September?
Post by: ellendune on September 18, 2020, 10:17:15 pm
WHAT!!!! How difficult is it to say - yes that's a good idea, just what we need to encourage rail travel if part working at home becomes widespread as seems to be happening?

Ahh but the Treasury will want a full in depth analysis to say how much it will cost - even though we haven't a clue how many people will continue working from home full time or part time when this is over. So DfT will need to appoint consultants to do this analysis. 


Title: Re: Beyond current Emergency Measures - where will we be on 21st September?
Post by: MVR S&T on September 18, 2020, 10:23:52 pm
The way things have panned out today, looks like 'after Coronavirus' wil be somtime in 2021 at the earliest, so sorting out the part time commutes is urgent and a long term measure.


Title: Re: Beyond current Emergency Measures - where will we be on 21st September?
Post by: stuving on September 19, 2020, 12:33:20 am
We never had a thread on Emergency Measures Agreements per se, but this one at least has that in its title. I'd not seen any mention of them being made public, but they are there as of 8th September, filed with the franchise agreements they interrupted. In GWR's case the EMA is now interrupting the next direct award, of course; I can't see that so I suppose it's still unpublished.

The EMA for GWR (https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/915300/great-western-emergency-measures_agreement.pdf) is "only" 120 pages, but then it is written as a set of amendments to the existing contract, itself extended as a result (hence the start of the new one has to be delayed for that to make sense). As with laws, that makes it hard to understand. However, the whole of schedule 8 on payments has been replaced with a new one, so that is at least complete (but still not easy to understand!). Some element of the incentive payment mechanism seems to be still present, but all the numbers were always redacted out of that anyway.

There is a page that I think gives access to most the franchises (https://www.gov.uk/search/guidance-and-regulation?parent=%2Ftransport%2Frail-franchising&topic=588f7593-4dd8-46c2-bcaa-c3e99c28d541), but I don't think all the franchise agreements, let alone the EMAs, are actually there.


Title: Re: Beyond current Emergency Measures - where will we be on 21st September?
Post by: grahame on September 19, 2020, 08:56:16 am

WHAT!!!! How difficult is it to say - yes that's a good idea, just what we need to encourage rail travel if part working at home becomes widespread as seems to be happening?

They have a problem with the algorithm ....
"70% of weekly" type algorithm?  Would sometimes decimate income from people travelling twice in a week
"250% of daily type algorithm? Would sometimes work out higher than the weekly season

They have very little scope for coming up with a price on certain flows that is attarctive and people like without decimating the one day a week traffic / making people who travel just one day a week upset unless they cut there fares too.

Chippenham to Paddington
Daily   183.00
Weekly   290.20
Algorithms give 203.15 or 455.00 for 3 days

Peterborough to Kings Cross
Daily   118.20
Weekly   205.60
Algorithms give 149.90 or 295.50 for 3 days
or excluding LNER
Daily   63.10
Weekly   173.40
Algorithms give 121.0 or 157.75 for 3 days

Henley on Thames to Paddington (not Reading)
Daily   32.60
Weekly   100.90
Algorithms give 70.63 or 81.50 for 3 days

Sevenoaks to Charing Cross
Daily   24.60
Weekly   92.70
Algorithms give 64.90 or 61.50 for 3 days

But then they have had YEARS to discuss and think about this.  Me thinks that it's in the "too hard" box, still with no-one wanting to grasp the nettle!


Title: Re: Beyond current Emergency Measures - where will we be on 21st September?
Post by: 2+4 on September 19, 2020, 01:52:26 pm
Wouldn't an easy short-term option until 31 December be to remove "Peak" pricing completely?  Wouldn't that give the discounts commuters are looking for, for the 2/3 day week they are allegedly wanting/needing to travel?

Maybe too simple  ???


Title: Re: Beyond current Emergency Measures - where will we be on 21st September?
Post by: grahame on September 19, 2020, 04:26:41 pm
Wouldn't an easy short-term option until 31 December be to remove "Peak" pricing completely?  Wouldn't that give the discounts commuters are looking for, for the 2/3 day week they are allegedly wanting/needing to travel?

Maybe too simple  ???

If the fare system was a bit of a complex mess, significantly inappropriate at times to best meet needs, then it's probab;y all that much more inappropriate now.  But the definition of "needs" - err - needs to be addressed.  What are the objectives your fare strucure and policy?

Are you looking to maximise passenger journeys?
Are you looking to maximise income?
Are you looking to balance the load between services?
Are you looking to encourage competition between operators?
Are you looking to encourage multi-buy products to save collection costs and generate loyalty?
Are you looking to minimise the cost to the treasury?
Are you looking to like and be voted for?
Are you looking to encourage journeys that most enhance the economy?
Are you looking to avoid overcrowded trains at the new 'full' level?
Are you looking to set fares to encourage carbon neutral (electric train) use over diesel?
Are you looking to sell seats on quiet trains?
Are you looking for something that simplifies the system?
Are you looking for a scheme that encourages people away from driving and flying?
Are you looking to discourage travel on weekends when you have trouble staffing?

I've come up with over a dozen things there with just a quick think ... most of them pull in a smiliar direction - but not the same direction, not headed for the same destination either.


Title: Re: Beyond current Emergency Measures - where will we be on 21st September?
Post by: TaplowGreen on September 19, 2020, 04:42:10 pm
Wouldn't an easy short-term option until 31 December be to remove "Peak" pricing completely?  Wouldn't that give the discounts commuters are looking for, for the 2/3 day week they are allegedly wanting/needing to travel?

Maybe too simple  ???

If the fare system was a bit of a complex mess, significantly inappropriate at times to best meet needs, then it's probab;y all that much more inappropriate now.  But the definition of "needs" - err - needs to be addressed.  What are the objectives your fare strucure and policy?

Are you looking to maximise passenger journeys?
Are you looking to maximise income?
Are you looking to balance the load between services?
Are you looking to encourage competition between operators?
Are you looking to encourage multi-buy products to save collection costs and generate loyalty?
Are you looking to minimise the cost to the treasury?
Are you looking to like and be voted for?
Are you looking to encourage journeys that most enhance the economy?
Are you looking to avoid overcrowded trains at the new 'full' level?
Are you looking to set fares to encourage carbon neutral (electric train) use over diesel?
Are you looking to sell seats on quiet trains?
Are you looking for something that simplifies the system?
Are you looking for a scheme that encourages people away from driving and flying?
Are you looking to discourage travel on weekends when you have trouble staffing?

I've come up with over a dozen things there with just a quick think ... most of them pull in a smiliar direction - but not the same direction, not headed for the same destination either.

The ironic thing is, the TOCs should have been asking and addressing most of these issues for years, not waiting for something to turn around and bite them in the arse as this has.

They have had it too easy for too long and are now rabbits in the headlights - having said that, every challenge presents an opportunity. Time will tell if they are up to addressing this challenge.

The power is moving more towards the customer in the "New World", and the railways will have to act accordingly and up their game in this respect to win their business - this will be uncomfortable for them at all levels and will involve a huge cultural shift.


Title: Re: Beyond current Emergency Measures - where will we be on 21st September?
Post by: Robin Summerhill on September 19, 2020, 04:48:02 pm
Wouldn't an easy short-term option until 31 December be to remove "Peak" pricing completely?  Wouldn't that give the discounts commuters are looking for, for the 2/3 day week they are allegedly wanting/needing to travel?

Maybe too simple  ???

Probably yes, too simple, because the civil servants involved in these things, and indeed the ministers who have to give their approval, think about these things in a way divorced from real-world reality.

Earlier Graham mentions algorithms. He clearly knows the practicalities of those algorithms better than I do to do the calculations, but those calculations clearly show that nobody is standing back and asking Fundamental Question Number One, which is:

?What are we trying to achieve and what is the most straightforward way of achieving it??

There is far too much of this going on in this pandemic. The UK tried to invent its own ?world beating? test and trace system instead of buying one off the shelf, which turned out to be a short term fiasco and a long term embarrassment. Then we had algorithms again with student grades, and that hardly ended well. One can?t blame algorithms for the latest snippet I heard this week on the news (but you can blame blundering bureaucracy that hasn?t thought things through) that people were being turned away from testing centres because they didn?t have a QR code...

Meanwhile the pandemic appears to be on the way back and Johnson is rarely to be seen. Perhaps he?s spending his time trying to buy a world-beating violin to fiddle away on...

Whilst I have to say in mitigation that the international news makes clear that the UK government is by no means the only one making a pig?s ear of managing the pandemic, they are rapidly giving the impression that they should not be left alone in charge of a whelk stall, let alone a country. 



Late addition following my reading Graham's pos,. posted whilst I was typing. This level of detail is exactly the sort of thing you DON'T want to get involved with now, because urgent action needs to be taken. If you tried to address all that lot before you implemnted anything it wouldn't be dome before all of us were pushing up daisies. I wonder how much truck the government of the day would have given to questions like those in 1940.

So

1. We know ahat the problem is
2. Get the nub of the problem sorted now
3. Once (if) we have the pandemic out of the way, that is the time to sort out the details for the future



Title: Re: Beyond current Emergency Measures - where will we be on 21st September?
Post by: grahame on September 19, 2020, 11:48:34 pm
Late addition following my reading Graham's pos,. posted whilst I was typing. This level of detail is exactly the sort of thing you DON'T want to get involved with now, because urgent action needs to be taken. If you tried to address all that lot before you implemnted anything it wouldn't be dome before all of us were pushing up daisies. I wonder how much truck the government of the day would have given to questions like those in 1940.

So
1. We know ahat the problem is
2. Get the nub of the problem sorted now
3. Once (if) we have the pandemic out of the way, that is the time to sort out the details for the future

But so much of the work has already been done. ... the Rail Delivery Groups's 2018 work, including stakeholder and community / volunteer input.  I didn't hear of them coming up with any brilliant changed / new fare system to sort out the mess - rather (as I understand it) the report fed into the Williams review to be part of the outcome of that. Whether it turns out to be a significant element in the larger plan, or consigned as a footnote to a dusty shelf, is a question as yet unanswered.  I do hope we'll see a substantive result with root and branch caches if they're what's recommenced, or a very strong conclusion along the lines of "the current system is far from perfect - but it's the best bad system we can have for the job involved and we should plan ahead with it broadly unaltered for the next decade".  To simply shelve the report would be an insult to all the time and effort put in the the community and volunteers - for free (though the consultants, I'm sure, were paid well); it would look like a lot of work done to console / occupy the community into thinking that the situation had been looked at, but with (perhaps) the initial intensity of showing that things  had been looked at, rather than actually making any changes.

Robin writes "This level of detail is exactly the sort of thing you DON'T want to get involved with now, because urgent action needs to be taken" but yet I'm not sure that I have applied any level of detail.  A dozen broad questions to set the scene, a few ideas (such as the appendix below) a handful of examples to see what it does to existing fares / likely payments by individuals and likely traffic flows, and go for it.  Could be done over a few days work, changes from the January fare change date.   An admission that "this may bring anomalies until [test end date]" and a leaving of the old fares in place / valid as an alternative until December 2021, with a review and decision on keeping the trial changes based on evidence gathered by the end of August 2021.

Three extras for my "are you looking" list - and you may think I am being cynical with these.
Are you looking to bring uncertainty so that you can take over the railways with subdued company and union complaint?
Are you looking to engineer use to balance general economic resurgence against some safety and freedoms?
Are you looking to meet or to suppress community and external stakeholder involvement?

Nice big sheet of paper (A00 or double elephant?) - matrix of ideas versus guesstimated outcome values, then applying importance factor to each of the intent items.   Each idea comes up with a score when they're combined (added or multiple together).

Appendix A:  Considerations of intent
Are you looking to maximise passenger journeys?
Are you looking to maximise income?
Are you looking to balance the load between services?
Are you looking to encourage competition between operators?
Are you looking to encourage multi-buy products to save collection costs and generate loyalty?
Are you looking to minimise the cost to the treasury?
Are you looking to like and be voted for?
Are you looking to encourage journeys that most enhance the economy?
Are you looking to avoid overcrowded trains at the new 'full' level?
Are you looking to set fares to encourage carbon neutral (electric train) use over diesel?
Are you looking to sell seats on quiet trains?
Are you looking for something that simplifies the system?
Are you looking for a scheme that encourages people away from driving and flying?
Are you looking to discourage travel on weekends when you have trouble staffing?
Are you looking to bring uncertainty so that you can take over the railways with subdued company and union complaint?
Are you looking to engineer use to balance general economic resurgence against some safety and freedoms?
Are you looking to meet or to suppress community and external stakeholder involvement?


Appendix B:  Possible changes to evaluate against desired outcome
* 3 day season tickets
* Off peak seasons
* Carnet of 9 journeys for the price of ten
* Advance fare sale at guaranteed price for half capacity of train up to 7 days ahead
* No peak fares
* Fares reset (so no peaks, but risen off peak fares to balance fare basket)
* Fares based on mileage rate + station use charge
* Day returns valid for 24 hours rather than midnight to 4 a.m. next day
* Free travel for accompanies children, 50% for 16 to 21 year olds
* Cycle and dogs to pay half fares (or, rather, their owners/guardians to do so)
* Railcards for all (Bronze, Silver, Gold)
* Groupsave nationwide
* Railcard and groupsave discounts to compound
* Railcards valid against season tickets
* Railcards right withdrawn on fare avoidance
* "Any reasonable route" added to routing guide; quickest route from when you arrive at the station is always valid.
* Bus operators (also under government control) must accept rail tickets for same journey


Title: Re: Beyond current Emergency Measures - where will we be on 21st September?
Post by: Robin Summerhill on September 20, 2020, 01:10:33 pm

Robin writes "This level of detail is exactly the sort of thing you DON'T want to get involved with now, because urgent action needs to be taken" but yet I'm not sure that I have applied any level of detail.  A dozen broad questions to set the scene, a few ideas (such as the appendix below) a handful of examples to see what it does to existing fares / likely payments by individuals and likely traffic flows, and go for it.  Could be done over a few days work, changes from the January fare change date.   An admission that "this may bring anomalies until [test end date]" and a leaving of the old fares in place / valid as an alternative until December 2021, with a review and decision on keeping the trial changes based on evidence gathered by the end of August 2021.



As appears to be so often the case when I post here, and especially the longer posts, I think about a lot of things that don?t actually get in to my text, so I have to come back and explain them.

I was referring specifically to now.  Pandemic now. The big change in travelling habits and demand now. I am not saying that looking at all aspects is unimportant, and I?m not trying to undermine whatever Keith Williams is or isn?t doing. What I am saying is that there is no point whatsoever in going into the finer points of detail at this stage, because demand profiles have changed and at the moment we do not know if they will change back long term or settle at a new normal. And if it does settle at a new normal we don?t yet know what that new normal will be.

Let us take two steps back. One from the existing fare structure and another back in history when this mess really started ? the end of the flat rate per mile charging system in 1965 and a move to market pricing or charging what the market will bear. Let us also take one example already quoted by Graham, the range of fares available between Chippenham and Paddington.

The last flat mileage rate was, IIRC, 3d per mile second class. First class was 50% extra. A season ticket, once again IIRC, gave a 10% discount on the cost of five returns between the two points. There were anomalies even then with discounted tickets (cheap day returns etc) but that is another matter in itself and one I won?t discuss here now. Season tickets then were not the same as season tickets now because, away from London and the South East, people tended to live much closer to their places of work. There would have been plenty of seasons issued between Chippenham and Bath, but I rather doubt that any Chippenham to London seasons were sold at all until the mid-1970s.

So this pickle cannot really be laid at the door of present day TOCs although they have probably exacerbated the situation ? it really stems from the government of Harold Wilson and the long-dead senior mandarins of the time in 222 Marylebone Road.

So, to Graham?s example of CPM-PAD with a couple of extra columns added:

Chippenham to Paddington 94 miles 188 miles return

Type   Standard   Miles   ppm
Peak   ?183.60   188   ?0.977
Off peak   ?76.70   188   ?0.408
Super OP   ?55.90   188   ?0.297
Season    ?290.20   940   ?0.309
         
         
 Type   First   Miles   ppm
Peak   ?276.60   188   ?1.471
Off peak   ?163.50   188   ?0.870
Super OP   n/a   n/a   n/a
Season    ?557.50   940   ?0.593

Just a cursory glance at the table will show how out of kilter the whole thing is. The peak rates can only really be described as penal, and presumably they are set specifically to reduce demand. That there isn?t any demand to speak of in the pandemic needs factoring in.

To me the most interesting thing that jumps out of the table is that the price per mile of a 7-day season when used for 5 days and a super off peak return are virtually identical. This gets me thinking along new lines

1. Although it might be unpalatable to say so, is the season ticket under priced?
2. If the TOC is turning a profit out of carting people to and from London at a price of 30 pence per mile then everything else is over priced
3. The proportions of first and standard class ticket sales will also have a bearing.

This then leads me to the fundamental question, and one which will not be answered by people like Graham and me in armchairs playing with spreadsheets and data! Whether the man or woman in the street thinks that rail fares are too high or too low or Goldilocks-esque is not the issue that needs to be addressed. How much does it cost to run any given train from point A to point B, and how much income will be needed to turn a profit on running that train?

Of course, at the moment with the government essentially running the railways during the pandemic different rules will apply. In the short term railways can and probably have to run at a loss to enable them to run at all in these days of reduced demand, and this is why now is not the time to ask such questions as should passengers pay more for a diesel service than an electric one (not that they have much choice in the matter anyway...). Action for the short term only is needed at the moment, and today?s limited research suggests that pricing a two or three day season from a 7=day base that appears on the face of it to be too low anyway is not going to please anybody!

When I started writing this post I thought I had the answer, although I have found supporting evidence for one of my stances. And that is I am now more than ever glad my name is not Keith Williams  ;D


Title: Re: Beyond current Emergency Measures - where will we be on 21st September?
Post by: Bmblbzzz on September 20, 2020, 02:43:26 pm
Wouldn't a simple, interim answer to the variable season ticket issue be to calculate a price per day. If you make an assumption that a season ticket is used 5 days a week, 50 weeks a year, then just divide the annual price by 500 to come up with per-trip price. Up to individual travellers ? and their employers of course ? if they use that five days a week every week, alternate weeks, a couple of days a week, or whatever. It's far from perfect but it's a rough and quick way of introducing flexible bulk-user fares.


Title: Re: Beyond current Emergency Measures - where will we be on 21st September?
Post by: Lee on September 20, 2020, 04:46:03 pm
When I started writing this post I thought I had the answer, although I have found supporting evidence for one of my stances. And that is I am now more than ever glad my name is not Keith Williams  ;D

The DfT have just released this video featuring Williams explaining why you should take the train rather than fly:



Oh wait...but at least broadgage would approve  ;D


Title: Re: Beyond current Emergency Measures - where will we be on 21st September?
Post by: broadgage on September 21, 2020, 12:27:07 am
Indeed, the good old days, even if probably a mock up in a film studio and not an actual train.


Title: Re: Beyond current Emergency Measures - where will we be on 21st September?
Post by: grahame on September 21, 2020, 09:02:52 am
Back on topic at http://www.passenger.chat/24038 ... no longer "looking forward" as 21st September is here, with a press release from the DfT and a quiet community as people digest the news (or are underwhelmed by it)


Title: Re: Beyond current Emergency Measures - where will we be on 21st September?
Post by: stuving on August 27, 2021, 01:09:48 pm
An update on the published documents for the current "Franchise", made up of the direct award (signed 29/3/2020), the EMA that modified it, and the Train Service Requirement which wasn't published before. That (TSR1) is now available via the "Great Western 2020 rail franchise agreement" web page (https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/great-western-2020-rail-franchise-agreement), as is a revised direct award agreement.

There's no way I know of to find all the revisions - in the past they have been marked only by a footnote in the text. However, in this case I suspect the only updates are the following derogations, none of them recent:
Quote
i 18 June 2020 (Date of Derogation Letter) - The Secretary of State has granted the Franchisee a derogation against the requirements of Paragraph 4.7(i) of Schedule 1.4 in order to give longer to address the policy questions raised by COVID-19.
Original Due Date: 28/06/2020
Revised Due Date: 16/11/2020

ii 30 June 2020 (Date of Derogation Letter) - The Secretary of State has granted the Franchisee a derogation against the requirements of Paragraph 4.2 of Schedule 6.1 (Completion of committed obligations from the Previous Franchise Agreement).
Original Due Date: 30/06/2020
Revised Due Date: 30/09/2020

iii 30 June 2020 (Date of Derogation Letter) - The Secretary of State has granted the Franchisee a derogation against the requirements of Paragraph 96 of Schedule 6.2 (WAN Capability at Stations).
Original Due Date: 30/06/2020
Revised Due Date: 30/09/2020

iv 30 June 2020 (Date of Derogation Letter) - The Secretary of State has granted the Franchisee a derogation against the requirements of Paragraph 2.6 of Schedule 13.1 (Community Rail Partnerships).
Original Due Date: 30/06/2020
Revised Due Date: 30/09/2020

The TSR is entirely lacking in dates, but some parts read like it should have been part of the ITT for this contract. As a direct award there wasn't an open ITT, but this would still have been needed as part of the contract that First signed.



This page is printed from the "Coffee Shop" forum at http://gwr.passenger.chat which is provided by a customer of Great Western Railway. Views expressed are those of the individual posters concerned. Visit www.gwr.com for the official Great Western Railway website. Please contact the administrators of this site if you feel that content provided contravenes our posting rules ( see http://railcustomer.info/1761 ). The forum is hosted by Well House Consultants - http://www.wellho.net