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Author Topic: WECA Alphabet Soup  (Read 3742 times)
Red Squirrel
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« on: December 02, 2018, 12:31:16 pm »

The West of England Combined Authority (WECA) has produced a number of studies and reports recently, some of which have led to press speculation about mass transit schemes in the Greater Bristol area. Meanwhile forum members who have attended WECA public meetings have come away disillusioned. I thought it might be worth trying to understand what the various reports actually mean, and whether the future really is as bleak as it appears to some.

The crux of all these activities is the Joint Spatial Plan (JSP). This was submitted to the Secretary of State for examination in April 2018.

In this submission is SD 16B Joint Spatial Plan: Joint Transport Study final report October 2017, which on p.43 refers to potential new stations at Constable Road, Ashton Gate, St Annes, Charfield and Saltford, but also states that:

Quote
...the future business case for further improvements would need to take account of the high costs of rail infrastructure, existing capacity constraints on the network and the relatively low base (2% mode share for commuting) for growth. The business case for major investment in providing new capacity is therefore likely to be challenging.

In the context of Mass Transit, the report says:

Quote
In some locations, it will be very challenging to achieve on-street running. The study has identified that it will be very difficult to achieve on-street running on the routes through East Bristol, North Bristol and through some parts of South Bristol. In these cases, some underground sections may be required, subject to consideration of costs and business case. It may therefore be appropriate to consider more innovative options, with segregated running and underground running in some sections. These would require substantial further feasibility work to identify the most appropriate options and develop business cases.

A mass transit network would form an integral part of the future public transport system and it will be critical to plan for effective interchange with the bus network, MetroBus, rail network and Park & Ride. This will be critical in enabling a much higher proportion of journeys to be made by public transport and in encouraging mode shift from cars on the most congested corridors in the Bristol urban area.

Mass Transit Bristol to AirportFully segregated mass transit connecting Bristol Airport and South Bristol to city centre, with options to be considered for underground running.
Mass Transit Bristol to North FringeFully segregated mass transit connecting Cribbs Causeway and North Bristol to city centre, with options to be considered for underground running.
Mass Transit Bristol to East FringeFully segregated mass transit connecting East Fringe and East Bristol to city centre, with options to be considered for underground running.
Mass Transit Bristol to BathInitial priority for MetroBus corridor to Bath, with longer-term ambition for light rail between the Hicks Gate / Keynsham area and Bristol city centre, to serve Hicks
Gate Park & Ride and potentially beyond and Temple Meads.

However, also in the submission is SD 16A Topic Paper 8: Transport (April 2018). This refers to rail, for example on p14 it says:

Quote
...the planned MetroWest project will result in a significant increase in the volume of travel by rail in specific areas.

...but the only new stations it refers to are Charfield and, obliquely, Henbury and Portway. I find this document (and its November 2018 revision) hard to contextualise, not least because most of its schemes complete in the 2020's - surprising for a planning period ending in 2036.

According to the WECA Transport Update of 30th November the next significant plan will be Version 4 of the Joint Local Transport Plan (JLTP4), which will report to WECA on 1st Feb 2019. This will include reports on MetroWest, LRT/Tram Train, Bristol East Jct, MetroBus and Mass Transit options.

All a bit inconclusive really; maybe someone else can pick the bones out of it better than I've managed to.

I note that the WECA meeting of 30th November will be available for viewing at https://www.westofengland-ca.gov.uk/ from 3rd December... Xmas has come early!
« Last Edit: February 14, 2019, 04:24:39 pm by grahame » Logged
simonw
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« Reply #1 on: December 02, 2018, 01:56:59 pm »

Thank you for this update.

I fear that without a significant committed budget, and leadership, our hopes for MetoWest and future transport plans will be not be achieved.

My initial view of WECA was a chance to be provide integrated infrastructure and leadership for this area, but I am sadly disillusioned by progress so far.
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Red Squirrel
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« Reply #2 on: December 02, 2018, 05:51:25 pm »

...a significant committed budget...

£1BN sounds like a lot, but when you realise it is actually £30M/year for 30 years it suddenly sounds a lot less impressive. However if it is possible to factor in things like a Workplace Parking Levy and Road User Charging (both mentioned in SD 16B), the potential for raising more useful sums starts to look possible.
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simonw
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« Reply #3 on: December 03, 2018, 08:13:48 am »

Money, vision and leadership are needed.

All three are sadly lacking!
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Red Squirrel
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« Reply #4 on: December 03, 2018, 03:11:30 pm »

The webcast of the WECA meeting of 30/11/2018 is now available here:

https://youtu.be/ovSnvorusqE
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Red Squirrel
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« Reply #5 on: December 03, 2018, 06:29:06 pm »

...further to that, Christina Biggs's FOSBR piece was particularly encouraging (33.49); she mentions the inclusion of the Thornbury line and Henbury loop in JLTP4 and also the news that the Portishead line could pay for itself in one year...
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martyjon
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« Reply #6 on: December 03, 2018, 08:00:56 pm »

.... news that the Portishead line could pay for itself in one year....

What do you interpret that as : -

A. the line / service will not require revenue support after one year meaning farebox income after 12 months will cover all the lines running costs (operators - wages and fuel, ROSCO's - rolling stock leasing costs which will also fall onto the operator, and NR's access charges which again will also fall on the operator) and break even or even return a surplus ; -

or

B. will be so successful that after one year meaning the farebox income after 12 months will repay the taxpayer all the millions which would be spent on getting the rails to Portishead again ; -

or

C. your interpretation of the phrase 'pay for itself in one year ' which is ? 
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Red Squirrel
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« Reply #7 on: December 03, 2018, 08:20:29 pm »

I'm not interpreting, I'm simply reporting what Christina Biggs said. I too am interested in the detail.

It isn't in the FOSBR written statement (that, along with others, is here) although this statement does mention Thornbury and the Henbury loop:

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FOSBR welcomes the inclusion of the Henbury Loop and Thornbury Line in the JLTP4 draft under consideration today
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martyjon
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« Reply #8 on: December 03, 2018, 08:42:49 pm »

I'm not interpreting, I'm simply reporting what Christina Biggs said. I too am interested in the detail.

It isn't in the FOSBR written statement (that, along with others, is here) although this statement does mention Thornbury and the Henbury loop:

Quote
FOSBR welcomes the inclusion of the Henbury Loop and Thornbury Line in the JLTP4 draft under consideration today

Hi RS, hope you don't mind just the RS.

Ah, you are of the same mind as me in wishing to see the detail of FOSBRA's financial 'project return on investment', snap.

Did you read the statement 14, a knock at WECA for not setting up (a) local transport forum(s).

Mine was statement 3 as if you needed to guess.

Regards.
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Western Pathfinder
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« Reply #9 on: December 03, 2018, 10:39:39 pm »

Short and sweet but to the point having watched it this afternoon.
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grahame
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« Reply #10 on: December 03, 2018, 10:48:23 pm »

.... news that the Portishead line could pay for itself in one year....

What do you interpret that as : -

A. the line / service will not require revenue support after one year meaning farebox income after 12 months will cover all the lines running costs (operators - wages and fuel, ROSCO's - rolling stock leasing costs which will also fall onto the operator, and NR's access charges which again will also fall on the operator) and break even or even return a surplus ; -

or

B. will be so successful that after one year meaning the farebox income after 12 months will repay the taxpayer all the millions which would be spent on getting the rails to Portishead again ; -

or

C. your interpretation of the phrase 'pay for itself in one year ' which is ? 

It cannot be (B) - even if you look at "just" the extra 48 million, that's £131,000 per day or 13,000 journeys at £10 each.    Say 30 return train trips, 110 passengers (paying £10 single each, remember) every half hour in both directions from 6 a.m. to 10 p.m.

At best, I would suggest it might pay its operating costs plus a reasonable interest / return on investment to whoever put the capital in, plus (say) repayment of 1/20th of the capital?   That's "C"

I am aware from this evening's meeting that there are those who believe it *is* "B"
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martyjon
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« Reply #11 on: December 04, 2018, 06:47:45 am »

.... news that the Portishead line could pay for itself in one year....

What do you interpret that as : -

A. the line / service will not require revenue support after one year meaning farebox income after 12 months will cover all the lines running costs (operators - wages and fuel, ROSCO's - rolling stock leasing costs which will also fall onto the operator, and NR's access charges which again will also fall on the operator) and break even or even return a surplus ; -

or

B. will be so successful that after one year meaning the farebox income after 12 months will repay the taxpayer all the millions which would be spent on getting the rails to Portishead again ; -

or

C. your interpretation of the phrase 'pay for itself in one year ' which is ? 

It cannot be (B) - even if you look at "just" the extra 48 million, that's £131,000 per day or 13,000 journeys at £10 each.    Say 30 return train trips, 110 passengers (paying £10 single each, remember) every half hour in both directions from 6 a.m. to 10 p.m.

At best, I would suggest it might pay its operating costs plus a reasonable interest / return on investment to whoever put the capital in, plus (say) repayment of 1/20th of the capital?   That's "C"

I am aware from this evening's meeting that there are those who believe it *is* "B"


Thank you for that last comment Grahame, you, like me, do not believe in flying pigs either, right.
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Red Squirrel
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« Reply #12 on: January 15, 2019, 04:54:16 pm »

I've finally found JLTP4, for those who are interested in this kind of thing: https://westofengland-ca.moderngov.co.uk/documents/s702/13b%20-%20Draft%20West%20of%20England%20Joint%20Local%20Transport%20Plan%20Nov%202018.pdf

Some juicy bits:

Quote
Building on MetroWest, we want to see 15 minute turn up and go services; the Clifton Down to Bath Spa route could be the first to benefit from this. Future expansion could see turn up and go services between Bristol Temple Meads and Henbury, Yate, Portishead and Weston-super-Mare.

Quote
During the life of JLTP4, we will consider extending services beyond Henbury and new stations to support the JSP at Charfield (1,200 homes), St Annes Park, Saltford, Ashton Gate and Constable Road, and new links to Thornbury and Bristol Airport. We will also work with planning colleagues to review the need to safeguard disused rail lines where they could have a future role to play.

Quote
We want to transform suburban rail services in the West of England with new and high frequency turn up and go services, new lines and new stations. Stations will be brought up to a new high standard with improved passenger facilities and levels of accessibility, making them step free to enable all passengers to travel by train. Modern ticketing, fully integrated with local bus services, will make all journeys seamless.
« Last Edit: January 15, 2019, 05:08:34 pm by Red Squirrel » Logged
grahame
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« Reply #13 on: February 14, 2019, 04:27:41 pm »

Not sure if this is the right place

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Have your say on plans for new M5 junction, railway upgrades and Banwell bypass

from the Weston Worle and Somerset Mercury

Quote
A public consultation on the West of England Combined Authority’s (WECA) Joint Local Transport Plan (JLTP) has been launched.

The project plans to transform the transport network in North Somerset, with a long-called-for Junction 21A near Weston and a Banwell bypass topping the proposals.

Council bosses hope a revamped travel network will spark economic growth and bolster infrastructure to cope with an increasing population and rising demand on roads and rails.

The JLTP forms part of the wider Joint Spatial Plan (JSP) – WECA’s scheme to tackle the region’s housing shortfall by building more than 100,000 homes before 2036, including 25,000 in North Somerset.
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Bmblbzzz
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« Reply #14 on: February 14, 2019, 06:48:52 pm »

I didn't know there was a plan for a new motorway junction near Weston. I did know there are plans for one between Bristol and Yate on the M4 and one on the M49 between Avonmouth and the Severn Bridge. Which all leads me to a general comment (not specific to WECA at all, sorry): how many new junctions can be added, particularly in areas where there already are several, before the proximity of one junction to another interferes with the motorway's (supposed at least) primary function as a long-distance artery?
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