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Author Topic: (3 of 3) Our passenger community - partnering in protecting  (Read 796 times)
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« on: March 26, 2020, 01:06:55 am »

This is the third and final post in my trilogy.

The first set out how the world is changing, and how that will effect UK travel and transport:

This second post[/b] looks towards outcomes once we get past the pandemic, but still face climate change

This final post looks at how we partner during the current times to save people, safeguard resources, prior to working together to build something better for our new world

So - part 3 - how do we protect resource on the downturn that we'll want or need on the upturn?  Looking around today I can already see three or four railway lines described as closed due to climactic issues / weather, where "once in 100 years" has become more frequent than that.   I see several where bus timetables rather than train timetables are now published.  And I've also noted an absence of any service data (or any services shown on Real Time Trains) for a handful of stations and for three complete lines. 

Almost all of the noted holes are on services that were taken back under government control a few weeks back, and on services that (I would hazard a guess) have few long distance passengers using them to make London connections. I make that comment with the memory of rail minister Chris Heaton-Harris's answers to questions at the GWR stakeholder meeting, where he made it very clear that investment was based on frequency and speed to London and that his priority at the DfT was to get those London services beefed up, even if it meant sacrificing local service provision.  Members may have seen my post likening the new IET service timetable from Paddington to the shooting of more bullets faster out of gun, and with local and regional trains doing their best to dodge the new pattern of the bullets.   Working with experts at GWR, communities across the South West have managed to overcome most issues so that local services still work even with the bullets whistling by, but I have some concerns that those experts may not be allowed even to apply that pragmatism under direct operation control from Horseferry Road.  Oh dear ...

So - in amongst the clear short term need to protect as many people as possible and probably to do so by trimming services back to a more limited timetable for key workers, how to we ensure that no long term damage is done and the opportunity to "bury bad news" - or bad deeds - is not taken?  There are still no trains at Barlaston, Polesworth and Pilning each have trains in only one direction from past cuts.  Do we see trains returning to Rufford or Croston - this year - next year - sometime - never?

Part 3 - protecting during the fall - is the most difficult.  We find ourselves in the peculiar position of wishing to support the fight for lives, clearly appreciating the nonsense and unwanted extra risks and costs of running near-empty trains, yet fearful of opportunities that have been taken in the past.  At this stage, I don't know what to suggest with any certainty.  But let's try some thoughts:

1. We know a lot of excellent public transport professionals - work with many of them on a regular basis - who may be as concerned as we are, and have more power to influence. We can support them.

2. We can be a help in getting word out - the forum is not protest but partner and we should emphasis that, but at the same time make it be known that we are a candid partner.   That gives strength to what we say in public, and re-assurance to partners where we do work closely alongside them

3. We should maintain a "watch list" in one of our member-only areas to be aware of services / places that are compromised.  Edit to add - I have posted my initial list at , which is in the "How Stuff Works" area for Transport Scholars. Please send me a personal message if you want to be added to that area, or ask on chat if you haven't tried it yet.

4. We should encourage all parties to look ahead once we're bouncing back to putting in a system that is fit for the future - for all transport needs, for society and for the planet too.

So - an open letter within days - from the admin and moderator team - offering our continuing active positive partnership, our wish to make candid comment on plans and be kept in that loop, our desire for everything to be done such that it can form the basis of transport in the new world, and to work with them on that to ensure we have the best outcome - taking the opportunity to end up with a better suited public transport network.

A poll to gauge the level of support for this open letter is running at in our "Frequent Posters" club.  By running the poll there, we are ensuring that our letter has real support from members who have posted multiple times and are a known part of the group.  Please visit the link and express your view.
« Last Edit: March 26, 2020, 07:17:56 am by grahame » Logged

Coffee Shop Admin, Vice Chair of Melksham Rail User Group, and on the board of TravelWatch SouthWest.
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