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  • Reform Pub Trans / Closes : September 24, 2020
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Author Topic: 24th September - "Reforming Public Transport after the Pandemic" Closes  (Read 724 times)
grahame
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« on: July 27, 2020, 02:17:49 pm »

Inquiry launch: Reforming public transport after the pandemic Consultation by the Parliamentary Transport Committee

Quote
The longer-term implications of the coronavirus pandemic for the UK’s public transport are to be examined by the Transport Committee.

Send us your views

The areas that the Committee is calling for evidence on is below.

The deadline for submission is Thursday 24 September 2020.

Impact of Covid-19 on the UK’s key transport sectors

From the first weeks of lockdown, the Transport Committee has charted the impact of Covid-19 on the UK’s key transport sectors. Transport workers, stakeholders, mayors and ministers working in aviation, local transport, freight and maritime described the immediate pressures they faced during an unprecedented period of profound upheaval.

As plummeting passenger demand threatened the financial viability of many operators, the UK Government provided billions of pounds of public subsidies for bus and train operators, light rail and tram systems. Additional funding was provided to boost cycling and walking.

The actions of central and local government in response to the crisis could, and perhaps should, influence how people choose how to travel in the longer term. As more people work from home, shop online and choose to walk, cycle or drive, policy makers will need to reimagine how the transport system works. It also presents a chance to explore reforms and technological innovations that may shape the future of transport in the UK and beyond.

This new inquiry will take a holistic look at how public transport is changing and the implications for current government strategies including the Williams Rail Review, bus strategy, walking and cycling, taxis and private hire vehicles.

The pandemic could prove a unique opportunity to build a better, more sustainable transport system, which helps to meet the Government’s target to achieve net zero carbon dioxide emissions by 2050.  The Transport Committee is one of the six commissioning select committees of Climate Assembly UK, which will publish its full report in September.

Call for evidence

The Committee welcomes written evidence on the extent that the coronavirus pandemic could, and should, be used as an opportunity to reform public transport for the longer-term.

We are particularly interested in the long-term implications of the pandemic for:
* the use of public transport and the way that people choose to travel, both locally and for longer domestic journeys;
* central and local governmental transport priorities and finances and funding for transport;
* the devolution of transport policy-making responsibilities and powers;
* the resilience of the transport system for future crises;
* the decarbonisation of transport and the capability to meet net zero carbon emissions targets by 2050;
* innovation and technological reform within transport.
International travel is not included within the remit of this inquiry.
We will also be looking to see how governments and transport authorities in other countries are responding to similar challenges.

Noting "The Transport Committee is one of the six commissioning select committees of Climate Assembly UK, which will publish its full report in September.".

Questions - what further follow ups will there be once the report is published?   Will it be used to guide policy, or is it destined to sit on a shelf?  Is it worth responding?

Edit to correct thread title
« Last Edit: July 28, 2020, 08:34:00 am by grahame » Logged

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Robin Summerhill
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« Reply #1 on: July 27, 2020, 04:00:44 pm »

Whether or not it will be used to guide policy or sit on a shelf is not something that you can control. Whether or not you respond to the consultation is something you can control. Any courses of action an individual takes should take these factors into account.

But since you’ve raised the issue I will expand upon it. At the moment the government seems to be hell bent on returning to a form of old normal. People are being encouraged to back to work, apparently whether or not working from home has been a success in their particular case. Bearing in mind the impact on pollution that staying at home has had, and therefore greenhouse gas emissions, it appears to me to be possibly counter-productive in terms of meeting future targets.

So why are they doing it? The only logical reasons (although there may of course be others) is that they want to rebuild public transport usage, and are afraid of the financial consequences to retailers in commuter areas (normal retail outlets, coffee shops, sandwich bars etc) who rely on commuters for footfall and therefore profitability. But is this a good enough reason? Should things not be allowed to change to suit new circumstances? In the future, might there be more sandwich bars needed in Bowerhill and less in Canary Wharf? Would more commuting from Kemble to Stroud be better for the planet than trying to maintain commuter levels between Kemble and Paddington?

By increasing local employment at the expense of concentrating it in major commercial centres, especially London, might this have the effect of reducing housing demand in some of those areas, leading to more equalisation in house prices and thereby increasing mobility in the more general sense whilst reducing commuting, and the disproportionate peak loadings that need to be catered for, at the same time? In that respect I am thinking about cases like my eldest son who once lived in Southampton and got a job in Reading – he couldn’t afford to move there so started commuting instead, when his previous job was 10 minutes bike ride away from his home.

People are quite likely to take a 10-minute bike ride to work. They are, shall we say, rather less likely to ride one from Radley to Westminster every day...

Just because we have done something in one way in the past does not mean we have to keep doing it that way. If it did, the NUM would have won the miner’s strike and there would still be a man going round lighting all the gas lamps.

These are the sort of questions that need asking, and perhaps they ought to be asked now before we go back to our old ways.

I’m not sure if I’ve been writing about the sunlit uplands of a future Utopia, or whether I have just typed a load of absolute drivel. I am sure there are members on this forum who will let me know one way or the other  Grin


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Lee
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« Reply #2 on: July 27, 2020, 06:14:32 pm »

The key quote for me is "As more people work from home, shop online and choose to walk, cycle or drive, policy makers will need to reimagine how the transport system works."

To me, that sounds like an official assumption when applied to potential trends "after the pandemic", and if you dont want to see public transport reduced in scale as a result, then best respond to the consultation with a suitable riposte.
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« Reply #3 on: July 28, 2020, 06:52:10 am »

Does more emphasis need to be made on multi-modal transport. Cycle to the station and put a bike on the train with minimal hassle. Or even feeling confident (possibly not at Reading) that you can leave your bike at a station one end of the journey or the other.

For instance I currently feel happier to put the bike on the train and use that to get round London rather than use the Tube. Easier on a Brompton, but too many rail operators seem to penalise "normal" bikes.

Also, following on from comments on this forum, does the offer for those with disabilities (or access issues) need to be improved.
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« Reply #4 on: July 28, 2020, 07:49:54 am »

Trying to fill in the form,
 second page says
attach a file from this computer

I don't want to attach a file and it won't let me continue, any help most wellcome
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grahame
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« Reply #5 on: July 28, 2020, 08:14:29 am »

Trying to fill in the form,
 second page says
attach a file from this computer

I don't want to attach a file and it won't let me continue, any help most wellcome

It's looking for "freeform" evidence rather than the tick boxes of a survey, so is written around people writing up what they want to say ahead of responding, then uploading a file:

Quote
Uploading your evidence

Your uploaded file must:

be less than 25MB
be a single Word, ODT or RTF document
not contain logos
We want everyone’s voice to be heard in Parliament. Please contact us if for any reason you find it difficult to send us your evidence online.

I would suggest in this case following their direction - put your message into a file in one of the formats suggested; they have good advice there too about providing an overview, etc, to help them 'get' what you are saying - also helping you get your point through in what may be a busy response flow.

They have also provided an email address and phone number for anyone who can't submit online via the website / upload.
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grahame
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« Reply #6 on: July 28, 2020, 08:32:43 am »

My initial question on this thread (paraphrasing) asked "should we spend time in responding?".  Answer probably yes - and indeed it's worth giving considerable thought even before preparing the nuts and bolts of an answer.  I have made this the topic for us to toss around at Tuesday Club this afternoon ... http://www.passenger.chat/23845 ... all established posting members welcome at 4 p.m.
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grahame
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« Reply #7 on: July 28, 2020, 08:42:47 am »

From Christian Wolmar - a long and deep piece which describes somewhat the structural issues facing the committee
( https://www.christianwolmar.co.uk/2020/07/rail-908-the-future-is-vertical-and-the-slavery-myth/ )

Quote
Let’s look to the future for once, given that the present is so bleak. I will desist from pointing out, once again, the madness of the ‘don’t use the railways’ policy, except to mention it in the shorter piece accompanying this one.

There is no doubt that out of the chaos, a new structure for the railways will be needed. Once the present ‘emergency measures agreements’ run out in September, there will be an interim period during which some kind of new arrangement will be cobbled together.

[huge snip]
Therefore, as Prescott says,the options are clear:

'Tinker around the edges with an inherently cumbersome, bureaucratic, unresponsive, expensive and non-customer orientated railway industry

 
OR

 
Move to a much better defined, locally integrated, customer focussed, cost-effective and value orientated group of railway operations.'

Unfortunately with the ideologues in government and the hawks overseeing the process in the Treasury, I do not feel optimistic. But one can but hope.

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« Reply #8 on: July 28, 2020, 09:22:19 am »

Okay
 
I will do it by straight e-mail.

My suggestions will be
1)Get the bridge sorted out at Sheffield station so ticket gates can be installed.
2)train crew should have their OWN wi-fi type handset so that they can make announcements from any where on the train,
this stops several persons breathing into and out of the on board hand sets.
3)Remove all table seat accommodation except for one coach,with other coaches having seating facing one way on the left hand side and the other way on the right hand side

 
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grahame
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« Reply #9 on: July 28, 2020, 09:59:37 am »

Okay
 
I will do it by straight e-mail.

My suggestions will be
1)Get the bridge sorted out at Sheffield station so ticket gates can be installed.
2)train crew should have their OWN wi-fi type handset so that they can make announcements from any where on the train,
this stops several persons breathing into and out of the on board hand sets.
3)Remove all table seat accommodation except for one coach,with other coaches having seating facing one way on the left hand side and the other way on the right hand side

 

Interesting ideas / thoughts - though I don't think they're within the scope of this particular consultation which is looking at much higher level industry structural stuff and really ought to go even wider and look to how public transport can be proactive in encouraging the wider cleaner / greener / climate friendly agenda rather than merely meeting net zero carbon itself by 2050.   

Wider "Tuesday Club" discussion this afternoon ... further thoughts / comments thereafter, including an answer to Robin Summerhill's thoughts and Lee's comment which I am personally in broad agreement with.   

Just for ths a.m. I am all "consulted out" having spend much of yesterday making my personal inputs to the Melksham Neighbourhood Plan - for the most part an excllent document of some 80 pages, with 50 supporting documents enough to sink a cruise liner if taken on board!   But I do feel the comments may be read and actually taken on board to tune the document in some cases.   Whether the whole thing gets ratified, and if it does whether it has any effect, goodness knows - but at least the locals such as myself have had a chance to get our thoughts together, say what we think, and put our views into the thought processes forward.
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« Reply #10 on: July 28, 2020, 01:20:31 pm »

Robin's and Lee's thoughts sum up the situation as I see it.

and are afraid of the financial consequences to retailers
and the financial consequences for "themselves" aka the taxpayer if they continue transporting a frequent service of fresh air.

This has been building for some time with part-time working and strikes. Now working from home (WFH) has been pipe cleaned for those companies who needed a shove.

I think there is a danger of a worst of all worlds scenario where a scythe is taken to current service frequencies which makes it unattractive for returning employees. They may have a say in whether they go back, they may not. There will be less of a problem requesting WFH with their colleagues asking for it too and the fact they've been doing it since March.

We're probably going to need to take a barometer of what happens on 3 August (when the WFH line is dropped) and September (schools return?) to know what direction this is going to take.

I'd temporarily make weekly seasons the price of 2 SDRs now.
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« Reply #11 on: July 28, 2020, 01:27:54 pm »

I'd temporarily make weekly seasons the price of 2 SDRs now.

(taking into account that monthlies/annuals are based on that price though, so some adjustment required there!)
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« Reply #12 on: July 28, 2020, 02:18:22 pm »

This all seems to be poorly thought out by the Transport Committee.

There is no point in calling for evidence of the long term impact of covid 19 by 24 September.  The only evidence then available will be the immediate impact of the pandemic (which is presumably already available from ridership and fare income statistics since the end of February) and the recovery in passenger numbers which will only be partly underway.

I think that it is a fair assumption that the daily commuter traffic is the bedrock of rail fare income. From all that I hear from others, and my own experience, by the end of September we are unlikely to have moved beyond the position whereby office based employers and employees will still be in an interim stage of voluntary attendance in the office and organising by rota or booking systems how many can attend on any one day. We also have no idea of the likely progress of the pandemic at present, and may not have much more of an idea by then. So in turn the impact on demand and income will not be clear.

The need to look at the way the railway is run, how decisions are taken and the extent to which passenger/customer opinion can be taken into account is something that needs to be addressed whatever the outcome of the current pandemic.  All the current circumstances mean is that we now know the steady increase in passenger numbers of the past 20-30 years looks likely to be reversed or stalled, meaning that fare income will fall or flatline in the absence of fare increases. So much as I might otherwise not be in favour of procrastination, if ever there was a time to refrain from major change it is now, as whatever is done will involve redistribution of financial risk, the quantum of such risk is at its most uncertain currently.

By all mean have a high level discussion on principles, but beware that fine words butter no parsnips. For example, from Christian Wolmar -

Quote
Move to a much better defined, locally integrated, customer focussed, cost-effective and value orientated group of railway operations.


What does this mean? Whatever you do you are in a bind - do you make decisions based on past trends in demand that may not continue or try to guess what might happen and plan based on that?

"Locally integrated" - at what scale? Simply encourage bus operators to plan services to connect to train times (but with what margin for delay?) - or is that a clock face service for interchange stations like Reading and Guildford so as to maximise convenience for changing between the services at that station - but how much should this impact through services that share the same tracks? And for me is "local" Paddington to Oxford and Banbury, Didcot to Reading, Reading to Oxford, Goring to either Reading and Oxford or just to Reading, or any services I could reasonably use for short to medium distance rail travel in the Thames Valley to persuade me to leave the car at home?

And what does "value orientated" mean? Value for money? Promoting values (which ones?)

Sorry I cannot participate in the video call later today! 
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« Reply #13 on: July 28, 2020, 07:46:57 pm »

I think that it is a fair assumption that the daily commuter traffic is the bedrock of rail fare income.

Income does not automatically indicate profitability, and that was shown in an obscure report by a man who went by the name of Beeching nearly 60 years ago. It is quite easy to generate large amounts of income which does not actually cover the cost of providing the service. To provide rolling stock to deal with peak demand results in it either sitting in sidings or running around as virtually ECS all day.

I seem to remember hearing some time ago that stock under-utilisation actually means that commuters are generally not paying the full costs of their services, so are in essence being subsidised.

In fact, after a couple of 14-day all line rail rovers in 2018 and 2019, I wouldn't even agree with the basic premise. Two trains an hour between Glasgow/ Edinburgh and London, one direct and the other via Birmingham, on which it is sometimes difficult to get a seat; four trains an hour running or planned between Bristol and Paddington; 3 trains an hour between Manchester and Euston - the list of well-patronised non-commuter traffic is a long one!


As an aside and not directly related to your post, there was an item on R's PM programme tonight which seemed to suggest that I am not the only one semi-predicring the end of commuting as we currently know it.
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« Reply #14 on: July 28, 2020, 08:24:35 pm »

I'd temporarily make weekly seasons the price of 2 SDRs now.
That’s about, (give or take a few quid), what Southampton to Waterloo already was.

The effect of controls over many years had already meant a theoretical pro-rated part time season would be very difficult to price...

Paul
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