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  • Initial Emergency Measures end: September 20, 2020
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Author Topic: Beyond current Emergency Measures - where will we be on 21st September?  (Read 2323 times)
IndustryInsider
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« Reply #15 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
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« Reply #16 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

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.
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grahame
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« Reply #17 on: September 18, 2020, 02:26:40 pm »

From a (different) article in City am

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?.
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eightonedee
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« Reply #18 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?
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ellendune
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« Reply #19 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. 
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MVR S&T
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« Reply #20 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.
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stuving
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« Reply #21 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 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, but I don't think all the franchise agreements, let alone the EMAs, are actually there.
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grahame
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« Reply #22 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!
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« Reply #23 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  Huh
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grahame
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« Reply #24 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  Huh

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.
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« Reply #25 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  Huh

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.
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Robin Summerhill
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« Reply #26 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  Huh

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

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grahame
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« Reply #27 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
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Robin Summerhill
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« Reply #28 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  Grin
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« Reply #29 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.
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