Transport User Voice – April 2021 – Around Great Britain
29 March 2021
Take a look at Scotland, Wales and London
The Scottish Government confirmed that it will take over ScotRail services when the Abellio ScotRail contract ends on 31 March 2022.
From April a shorter Emergency Measures Agreement (EMA) will start. This is due to uncertainty over public finances in future and to provide greater budget flexibility for the Government. The EMA has been designed to make it very easy to extend it to March 2022, which is the Government’s plan.
Transport Focus will work with Scottish Government and industry to make sure passengers’ needs are at the heart of new arrangements and that our research is used to push for improvements.
Also this month, we were pleased to participate in the Transport Scotland workshop on the main bus service provisions of Part III of The Transport Act. This mainly means Bus Service Improvement Partnerships, local authority run services, franchising and deregistered services.
As part of this, we outlined ten actions that would benefit Scottish bus passengers. These would also fit within any structural changes to the way bus services are provided. Find more information here.
Transport Focus responded to the House of Commons Welsh Affairs Committee inquiry on rail infrastructure in Wales. Our submission emphasises that decisions should be made using the ‘passenger test’ and be more closely aligned with their priorities. More work is needed to invest in the railway network in Wales, not least to provide options and encourage people to make the shift from cars to trains in support of targets for zero emissions and sustainability. Key areas of focus include more effective weather resilience, better reliability, new fares and tickets, building confidence and giving incentives for passengers to get back on public transport.
The Wales Transport Strategy has now been published by Welsh Government. This is good news for current and future transport users in Wales. Plans include:
- priorities to improve reliability and frequency
- extending the geographical reach
- making fares, tickets and information simple
- involving transport users in the design of new services
- transforming the customer experience.
All of these chime with the improvement priorities that transport users tell us they want to see. These will be key to getting people back onto public transport.
We now look forward to the National Transport Delivery Plan being put together. We will be ready to assist and support its roll-out to ensure user priorities remain at the core.
On Thursday 4 March London TravelWatch launched its new report The Journey Ahead during a live webinar held on YouTube. There’s been some great feedback which London TravelWatch will be using to influence its future work.
London TravelWatch this month also released its four key priorities for the next mayor of London. The team met the Labour, Liberal Democrat and Green party candidates, who were all very supportive of these priorities.
On 17 March director, Emma Gibson, co-signed a letter sent by business campaigning group, London First. The letter warns that reducing Transport for London (TfL) service levels will lead to fewer people using public transport. This would make people more likely to switch to less sustainable transport like private cars which would make London’s already heavily congested and polluted roads even worse.
Also this month, London TravelWatch raised concerns about the new river crossing which replaces the Hammersmith Bridge. TfL intends to charge the same as a single bus fare to use the crossing and London TravelWatch asked if this would be covered by the hopper fare. TfL explained that the charge for the ferry was always part of its plan as the fare would go towards funding the operations. Also all concessions and the hopper fare will be accepted on the service.
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