Working in partnership with London TravelWatch

Transport User Voice – December 2021 – Around Great Britain

29 November 2021

The West Midlands, Wales, Scotland and London

West Midlands

The Integrated Rail Plan means the Midlands could be getting a Rail Hub. While it will need following up with robust and fully-costed business cases, the benefit to connecting East and West Midlands is clear. This, along with better links with Nottingham, Coventry and Leicester as well as the opening up of the Camp Hill Line have long been championed locally. Users of Moor Street station could also benefit with the possibility of a third cross-city line in future.

As the region gears up for the festive period, it has been hit by the suspension of Metro services from 13 November until further notice. This follows the discovery of cracks which meant all trams were removed from service for a minimum of four weeks to start repairs.

Transport for West Midlands gave information on alternative forms of transport and said tickets will be accepted on other routes until early December. However the Mayor has started an independent enquiry to work out the root cause of this problem and ensure the situation cannot happen again. The withdrawal of Metro services puts more strain on an increasingly busy public transport system linking Wolverhampton and Birmingham.

 

Wales

Welsh Government is establishing a transport performance Board. This is to keep an eye on the progress of the Wales Transport Strategy and supporting plans as these are delivered. This is along with a core reference group of critical friends who will challenge and provide feedback as the strategy progresses. Transport Focus has a seat at both of these which means we have the opportunity to shape plans for improving transport for passengers in Wales.

Transport for Wales has partnered with TrawsCymru to offer passengers travel between West Wales and Aberystwyth with one combined ticket. This knocks off around two hours from the journey time and saves money when compared with rail-only journeys.

We were recently invited by Transport for Wales to try out the service and see what the experience is like for passengers. We looked at the whole journey experience including planning, links between rail and bus and the onboard experience. We mentioned some areas where we think the experience could be made better and smoother for passengers and will be working with the team to secure these improvements.

Over recent months we’ve given feedback on Cardiff Queen Street which was looking particularly run down. This was then put into Transport for Wales’ improvement plan for the station. Passing through the station recently, it was good to see the station has been re-painted making the environment much brighter and more welcoming for passengers. The cafe has also reopened and new, clearer signage has been introduced throughout. Take a look here for some of our before and after photos.

 

Scotland

The eyes of the world were on Glasgow this month for COP26. It was good to see both ScotRail and First Bus play a role in showcasing public transport’s net zero potential.

Hydrogen and battery-powered prototype trains were showcased during the COP26 climate change conference. Scotland is preparing to phase out diesel from the railways within 14 years. First Bus launched 22 new electric buses for the event which marked a significant step in plans to have a zero-emission fleet by 2035.

However, we also heard about the many challenges that lay ahead.

Since COP1 in Berlin in 1995, UK surface transport emissions had fallen by less than one per cent by 2019. Meanwhile, UK aviation rose by two thirds. Data shows UK transport sector emissions have risen from 157 metric tons of carbon dioxide equivalent (MTCO2e) in 1995 to 167 MTCO2e in 2019. Also transport has climbed from one fifth of the total UK greenhouse gas emissions to one third.

Delivering on climate change plans requires a route map that provides much-needed detail on how targets are going to be met.

Take a look at our sustainability report which also explores this subject.

 

London

It’s a critical time for London’s public transport. The deadline for Transport for London to reach a financial settlement with the Government comes to an end on 11 December. If Transport for London is unable to find the money required there would need to be an 18 per cent reduction in bus services. Tube services would also be cut by nine per cent to balance the books.

This could result in a million fewer public transport journeys a day and drive a significant number of Londoners back into their cars. London TravelWatch and an alliance of organisations from across the capital have come together to try and make the case against cutbacks. London’s post-pandemic economic recovery depends on providing a robust transport system for those people who rely on these services to go about their lives. It would also have a negative impact on climate change goals.

 

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