Transport User Voice – June 2021 – A look around Great Britain
27 May 2021
Wales, Scotland and London
Following the Senedd elections, the first minister announced his new cabinet. Transport will be the responsibility of climate change minister, Julie James MS, and her deputy minister, Lee Waters MS.
Transport Focus is engaging with the new Welsh Government and ministers to provide insight and support from our research. We’ll be making sure passengers are at the heart of the post-Covid recovery and emerging plans for rail reform.
We work closely with Transport for Wales as its flagship service for passengers between Cardiff and Holyhead develops. Passengers are promised newly refurbished trains, improved customer information screens, a new and innovative catering service and a strong focus on customer service.
We’ll continue to make sure our passenger research is fed into the design process.
Following the Scottish Parliament elections, there is a new ministerial team for transport. Michael Matheson MSP, who worked on transport, infrastructure and connectivity in the last government, been appointed as cabinet secretary for net zero, energy and transport. Also Graeme Dey MSP has been appointed minister for transport. As transport is one of the largest areas of Government spend, a second minister with specific responsibility for transport will be a huge benefit.
The legislation for the 2019 Transport (Scotland) Bill, delayed due to Covid, will now be drafted, debated and agreed. This secondary legislation will be key in setting out a new landscape for bus that delivers for passengers and increases bus patronage.
Timetable changes took place on the rail network from 17 May. We welcomed the changes as ScotRail added more than 400 extra trains to its timetable. This supports the lifting of lockdown restrictions and a return towards a more normal way of life. Almost 2000 trains a day are running with a daily increase of 432 on the timetable that came into effect during February.
London TravelWatch welcomed the release of the highly anticipated Rail White Paper (now called the Williams-Shapps Plan for Rail) last week. The organisation pointed out the success of London’s integrated transport system and welcomed the emphasis on having a single guiding mind, local accountability through devolution and a fares policy that is fair to passengers.
It was also great to see that the campaign started by London TravelWatch to save free bus travel for under 18s in London has been recognised with an award at the Sheila McKechnie Foundation annual awards this year. By sounding the alarm and pulling together an alliance, which included the Child Poverty Action Group and Partnership for Young London, London TravelWatch helped get the issue on the agenda. The research carried out by London TravelWatch, based on interviews with young people, was highly praised by assembly members, the mayor and MPs and played a key part in the campaign’s success.
Also this month, London TravelWatch sent a letter to transport commissioner, Andy Byford. This was to ask about Transport for London’s (TfL) plans to reinstate cash payments in time for 21 June at the stations where this option was removed at the start of the pandemic.
On 17 May Transport for London increased capacity on buses. With help from Transport Focus London TravelWatch provided examples on how bus operators outside of London let passengers know how busy their service would be. London TravelWatch asked if Transport for London had plans to provide similar information.
Finally, London TravelWatch is starting to work on a personal safety project which will look at how different groups feel about their personal security when they are moving around London.
Back to newsletter.