Transport User Voice – November 2021 – What’s happening across Great Britain
29 October 2021
Scotland, Wales, the West Midlands, and London
Earlier this month, we responded to ScotRail’s ‘Fit for the Future’ consultation. We noted that ScotRail’s proposed timetable is a start to encouraging a return to public transport but will need to be proactive in attracting people back.
Our research shows there is a distinct gap between those who have used public transport and those who have not, with the latter being much more concerned about using public transport again. A consistent message needs to be supported from the top to show that public transport is clean, safe, and ready to use.
We also responded to Transport Scotland’s consultation on models for bus partnerships. We saw that transport challenges vary across local transport authorities. Those in towns and cities across the central belt of Scotland won’t have the same experience with transport as those living in towns and cities in other parts of the country, let alone remote, rural and island communities.
These challenges will need a range of solutions that focus on setting targets for passenger growth as well as priorities of existing passengers.
Transport Focus is talking to Transport for Wales (TfW) about its plans for rail timetables in Wales. This involves maximising opportunities for better services that passengers want to see.
We were told that the long-distance north-south service is now running the refurbished carriages we mentioned last month on some of its journeys.
We also engaged with the Wales Route Supervisory Board about planned improvements at Holyhead. We also discussed transport developments in North Wales and shared our research on future rail commuting.
We have been feeding back our experience on the network to TfW. On a recent journey between Manchester to Swansea, there were several good points to note, such as good capacity available for social distancing and cleanliness of the service. There were, however, several areas for improvement such as quality of information and support for passengers following an unscheduled change of service at Cardiff Central. We also noted that there was a lack of both onboard announcements (audio and visual) and information about face covering requirements.
Transport for Wales is seeking to improve its service and has used our feedback as a case study for customer improvement. We have been told that conductors have been trained and that new recorded messages on face coverings are being introduced to services. We will continue to keep an eye on the situation.
We also noticed that there was no information on the information boards at Briton Ferry station. After we fed this back to TfW, this has now been fixed.
A huge amount is going on in the West Midlands across all forms of travel.
Birmingham continues to invest in rail and its infrastructure ahead of next year’s Commonwealth Games. There is a brand-new Perry Barr station close to the athletics stadium and a fully remodelled university station along with a whole range of exciting and innovative projects.
Passenger needs are being met by the introduction of new sprint routes and timetables linking to other services.
The region’s metro system is also being extended and developed towards Edgbaston and will finally link to the new Wolverhampton railway station. With connections to local bus services, Wolverhampton’s potential as an industry-leading interchange is finally about to be realised.
On bus, Coventry UK City of Culture is also leading the way with its pollution-busting plans to be the UK’s first all-electric bus city by 2025. This will mean improved air quality and lower running costs.
With an impressive cycle hire scheme in place across the region, active travel is thriving. This is supported by advanced local schemes like roll and stroll and incentives to be carbon neutral by 2041.
With the Christmas markets opening in early November, and Stourbridge winning the World Cup of Stations it’s a busy but exciting time.
London TravelWatch’s Don’t Cut the Bus campaign continues with a new video due to be released very soon. There’ll be an online webinar in December.
Research into the personal security of Londoners travelling on public transport is in its final stages. There have been very positive meetings with politicians, transport authorities along with the Metropolitan and British Transport Police forces on how the recommendations can be applied.
Also this month, London TravelWatch and London First held a joint event in Parliament, campaigning for sustainable and long-term funding for public transport across the capital. MPs from across the political spectrum attended the event, along with representatives from Sustrans, Transport for All and Clean Cities.
During the event, London TravelWatch presented this video featuring key workers who relied on the city’s public transport throughout the pandemic.
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