Transport User Voice – September 2020 – What’s happening around Great Britain

27 August 2020

Looking at Scotland, Wales and London


Transport Focus attended the Scotland Rail Recovery Taskforce meeting earlier this month. We updated the taskforce on the latest findings from our weekly travel during Covid-19 survey, detailing the behaviours, attitudes and experiences of passengers travelling during these times.

We were pleased to note that following the timetable changes at the beginning of August, performance on Scotland’s railway was still at high levels and communication on the changes had been well received by passengers.

Less than 24 hours later everyone at Transport Focus shared the sorrow felt in Scotland’s railway at the tragic event close to Stonehaven when, following a derailment, two members of staff and a passenger sadly lost their lives.

We joined railway colleagues in a mark of respect by falling silent for one minute exactly one week on from this tragic event.

We note that the Rail Accident Investigation Branch (RAIB) is undertaking a comprehensive investigation of the incident and will publish its findings, including any recommendations to improve safety, at the conclusion of the investigation.


Transport restrictions lifted

The essential travel restriction was lifted on public transport from 17 August, as part of Welsh Government’s next steps to easing coronavirus controls. As more locations and businesses open up, people are now able to use public transport to make more journeys. It is essential that changes are communicated clearly, so Transport Focus is working with Transport for Wales Rail to monitor how this is managed.

The Welsh Government is also providing additional funding to enhance scheduled bus service levels through to the end of September which is a very welcome step to give passengers confidence to travel.

Transport Focus chairs advisory panel

Senior manager Wales, David Beer, is chairing the Transport for Wales Advisory Panel for the next few months. He took his first meeting at the end of July, joined by around 15 senior stakeholders from a range of sectors. Presentations focused on flexible transport, sustainable development and new trains being built for the Wales and Borders network. David led a discussion on emerging from Covid-19, sharing the latest results from our research and talking through impacts and how to encourage transport use as restrictions ease in Wales.

The panel also had an overview of the Wales Transport Strategy, which is currently being written and will have opportunity to feed into the process to ensure passenger priorities are at the heart.

Passenger insight

Over recent months we have been sharing our weekly Covid-19 travel survey findings with a wide range of stakeholders across Wales and this is ensuring the passenger voice is being heard and used in planning processes. We have been working closely with Transport for Wales, highlighting key concerns for passengers about travel during the pandemic. Its own survey which complements our travel survey has recently launched – make sure you have your say!*

*Also available in Welsh here.


This month London TravelWatch has been busy representing transport users in a number of ways. Ahead of the announcement on National Rail fares increases, it called for three key changes to support people commuting into London:

  1. Part-time season tickets: London TravelWatch’s work with Transport Focus during the current pandemic has shown that the world of work is changing, with 49 per cent expecting their job will be home-based in the future, rising to 54 per cent in London. Part-time season tickets and carnets are going to be needed to encourage commuters back onto the trains.
  2. Fares capping: Transport for London is able to use fares caps to help part-time bus and tube workers using Oyster/contactless by guaranteeing that they will pay no more in a day than a fifth of the cost of a seven day travelcard ticket. London TravelWatch wants commuters into London to benefit from this kind of capping too.
  3. End unfair season ticket prices:For some years, London TravelWatch has highlighted how unfair season ticket prices can be, with people commuting into London from places like Hemel Hempstead in Hertfordshire paying up to £35 a week more than those travelling a similar distance from Oxted in Surrey.

London TravelWatch also launched an active travel campaign to encourage Londoners to have their say on the changes that have been/are being made to London’s streets and transport network during the current pandemic. Have a look at this guide for all the changes and details of who to contact at Transport for London and the councils in London.


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