Memorandum by West Yorkshire Passenger
Transport Executive (TYP 37)
Metro is the Passenger Transport Executive in
West Yorkshire and is responsible for the co-ordination and promotion
of public transport in the metropolitan districts of Bradford,
Calderdale, Kirklees, Leeds and Wakefield. As the leading partner
in the development of the Local Transport Plan it is pursuing
the delivery of an integrated transport system through investment
in public transport facilities, and co-ordination with Local Authorities,
transport operators and government bodies
West Yorkshire with a population of 2.1 million
contains both urban and rural areas. It includes the key urban
centres such as Leeds, Bradford, Wakefield, Halifax and Huddersfield.
While the area in general benefits from the economic growth of
Leeds, many sections of its population are yet to benefit. Consequently
some areas of the county suffer from deprivation and some residents
remain excluded socially and economically from recent improvements
created by the growth of economic opportunities. The key aims
of transport investment must address economic, environmental and
social issues, and can be best delivered through a combination
of increased revenue expenditure in addition to capital funding
of new infrastructure.
As one of the leading Authorities in promoting
public transport (Metro are the National Passenger Transport Authority
of the year and a Centre of Excellence in Integrated Transport
Planning) Metro were invited to make a submission to the 10 Year
Plan Inquiry. This submission will be made in the following format:
Consideration of the issues identified
and questions raised in the areas listed in Press Notice No. 22,
dated 5 December 2001:
Assumptions in the Plan.
Implementation of the Plan.
The Plan and an integrated transport
Comment on specific problems faced
in West Yorkshire, the range of solutions that could solve them
and the adequacy of the Plan in employing such solutions.
What assumptions should be modified or challenged?
The major assumption upon which the Plan is
based is that the scale of its funding is adequate to deliver
the required outcomes. There is concern that the scale of funding
identified is not adequate, and furthermore there is a lack of
confidence that the anticipated sources of funding can be relied
General concerns are listed below, followed
by comment on specific issues related to pubic transport operations
within a Metropolitan area.
The level of capital investment is
not adequate. Evidence indicates that the UK has historically
committed a lower proportion of GDP to transport investment than
the average for EU member states and that our recent per capita
investment is below the EU average. Recent evidence from the CfIT
identifies that the UK has been investing around 0.6 per cent
of its GDP on transport compared to between 1.10 per cent and
1.25 per cent invested by France, Germany and Italy. The projected
per capita expenditure on transport identified in the Plan will
raise levels to those comparable with the EU average during the
mid 1980s to mid 1990s, but these levels are dependent upon private
sector support. This raises the question of the extent to which
this will enable the UK to catch up with the rest of Europe. If
viewing investment as a proportion of GDP, the levels of funding
in the Plan are actually lower than the mid 1980s to mid 1990s
in the second half of the Plan period and would still remain below
the EU average. Non-rail investment will continue to be lower
than the EU average for the duration of the Plan period, which
would imply that high quality public transport infrastructure
comparable with other EU member states is not going to be delivered.
Recent studies into existing LRT
systems in the UK suggest that the degree of integration between
modes needs to be increased in order to achieve levels of use
comparable with European systems. Investment in infrastructure
alone is not the best way to achieve this.
Ability to fund outcomes of the South
and West Yorkshire Multi Modal Study (SWYMMS) and other MMSs which
are as yet unknown.
Costs of delivery plan (£121
billion) may not be able to meet an increase in rail infrastructure
Road user charging may not deliver
revenue of £1.2 billion.
Levels of private investment are
Private involvement in local transport
is less likely where services are provided for social and environmental
Willingness of transport operators
and businesses to invest in new markets rather than consolidate
existing market share.
Increase in PFI funding may not be
achieved if difficulties faced by London Underground are repeated.
The Rail Modernisation fund is no
Ability of bus quality partnerships
to deliver with no control on fares and service levels.
The Competition Act creates inconsistencies
affecting the ability to develop quality partnerships between
PTAs and operators.
Congestion charging and work place parking levies
are two measures identified to affect demand and behaviour, but
there is little emphasis on "hearts and minds" campaigns
which if marketed successfully could affect behaviour and be supported
from the community up, rather than imposed from the top down.
The Plan does not identify the need for integrated
comprehensive bus networks and this over estimates the effect
investment in transport infrastructure alone can have on modal
transfers. There needs to be greater acknowledgement of the role
of bus operators and the effects of competition between different
operators and the difficulties this presents to modal integration.
Bus operators aim to achieve fuller buses thereby maximising revenue,
and the trend is for them to concentrate on profitable core routes.
Access to public transport is also required outside these core
route catchment areas where demand might be too low for commercial
services. Revenue subsidy, or cross subsidy is required to expand
the areas which can access public transport networks. Even the
availability of expanded public transport networks will not in
itself necessarily reduce social exclusion, if fare levels are
not set at appropriate levels.
In particular, will the expected number of congestion
charging and workplace parking levy schemes be implemented and
It is unlikely that different Authorities within
Metropolitan areas will act uniformly on the implementation of
such revenue raising schemes. Metro has no power to introduce
such schemes or control the use of any revenue raised. There will
need to be coordinated action by different Authorities to achieve
consistency and appropriate reinvestment in public transport.
Such schemes in West Yorkshire are unlikely to be introduced before
the Supertram network is opened in 2007. If the network is successful
in attracting car users and so reducing congestion, then such
charging may not need to be implemented. It remains to be seen
if such a "stick" is required to supplement the "carrot"
of Supertram and other investments in public transport (bus guideways,
priority corridors, interchanges, new rolling stock etc). It is
unclear nationally how or where eight congestion charging schemes
and 12 workplace parking schemes will be delivered.
More fundamentally, passing the responsibility
for the introduction of demand management through charging, will
undermine the speed at which such schemes are introduced. Political
leadership on this issue would best come from a national level
if it is to be applied consistently and effectively.
How important are the assumptions to the outcome
of the plan? What remedial action is necessary if assumptions
or targets need to be changed?
The primary concern is that the anticipated
levels of funding may not be achieved (from private investment
and road user charging for example) and this may necessitate an
increase in the balance of public contributions or a scaling down
of the Plan. Furthermore those levels of funding identified may
not be sufficient to deliver the objectives and targets. In order
to increase available funding other sources could be sought such
as for example accessing the increasing profits from bus operators,
extended road user charging or through direct or indirect taxation.
It would be difficult to arrange these additional funding sources
quickly in response to targets not being delivered, which would
only be indicated once the Plan's delivery programme is underway.
Are the skills and capacity available to deliver
the improvements suggested?
Currently not. Recruitment of skilled/experienced
staff is difficult, with partner Authorities often seeking resources
from the same limited supply of labour. Transport planners, highway
engineers, rail engineers, public transport analysts are all in
short supply, and the anticipated requirements for consultation,
marketing and promotion place more demands for expanded skills
on existing or new staff. There is some scope for eliminating
duplication of research, development and design through sharing
of resources and experience between Authorities in West Yorkshire
and other Metropolitan areas, but the necessity to ensure improvements
are publicly responsive and are fully consulted requires high
levels of input from local staff. Existing staff are expected
to become more efficient through the development of good practice
and experience. As the Plan period develops resources will be
most in demand for scheme identification, design, project management
and public liaison.
The recruitment, training and retention of train
drivers, and to a lesser extent, bus drivers, are currently causing
operational difficulties for operators and undermining service
provision. These issues should be addressed, through a national
training initiative for example, in order to complement the delivery
of the Plan.
How will the current situation in the railway
industry affect the need for and provision of private and public
Uncertainty, lack of public confidence, poor
staff morale and a disgruntled travelling public contribute to
making private sector investment more difficult to secure, thereby
increasing the amount of public investment required to fund the
Plan. The length of franchise periods also influences the level
of commitment from the private sector. Railways in Metropolitan
areas require ongoing subsidy, and the private sector investment
is therefore required as it is unlikely that public funding can
be expanded at local level. Private sector investment may focus
on areas where higher commercial returns may result. Private involvement
is more likely to focus on investment in the southeast and inter-city
routes to the detriment of the Metropolitan areas and Shire counties
where other social and wider economic benefits could be achieved.
Is the balance and phasing of investment across
funding areas correct?
Journeys are becoming longer and the division
between local and strategic movement is therefore more blurred.
Funding for some local major schemes should come from the national
allocation rather than the local allocation where they have a
strategic impact. Given past under-investment in rail it is appropriate
that the rail/road split is focused on rail investment. The local
transport element of the Plan would benefit from clarification
between spending in rural/urban areas. The need for Local Authorities
to fund increased revenue budgets to support capital schemes has
to be provided for.
Are more flexible financing arrangements required
to deliver major local schemes?
In terms of major public transport schemes more
revenue spending should be available to expand the extent of public
transport networks (in space and time) and encourage the uptake
of new travel by public transport. Alternatively, rather than
rely on private capital investments for construction or capital
investment, these investments could be commuted to provide payments
to meet revenue for maintenance of facilities (such as interchanges
or bus stops) or to subsidise the costs of travel and/or the extent
of the network coverage. In addition there is concern that the
risks of development should not be borne by Local Authorities.
The use of Plan investment funds to finance feasibility and development
work should be allowed, thereby sharing risk on major schemes
between partners. There is an issue of the phasing of investment
to ensure that funding matches expenditure.
How do the emerging multi-modal studies affect
the 10 Year Plan?
The studies will identify the spatial distribution
and levels of existing, and future, demand for travel, and will
produce potential solutions based on quantified information. Specific
costed solutions may necessitate prioritising between regions
if overall costs are greater than those identified in the Plan.
The studies should be nationally consistent but are however guided
by regional objectives and assumptions, which may be inconsistent.
Being strategic, there will be a need to interpret their findings,
solutions and impacts at a local level to avoid incompatibility.
If the studies identify schemes to be included within LTPs there
will need to be regional agreement on phasing and implementation
Should the plan represent a better balance between
large and small schemes, and between infrastructure, management
The Plan represents a strategy and identifies
(a not exclusive list of) the potential methods to improve the
transport infrastructure. At a local level, the Local Transport
Plan process will address the balance between large and small
scale schemes, which the national Plan cannot adequately address.
The balance between infrastructure, management and operations
is more difficult and the revenue elements identified in the Plan
are more difficult to estimate given the technological uncertainty
in the costs of congestion management and charging technology,
for example. Such revenue costs do not explicitly cover the costs
of subsidising public transport networks or fares and may need
to be reviewed once the infrastructure is delivered, and the effects
of it on usage and reducing social exclusion become apparent.
Are the targets and the dates for their achievement
well designed (eg is reducing congestion the right objective)?
The target to reduce congestion should be qualified
to identify prioritising benefits to public transport since reducing
journey times can in itself attract travel from cars. The provision
of additional capacity will result in increased demand for travel
and targets should be related to modal splits between different
travel modes. There is little mention of reducing road space to
benefit public transport. Many highways in town centres and at
bottlenecks on urban local roads cannot be expanded to provide
priority to public transport without land take, unless demand
management measures are in place to reduce travel by car users.
The target to increase bus usage should be qualified by including
reference to new travel, by previous car users and those previously
excluded through reasons of mobility and income. The targets for
rail use may need adjustment to reflect recent events. The target
to increase bus use, by transfers from other modes and induced
demand for bus travel, will have implications on the levels of
public investment in concessionary fares budget. This will have
consequences for Passenger Transport Authorities and affect their
ability to maintain other services at existing levels through
revenue expenditure eg tendered bus services, maintenance of facilities.
The 50 per cent target increase in rail passenger kilometres rather
than passenger journeys will focus attention on rail travel in
the south east and inter city journeys, to the detriment of Metropolitan
areas outside London. The 50 per cent target may need reviewing
in the light of recent events.
What other targets, if any, should be included
(eg modal shift, walking, traffic levels?)
Accessibility to public transport within urban
areas should be included as a target in the same way as for rural
areas. Targets should also address public transport fares, the
provision and accessibility of public transport information and
the promotion of integrated travel through reducing car mileage
and increasing public transport passenger mileage and the ability
to interchange between modes.
Should a more regional approach be adopted for
Regions are starting from a different base and
the ability to deliver targets within them is therefore different.
While more difficult to define, a regional approach would reflect
more local aspirations and abilities. The inter relationship between
rural and urban areas, particularly with regard to commuting into
West Yorkshire from rural hinterlands requires the application
of different policies by different Authorities, and as travel
often transcends administrative boundaries consistency in policies,
infrastructure, fares and services can be difficult to achieve.
Given the different baseline conditions between London/south east
and other Metropolitan areas, specific targets more relevant to
local conditions and existing measures should be set.
How well does the Plan balance social and environmental
policy with efficient investment?
The Plan focuses on achieving limited quantified
effects, without specifying the importance of a comprehensive
public transport network which is effectively part of a door-to-door
network. Importantly it does not address public transport fare
levels and their role in making public transport more inclusive
through affordability. The rail network widens the catchment area
to major urban centres but the potential benefit it offers in
widening access to employment can be reduced through unaffordable
fares for those on limited income. A balance is needed to optimise
revenue while restraining price levels, and ensuring public transport
costs do not become a barrier to those seeking employment or training.
Does the Plan set out a balanced approach to all
modes (eg walking)?
The role of taxi operators in providing feeder
services to rail stations or interchanges on the core bus network
is not addressed. A door-to-door public transport network will
require services that can operate in areas, and at times, of low
density of demand for travel. Walking and cycling are also important
modes in accessing public transport networks and greater emphasis
is required on their role in accessing public transport.
Are there any conflicts between the Plan and the
policies in the White PaperA New Deal for Transport?
The two are very consistent and complement each
other. The White Paper obviously includes more detail on the types
of investment that can create an integrated transport system,
including examples of infrastructure, methods and initiatives
to encourage public transport use. As with the Plan it under estimates
the need for a comprehensive and accessible public transport network.
What impacts will policies in the European White
Paper on Transport have on the Plan?
One of the driving forces of the policy statement
is the recognition of the adverse effect congestion will have
on economic development. This stance is therefore supportive of
actions in, and anticipated outcomes from, the Plan. A framework
directive to establish the principles of infrastructure charging
and pricing structure will allow the development of charging policies
based on the user pays policy. This would allow revenue raising
measures to be applied consistently and encourage public transport
operators to use increased revenues from additional passengers
to hold or reduce fare levels, and provide opportunities to construct
new infrastructure especially rail. The EU White Paper identifies
the benefits of high-speed rail as an alternative to air travel
on key routes within Europe. This policy could benefit the development
of rail infrastructure including parkways, new track, rolling
stock, which while focused on inter city travel could offer more
opportunities to reduce car traffic and enhance local rail services
within, to and between urban centres. The development of "passenger
charters" will encourage confidence and consistency in public
transport by establishing standards of service and encouraging
good practice across the EU and the UK has much to learn from
European partners about the public's acceptability of using public
transport and this process could assist. The establishment of
the Marco Polo programme to promote alternative solutions to road
transport will provide incentives to develop innovative infrastructure.
In general the Plan is welcome. It reflects
the objectives in the White Paper, and lays out the aspirations
to tackle or avoid transport problems through investment. The
major concern is that the level of funding identified underestimates
the scale of investment required to deliver the targets identified.
Furthermore the sources and scale of private investment are not
While strong on investment in infrastructure,
the Plan tends to overlook the need for continued investment in
revenue support to ensure public transport networks are comprehensive,
fares are affordable and priorities are given to encourage modal
transfer. The objectives of the Plan would be more achievable
in West Yorkshire if Metro could define service levels, networks,
bus/rail interchange opportunities, have greater influence on
journeys in from its rural hinterland and have greater access
to revenue funding. This would require more regulation of bus
operations and the ability to raise revenue through access to
increased profits made by operators and/or access to funds generated
from congestion charging and work place charging levies.
Three major areas are identified for further
comment in relation to local issues of concern to Metro within
Fares and Social Inclusion.
The fundamental issue is whether the Transport
Act 2000 will provide an adequate framework for planning bus networks,
integrated with other modes, that meet the West Yorkshire Local
Transport Plan economic, social and environmental objectives and
the accompanying Bus Strategy. Operators act commercially and
whilst there is a degree of overlap between their commercial objectives
and the West Yorkshire Local Transport Plan economic, social and
environmental objectives there are also potential areas of conflict.
One example is shown by current tends in network
planning. Operators have tended to concentrate services on core
networks with greater density of demand, resulting in a reduced
level of service in peripheral areas which now require greater
level of public subsidy to provide socially necessary bus services.
When combined with increased tenders to provide these services,
the outcome could be a public transport network that meets the
targets of the Plan and places greater pressures on revenue budgets
but does not provide adequate network coverage.
Another example is the introduction of operator
only tickets, which, whilst benefiting some users, are intended
to increase operator market share rather than market size and
are inconsistent with an integrated approach to ticketing.
A further example is the difficulty in ensuring
that bus networks develop in a way that is complementary to the
Leeds Supertram system. Bidders for the system will price the
risks posed by potential competitive actions by bus operators,
thereby potentially increasing the public sector cost.
Whilst the Transport Act 2000 makes provision
for statutory quality schemes, Quality Contracts, ticketing strategies
and information strategies it remains to be seen how effective
these will be in securing an integrated transport system.
Rail travel in West Yorkshire has, with the
exception of the current year (post Hatfield, driver shortages
and floods) been increasing year on year. Much of this growth
is the result of new job creation in Leeds rather than the actions
of train operating companies. The performance of the main operator
of local services has been appalling in terms of cancellations,
punctuality investment, provision of adequate capacity and customer
Whilst the investment in Leeds Station provides
new opportunities, there is an urgent need to invest in additional
rolling stock, to rationalise rolling stock to assist better utilization
and address industry wide problems of driver recruitment and training.
Metro has set out aspirations for the development of the local
and strategic rail networks in RailPlan five. However, delivery
of these aspirations will require more commitment from Government
and the Strategic Rail Authority that has been evident in the
years since privatisation.
User Costs and Social Inclusion
Metro is concerned that the actions of private
operators to maximize revenue, rather than social or economic
benefits, will continue to exclude people for reasons of cost.
Public transport users in this country pay a higher proportion
of operating costs than is the case in other EU member states.
Whilst the privatisations in the 1980s and 1990s have produced
efficiency gains and driven down costs, these will not in themselves
necessarily result in a public transport system with affordable
fares, which is accessible to all.