Memorandum by the Confederation of Passenger
Transport UK (TYP 34)
Limited progress has been made in implementing
the bus and coach elements of the Plan. The key problems are lack
of enforcement of bus priority measures and lack of progress on
introducing congestion charging. Despite these problems bus patronage
increased by one per cent in 2000-01. To ensure that the 10 per
cent target will be met by 2010 there will need to be continued
expansion of bus priority measures, better enforcement of these
measures, extra spending on the Fuel Duty Rebate, and the introduction
of several congestion charging schemes.
The light rail aspects of the Plan are progressing
well. In 2000-01 patronage increased by 27 per cent and the target
of doubling patronage by 2010 should be met. However it is less
certain that the number of new light rail lines will approach
the 25 mentioned in the Plan. Funding may be constrained by lack
of progress on introducing congestion charging.
Progress on promoting integration between different
modes of transport is being hampered by Government competition
policy and financial services regulation.
The Confederation of Passenger Transport UK
(CPT) is the trade association for bus, coach and light rail operators.
We welcome the opportunity to contribute to this inquiry. This
submission addresses buses and coaches, light rail and integrated
transport policy in turn.
1. Buses and coaches
In our original submission to the then DETR
on the 10 Year Plan we argued that bus and coach passenger growth
depended on the following factors:
Extra public sector investment in
Better enforcement of bus priority
The widespread introduction of road
pricing and workplace parking charges
Extra current public expenditure.
On public sector investment in bus-related infrastructure
there has been some progress. The Plan projected substantial increases
in funding of local transport in general and this has been realised.
Although the Plan did not specify allocations for bus-related
schemes, spending on these schemes (such as bus lanes and stations)
appears to have increased, according to the limited data available,
and is set to increase further.
It is important that funding for local transport
(which includes light rail as well as bus) is delivered in accordance
with the Plan, and that funds are neither re-allocated by the
Government (for example to tackle problems with the rail network)
nor diverted to other uses within the local authorities' single
capital pots. Local forms of public transport account for the
vast majority of public transport journeys and are particularly
important for the socially excludedthose without access
to a car and from lower income groups.
On enforcement of bus priority measure there
has been little progress. The Plan made no specific commitments
on this and there has been very limited progress outside London.
The police should give a much higher priority to bus-related enforcement
There has also been little progress on road
pricing and workplace parking charges. The Plan assumed eight
congestion charging and 12 workplace parking schemes in England
outside London, as well as congestion charging in London. While
the London scheme is progressing well, the target is very unlikely
to be met outside London. Much more support and encouragement
for local authorities is needed.
There has been some progress on extra current
or revenue public expenditure. The Plan projected a modest increase
in total funding for local transport in general (a £200 million
increase in 2001-02 and then further increases), but did not specify
any allocation for buses. There has been some increase in both
total funding and bus funding during 2001-02, with extra spending
on concessionary fares for example, but published data is not
yet available. Some of the extra spending has been through challenge
funds which have only indirectly targeted passenger growth.
In our submission we advocated a substantial
increase in bus funding over the decade, of at least £300
million per annum, mainly reflecting spending on the Fuel Duty
Rebate (FDR). We proposed an increase in the rebate rate from
75 per cent to 100 per cent for local buses. In April 2001 the
rate increased from 75 per cent to 80 per cent. We also advocated
an extension of the FDR to coaches. The Government has stated
that it will extend the FDR to express coaches (in return for
reduced fares), but this has not yet been introduced and the Government
has no plans to extend the rebate to school contract buses/coaches,
works buses and private hire, tour and excursion coaches, as advocated
Overall, progress has been limited. Progress
on meeting the 10 per cent target (below) has correspondingly
been limited. Patronage increased about one per cent in England
The 10 per cent target for bus patronage growth
for England was not based on detailed modelling or analysis. Instead
it was based on the views of consultees (including ourselves)
and officials on what was achievable and realistic. We understand
that DTLR is now doing detailed modelling and analysis and we
welcome this. It should enable the target to be reviewed and if
Our view is that a more ambitious targetrelating
the target to England outside London rather than to England as
a whole, or increasing it above 10 per centshould now be
considered, but must be underpinned by this modelling and analysis.
Its appropriateness depends critically on the policy assumptions
stated above, such as on congestion charging and revenue spending.
Local and regional targets. The terms of reference
asks whether a more regional approach to targets should be adopted.
We believe that a greater emphasis should be given to local targets,
as set out in Local Transport Plans. This is because achievement
of bus targets largely depends on local actions, such as progress
on bus priority measures and road pricing. Local targets should
also apply to light rail, where relevant.
In respect of targets for the punctuality or
reliability of buses, emphasis should be given to local rather
than national targets. Local targets should be agreed between
operators and local authorities and should be included in Local
Transport Plans. They will depend on commitments by the local
authorities on bus priority measures and by operators on investment
in new vehicles, within the framework of quality partnerships.
The current nation-wide target for punctuality, recently laid
down by the Traffic Commissioners, is arbitrary and unachievable
because it takes no account of extremely variable local conditions.
The Commissioners should instead be involved in enforcing the
The balance between public and private funding
for local transport in the Plan is satisfactory. However the expected
private sector contribution, which is largely investment by bus
and coach operators in new vehicles (assumed to be £5 billion
over the decade), may prove difficult to meet. Investment was
probably below £500 million in 2001, although no official
data on new registrations is yet available. The fall in investment
relative to 2000 was due to fuel and labour cost pressures, worsening
growth prospects and (for coach operators in particular) the fall
in tourist numbers due to the foot and mouth crisis and world
insecurity. Investor confidence has also been dented by the Government's
actions with Railtrack. Policy changes, as outlined above, are
needed to increase private investment over the decade.
2. Light Rail
The Plan envisaged investing in up to 25 new
light rail lines, including new systems and extensions to existing
systems. It also set a target to double light rail patronage by
In 2000-01 patronage increased by 27 per cent
relative to 1999-2000largely due to the opening of Croydon
Tramlink. A new system is under construction in Nottingham and
plans are well advanced in Leeds, Bristol and Portsmouth. Several
extensions are also being progressed, particularly in Manchester.
A potential threat to building 25 new lines
is a shortage of funds, particularly if congestion charging and
workplace parking schemes are not introduced on the scale envisaged
in the Plan. As discussed above, progress on these schemes has
been very limited.
Another concern (also mentioned above in relation
to buses) is that funds allocated under the Plan to local transport
(which includes light rail) will be re-allocated to the national
rail system of other uses. This should be resisted.
The terms of reference mentioned the skills
and capacity issue. There is a limited amount of construction
and operating expertise in the industry, and this is already stretched,
for example in the current preparations for bids for Manchester
Metrolink extensions. Proposals outside the UK, such as in Dublin,
also compete for the same expertise. Therefore new schemes will
need to be phased in during the decade if the industry is to be
able to handle them.
CPT supports local targets for light rail patronage
as part of Local Transport Plans, as discussed above in relation
Overall, we are on target to double patronage
by 2010, but funding constraints may mean that 25 new lines will
not come to fruition within the decade.
3. Integrated Transport Policy
The measures proposed in the Plan for facilitating
journeys through better information and through ticketing should
be of benefit in attracting passengers to public transport. However
the Plan has little to say about physical interchanges between
modes. Studies have shown interchange difficulties to be the main
deterrent to greater use of multi-modal journeys. Passengers need
to be able to move easily from bus to train (for example), preferably
having to walk only a short distance, under cover and without
crossing roads. Improvement and extension of integration nationally
between modes (particularly rail and bus) is being co-ordinated
and funded by the joint industry initiative, Journey Solutions.
Improving interchanges requires investment.
Current plans by the industry to introduce multi-mode
and smart-card tickets are running into difficulties with the
Competition Act (which restricts co-operation between operators)
and the Financial Services Act (which restricts the issuing of
smart-cards and electronic purses). The Government should address
these issues, which hinder the public transport industry from
delivering benefits for the passenger.