The UK’s network of urban transport authorities has welcomed the news that the Williams-Shapps Plan for rail will give ‘local leaders…greater control over local ticketing, timetables and stations.’
It also welcomed the announcement that new Passenger Service Contracts will use a template, pioneered by transport authorities like Transport for London, designed to ensure that the railways better meet the needs of the people and places they serve.
The Managing Director of Transport North East, Tobyn Hughes, who leads for UTG on rail, said:
“Railways are a key component of local public transport networks, and they also provide our towns and cities with the regional and national connectivity they need. This is why transport authorities are some of the biggest investors in the railway and why one in three rail trips are made on services for which devolved authorities and administrations are responsible.
“The Williams-Shapps plan is an opportunity to build on the success of devolved rail networks like London Overground and Merseyrail Electrics by giving transport authorities a stronger role in line with local aspirations and capabilities. There is an immediate opportunity on fares and ticketing to better integrate rail with existing city region smart and multi-modal ticketing products. Passengers in the city regions want a joined up public transport network with a single ticketing system and rail needs to be part of this, not standing outside of it.”
Tobyn Hughes added:
“If the city regions are to build back better after the pandemic then we need to expand urban rail networks – with new routes and services and more capacity. This in turn means the railway needs to become more responsive and efficient. A streamlined structure, clearer lines of accountability and tighter contracts should help underpin this so that the railway can play its full part in working with us to support a green and robust recovery from COVID–19.”