Edinburgh crowned ‘congestion champions’

Congestion

Traffic congestion got worse in two-thirds of the 25 UK cities included in TomTom Traffic Index, a report detailing the traffic situation in 403 cities in 56 countries around the world.

Mumbai took the top spot this year with drivers in the Indian city expecting to spend an average of 65% extra travel time stuck in traffic. Edinburgh was the UK’s most congested city, and the 27th most congested globally. The Scottish capital experienced an average daily ‘congestion level’ of 40%, ahead of London with 37%.

Richard Hall, managing director of Edinburgh’s main bus operator, Lothian, said that worsening congestion has added millions of pounds to his company’s costs – requiring extra vehicles and drivers to be added simply to maintain the existing level of service.

Out of everywhere in the UK, we find ourselves in the unenviable position of being crowned as champions of congestion,” he said. “We now need a collective effort to get us moving.”

TomTom uses anonymised GPS data collected via navigation devices, in-dash systems and smartphones to calculate its Traffic Index statistics. The location technology specialist begins by establishing a baseline of travel times during uncongested, free flow conditions across each road segment in each city. It then analyses travel times across the entire year (24/7) for each city and compares this information against free flow periods to establish the additional travel time figure.

Virgin partners launch open access service bid

A partnership of Virgin Group, Stagecoach, SNCF and Alstom has applied to the Office of Rail & Road for permission to operate open access trains between London and Liverpool from May 2021. The partners in the project claim that the new open access operation would be “the UK’s most advanced and customer-focused rail service”.

The partners have recently launched legal action after their bid for the West Coast Partnership contract to operate intercity services on the West Coast Main Line and, ultimately, the HS2 high speed rail link, was disqualified by the Department for Transport.

For the open access proposal, Virgin Trains is seeking 24 open access services per day between London Euston and Liverpool Lime Street, calling at Lichfield, Tamworth, Nuneaton and Liverpool South Parkway.

It is understood that it proposes to use Class 91 locomotives and rolling stock cascaded from LNER services on the East Coast Main Line. These are currently in the process of being replaced with LNER’s new Azuma class.

Among a range of customer service enhancements, Virgin says that all tickets would also include a seat reservation and there would be a full refund to any passenger who had to stand in the event of disruption.

Northern Mayors say ‘enough is enough’

The mayors of Greater Manchester and the Liverpool City Region have called on transport secretary Chris Grayling to pull the plug on Arriva’s contract to operate the Northern rail franchise as soon as possible.

Andy Burnham and Steve Rotheram issued the plea 12 months on from the chaos of last May’s timetable change, adding that they believe the company has “consistently failed to show they are able to take the action required to restore public confidence” or bring forward their “legally-binding franchise requirements”.

They have urged the Department of Transport to bring in the Operator of Last Resort alongside a new board and team of directors to run the service as soon possible.

About the Author

This post was written by Robert Jack. Robert is Managing Editor and Publisher of Passenger Transport. He has worked as a journalist, editor and publisher in the passenger transport sector for 18 years. He has played a key role in many transport-related conferences and events.

Robert Jack

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