Transport Secretary Grant Shapps announced last week that the government will take over running services on the Northern network on March 1, stripping Arriva of its franchise.
The government said that the rail network in the north has “fallen far short of delivering the service passengers need and deserve”.
Commenting on the decision, Shapps said: This is a new beginning for Northern, but it is only a beginning. Northern’s network is huge and complex and some of the things which are wrong are not going to be quick or easy to put right. But I am determined that Northern passengers see real and tangible improvements across the network as soon as possible.”
Transport for the North welcomed the decision to bring in the Operator of Last Resort (OLR).
Barry White, Chief Executive of the sub-national transport body, said the move provided “a bridge to a better, longer term solution that works for the North” and marks “the start of a journey.”
Chris Burchell, Managing Diredctor of Arriva UK Trains, said that he understood the decision to cancel a franchise plan that had become “undeliverable”.
He added: “The scale of the challenges we faced outside of our direct control were unprecedented, particularly around delayed or cancelled infrastructure projects and prolonged strike action.”
‘Millennial man’ making more use of buses
A new report by the Independent Transport Commission examines the changing travel behaviour in the bus market in England outside of London since the late 2000s.
The report – The shape of changing bus demand in England – authored by leading transport experts Dr Scott Le Vine and Emeritus Professor Peter White, uses National Travel Survey data to explore what has been happening to bus travel demand in England since 2009.
The report finds that while traditional bus markets are in decline, new ones are emerging among affluent millennials – offering a fresh long-term focus for the revival of the bus industry. Men agreed 17-39 years old are “the bus industry’s untold success story”. They are the only age/gender cohort to have increased their miles travelled by bus between 2009/11 and 2015/17. Miles per person per year within this ‘Millennial Man’ group rose by 5%.
Unreliable trains sap passenger satisfaction
Dire performance continues for many as passengers in some areas still can’t rely on their train service, says Transport Focus.
The independent watchdog last week released its latest National Rail Passenger Survey of almost 28,000 passengers. It showed that some areas started to improve, as services became more reliable and new trains were introduced. However, Northern, West Midlands Trains, South Western Railway and TransPennine Express passengers face “unacceptable continued disruption and uncomfortable journeys”.
Commenting on the survey, Transport Focus Chief Executive Anthony Smith, said: “Passengers tell us that their biggest priority is rail services they can rely on to actually get them to work or home on time. Until train companies and Network Rail can consistently deliver on their promises across the country satisfaction will continue to vary.”
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.