Sturgeon: ScotRail is in ‘last chance saloon’
The Scottish government has accepted a remedial performance plan from ScotRail, but first minister Nicola Sturgeon has warned the company to treat it “very much as a last chance saloon”. She told MSPs that if performance does not improve or ScotRail fails to deliver contract requirements it “does of course run the risk of the franchise being terminated early”.
The remedial plan was ordered at the end of last year after punctuality fell below breach level in the run up to, and after the December timetable change. It contains £18m of commitments, including hiring additional trains and staff to increase the reliability of the company’s service.
DfT sets out thinking on open data for buses
The Department for Transport has announced how it intends to place new requirements on bus operators to release data about bus services in England in a move that is expected to encourage the technology sector to develop new and enhanced travel apps.
The Bus Services Act 2017 saw provisions made for operators to be required to provide information about bus routes, stopping places, timetables, fares, tickets and the operation of services. It led to a consultation by the DfT last summer with the findings now being published.
It says numerous responses from bus operators, local transport authorities and application developers validated previous messages from the industry calling for support for the bus sector to improve data availability, quality and coverage.
GWR faces ‘open access’ rival
Open access entrepreneur Ian Yeowart is planning a new London-Cardiff service that would provide the first competition to Great Western Railway since privatisation 25 years ago.
A notification to the Office of Rail and Road shows that Yeowart’s new open access company, Grand Union, is developing proposals for an hourly service running non-stop to Bristol Parkway before calling at Severn Tunnel Junction, Newport and Cardiff Central. Grand Union is aiming to start operating from December 2020 using Class 91/DVT sets due to be cascaded from the East Coast Main Line.
Watchdog hits out at TfL’s bus plans
London TravelWatch has called on Transport for London and the London boroughs to prioritise bus travel in a bid to reverse passenger decline. It follows the watchdog’s scrutiny of TfL’s new business plan, published last month.
London TravelWatch has voiced concerns that the document assumes journey times will get longer, and that there will be longer gaps in service together with a drop in bus service mileage. The watchdog is calling on the borough councils and TfL to do more to improve buses in the capital.
Financial support for the network will also increase according to the plan, rising from £654m in 2018/19 to £714m in 2019/20. This support is expected to reach £723m in 2020/21 before falling back in subsequent years.
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.