Examination of witnesses (Questions 20
WEDNESDAY 20 OCTOBER 1999
TUNNICLIFFE CBE, MR
SMITH and MR
20. Is that the only thing that is left then
on the riverside? Is everything else complete?
(Mr Hodson) The other major pier is the Waterloo Millennium
Wheel Pier and that is being built by another agency and is under
the auspices of British Airways. Now that the ferris wheel is
erected, there is no reason why that pier should not be delivered
in good time for the 31st December.
21. And you are confident about that?
(Mr Hodson) I am. If for any reason totally outside
the control of London Transport that is not in place, we have
a fall-back position with the existing Festival Pier and that
will be used as an alternative. The other pier is the Dome Pier
and that is completed and operational. The fourth pier is the
existing pier at Historic Greenwich and that is currently in operation.
There are no reasons to believe that that service will not be
operating. The boats are being delivered, two are already being
delivered and the other two will be delivered by early December
for the main service from Waterloo, and the other boats, the shuttle
boats, from Historic Greenwich to the Dome have either already
been built or will have been constructed and finished before the
22. If you do not live in London and it is your
first trip with your family or as a school or however you come
to London, London is quite an intimidating place because of its
size. Can you book all these tickets on a single website and can
you pay by credit card?
(Mr Richard Smith) What you can do if you are buying
your ticket to the Dome over the `phone, you can buy a Millennium
Card there and then and have it. What beyond that you would be
doing, and similarly if you are coming by national rail, is you
would buy a through ticket all the way, including London Transport
services if necessary. There is not to my knowledge, and I do
not think that NMEC have it on their website, a website which
allows you to buy it there, but there are a number of either telephone
or at normal station outlets ways to buy the tickets.
23. So it is only a telephone call system anyway?
(Mr Richard Smith) Yes.
24. There is a website called lastminute.com,
so you do not have any intention to make tickets available on
the day so that visitors and tourists can just go and access this?
(Mr Richard Smith) The difficulty is that you can
of course do that over the web, but you still have to pick up
the ticket which has the magnetic coding on it and so on, so you
would have to call at a ticket office in any case. Our view has
always been that it is better to be making sure that people presenting
a valid ticket can buy the Millennium Card there and then at that
point rather than having to pre-book and make sure you go to the
right station and so forth.
25. To what extent is the viability of the river
service dependent on who owns the Dome after the Dome is finished?
You have contracts which go beyond, but what is the downside if
there is not enough traffic or if there is a delay in the handover
of the Dome which could be three to six months and, therefore,
there would be, other than a site-seeing visit, nothing to go
to at the Dome, so what are the fall-back positions for the contractors
(Mr Hodson) The contracts have been let for the Millennium
service as specific contracts for the year of operation with the
caveat that should the exhibition go beyond the 31st December
2000, then the river contract will continue until the exhibition
finishes at the Dome. There are two contracts in place, as I have
said already, one from Waterloo, which is the express service,
and the shuttle service from Historic Greenwich. After the exhibition
has been completed, other contracts will be in place which will
allow the express service to go to Historic Greenwich rather than
the Dome and the other service will be the shuttle service, the
hopper service across the Thames which has already been inaugurated
since the 1st July this year.
26. The transport links generally to the Dome
beyond the Dome, so looking again at the legacy, what happens
then if there is not adequate call or if there is a delay in the
handover of the Dome? What then happens to the contractual obligations?
(Mr Richard Smith) Most of the transport links are
transport links that we would be providing for people travelling
from North Greenwich to use it as an underground station either
going to North Greenwich and going onwards into south-east London
and north Kent or vice versa, so most of the links are of that
nature. I guess the one that is different from that is the Millennium
Transit which is a dedicated link between Charlton and North Greenwich.
What we at London Transport are looking at with all the other
agencies obviously and particularly Greenwich is the scope for
a much more extensive service building on that and clearly we
will over the coming months be looking to see, rather than merely
holding what is there in place today, whether there is a rather
more extensive, what has been termed, water-front transit taking
you all the way along that part of the Thames south of the river.
(Mr Tunnicliffe) We have for some time been developing
such a concept and quite a lot of pre-planning has been done.
27. With respect to who owns the Dome beyond
the Dome, as it were, in 2001 and so on, what conversations, what
meetings have you had with the appropriate department to talk
about transport needs and whether they fit into a more green environment
or not? Are you involved with either the Government Office for
London or the Cabinet Office in discussions about transport needs
(Mr Richard Smith) Yes, we are involved in that whole
discussion about what should the future use be. Clearly in terms
of being able to provide, as the word goes, a sustainable use
of the Dome which clearly from our point of view would be to try
not to have an event each weekend and nothing in between, to be
providing something in the Dome that is a continuous use of a
regular high level, but not excessive level of use, we are part
of that debate and hopefully will help influence the decision
as to quite what the use is, so the transport links we have there
by public transport are the right ones for the future use of the
Dome rather than potentially something that actually we would
find quite difficult to meet the needs of because it is very high
capacity at very short notice, so we are very much involved in
28. Mr Tunnicliffe, the Committee criticised
right at the beginning the name of the station. We wanted it to
be called "The Dome". I understand that there are going
to be little pictures all over the place to help people to know
which direction they are going in. Could you tell us a bit more
about that please?
(Mr Richard Smith) It is what we have described as
a way-finding system so that at all of the key interchanges, key
points where people might need to be making a choice as to which
mode to catch, as you say, there will be little pictures of the
Dome and diagrams which direct people to make sure that they catch
the Jubilee Line or whatever it might be to take them through
our network very easily. It will be marked very clearly on our
maps as well, but we will across the network be putting up signage
in the weeks before Christmas to make sure they are there and
not disrupted over Christmas to enable people to get there and
very clearly to be saying, "This is the way to go".
(Mr Tunnicliffe) Would it be useful to touch on our
leaflet and our involvement with the Dome?
(Mr Richard Smith) You will be aware that NMEC have
produced their leaflet which gives the outline of the transport
arrangements, and I can give you all a copy of our leaflet which
sets out in much more detail the transport links to get you to
the Dome. It describes the Millennium Card as well as part of
that, but very much it is saying, "If you are in London,
here is how to get to the Dome. Here are the key links that get
you to the Dome", the timetables, if necessary, and so forth.
It is something that the Dome's leaflet directs you to ask for
from us and we have it available at all of our stations at the
moment. In the days before the opening of the Dome we will be
making it more widely available, considering how to get it into
hotels and all of those kind of outlets so that people who might
be considering going to the Dome who have come to London and who
have not already pre-planned can see what the options are and
what the public transport options particularly are.
29. Do you not think that it would be much easier
just to call the station "The Dome"?
(Mr Tunnicliffe) No. We gave you extensive evidence
last time as to why it would not be easier to do that.
30. And how much is it going to cost to put
all these pictures up?
(Mr Richard Smith) I think the cost estimate is £50,000
as opposed to a very large number to rename it. I think it is
worth saying that as well as the way-finding, we will, on all
of our announcements on train, where appropriate, and on the system,
be making sure that it is very clear that it is North Greenwich
for the Dome, so the two will be very much linked in all of the
communications we are making during the year.
31. Can I just pick up a couple of points. How
many people who have actually purchased the ticket to the Dome
already have actually also purchased one of your tickets? Do you
(Mr Richard Smith) I do not know the answer to that.
I have to say I do not know how many people have purchased the
tickets to the Dome, so it would be difficult to answer the second
part of the question.
32. So you have no idea?
(Mr Richard Smith) I do not know, no. We do expect
that a fairly high proportion will make their travel arrangement
decisions rather later in the day, so we in a sense would not
be surprised if relatively few at this stage are buying our ticket
33. There is a great tendency obviously for
you always to see travel to the Dome as a matter for people in
London travelling to the Dome, but then large numbers of people
who are going to visit the Dome, if it is going to be a success,
are going to be coming from elsewhere, so what are your conversations,
discussions and arrangements with other transport carriers?
(Mr Richard Smith) Very detailed in the sense that
national rail is one of the major players, as are coach operators
who are likely to take you all the way to the Dome and to a degree,
as Denis says, the river service will be an attraction in its
own right, but you will probably be getting a coach that takes
you all the way and all the way back. National rail clearly we
have to work with and we will have through-ticketing directly
from their services to ours. The key national rail services are
built into our product in terms of the Millennium Card and built
into this information, so we will be working very, very closely
with national rail considering whether at key stations national
rail should be holding stocks of this leaflet, for example, to
make sure that at Milton Keynes or beyond, you are able to know
what transport is available in central London.
(Mr Tunnicliffe) And of course extensive discussions
with the NMEC themselves as to what their predictions of the source
of their customers will be and how they will travel to the Dome.
34. The Heathrow Express, not operating at the
moment, I would accept, but the Heathrow Express is actually a
competitor to your own line from Heathrow, but will you include
the Heathrow Express in any arrangements you make in terms of
(Mr Richard Smith) We include it in the information,
but clearly a Millennium Card at £3.50 compared to a single
trip on the Heathrow Express of £10 and upwards, the Heathrow
Express is unlikely to be an attractive proposition, but it is
certainly part of our information about what transport is available
in London, and I hope we manage to be slightly less parochial
than saying, "If it is not London Transport at the bottom
of the page, we will ignore it". We clearly advertise Heathrow
Express as part of the network in London.
(Mr Tunnicliffe) We have a general responsibility
for transport in London. We would see the Heathrow Express not
as a competitor, but as a complement to the services we provide.
35. But you are not going to work out a ticketing
arrangement which says that you can either travel by Heathrow
Express or that you can travel by the Underground?
(Mr Richard Smith) It is not a market we have seen
as being sufficiently significant that it would be sensible to
create a special product. The danger of having more and more special
products is that you confuse people rather than actually help
them and I think our view is that there will be so few people
who will be choosing to travel by Heathrow Express and then on
to our services to the Dome that it is better to treat it as two
tickets you buy together.
(Mr Tunnicliffe) I guess we have not put much effort
into trying to persuade BAA to take £2 where they would normally
36. No, but they may wish to have full trains
and they are going to have full trains if they are going to the
Dome at times when they normally would not have full trains, if
we can put it that way.
(Mr Tunnicliffe) If they were to come to us to participate
in the £3.50 product, we would be delighted.
37. So we need to talk to the company maybe
about what their conversations are. One of my things is that more
people will actually come to London by car than I think the company
or yourselves are assuming because it is the cheapest way for
my constituents to get to London as the car is the cheapest form
of transport there is and nobody yet has come up with anything
that is cheaper. What discussions are you having with the company
and are you happy that the arrangements being made with the company
in terms of parking at your stations and elsewhere are satisfactory
to cover the numbers?
(Mr Richard Smith) I guess it is almost that there
are two different parts to that, as you say, being our stations
generally and what happens in Greenwich and the area. I guess
it is worth saying that the 35,000 visitors to the Dome is a fairly
modest number in the context of London Transport's total network,
so yes, there will be some stations which will be under severe
pressure from people who drive to the north end of one of our
lines or the east end or whatever, and clearly station car parks
will be under pressure. As a consequence, we are not willing to
have them advertised as part of the way to get to the Dome because
we have a lot of commuters that rely on those already. Nonetheless,
it will happen, that the numbers will be modest in those areas
compared to our total flows and we are reasonably confident that
we can cope with those. Clearly North Greenwich is a very different
matter, but we are very strongly of the view that the wider area,
not merely the Dome and the 100 yards around it, must be traffic-free,
partly from the point of view of discouraging the use of cars,
but also making sure that the bus services actually can provide
the link that they need to, so we are very supportive of Greenwich's
work to limit parking, limit access to that area. I am sure you
are right, that day to day we will be working as the year goes
on with the police and local authorities as particular areas become
obvious, which nobody quite realised they would be, as access
points for cars and which we collectively will need to be managing
either by preventing or by coping with.
38. Can I lastly turn to the bus services. Do
you actually think that the Transit service from Greenwich will
still actually start at the beginning of the year?
(Mr Hodson) Yes, it will. The bus services are in
the course of being delivered now, both the Charlton and the Greenwich
service to the Dome and they are in the course of delivery. We
have the stopping facilities at Charlton and they are already
in place and we have come to an arrangement with the Borough of
Greenwich for stand space outside Greenwich railway station, so
all of those services will be in place by the 1st January.
39. But you actually have not had them up and
running yet to see how they operate? Have you done any trials
(Mr Hodson) The buses are currently being delivered
and we will be able to do that in late November/early December.