Examination of Witnesses (Questions 240
WEDNESDAY 26 JANUARY 2000
240. What about the other three?
(Mr Smith) Waterfront Transit is built on Millennium
Transit which is already a guided bus. That almost certainly would
be. The other two could be guided bus or could be light rail.
We will work with the local authorities.
241. I see. For both Docklands Light Rail and
Croydon Tramlink, which is not up and running yet, you have assessed
presumably what sort of passengers and you have some record of
that. The amazing figures you told us about passengers earlier
on, where did they come from, pedestrians, motorists, were they
existing public transport users? Can I ask the same question of
both of you.
(Dr Quarmby) If I can ask Ian Brown what we know about
(Mr Brown) In terms of Docklands Light Railway there
was an empty quay that needed regeneration. The Docklands Light
Railway brought new people in there and transported them in a
way that was sustainable by public transport. It was not about
taking people off a car or off a bus because there was nothing
there. The new extensions to the airport is a new version. There
is no public transport in that corridor, public transport prefers
to go in more lucrative corridors and it is about regeneration,
so it is again basically just about taxis in that case and local
242. Local buses? Have you got any assessment
about local buses because I view that as public transport in an
(Mr Brown) There are some local buses in the very
same corridor we are talking about.
243. What is the percentage?
(Mr Brown) About ten per cent in that case.
244. You are looking at that ten per cent to
(Mr Brown) But those buses are not London Transport
buses, they are local feeders run by the airport. Only two per
cent are run by LT.
245. They are not what one might consider traditional
(Mr Brown) No.
(Mr Smith) Tramlink in a sense is built to do three
things. One is it will replace a piece of national rail infrastructure
so those passengers are straight from national rail. We hope to
substantially expand that market. Another part is providing much
better access to New Addington which is currently served by bus
and the passengers that come from there will save of the order
of half an hour on their journey and we see that as a major part
of the benefit. It is direct replacement for the bus services.
246. Percentages, modal shift.
(Mr Smith) In terms of that it will be 100 per cent
because we run the buses.
247. You build this and buses finish?
(Mr Smith) The specific intention is for those journeys
it is making a much better journey. Then, as you say, there is
the question of how many people get out of cars and we have not
yet opened but we think it may be of the order of ten per cent.
248. You may have been out of the room earlier
when the point was made to our previous witnesses that the whole
thrust of Government policy is not necessarily to get people to
shift from one mode of public transport to another, but to get
people to leave their cars and get on to public transport. That
is an issue, is it not, but it appears from the special circumstances
that you have explained as though that objective, that policy
is not being entirely addressed in your project.
(Mr Smith) I think I would have to say that part of
Government policy, as I understand it, and I may be wrong, is
to improve public transport generally for all the people. For
those people who currently use buses from New Addington they will
save half an hour on every journey and we would argue that that
is part of Government policy as well.
(Dr Quarmby) I would also add by transferring bus
users onto a better system you are providing a base load which
enables you to offer a high frequency. That high frequency is
undoubtedly is going to attract people out of cars for those corridors
which the tram will serve. There is no doubt about that at all.
249. Is it possible to have a rapid transport
system being entirely funded by its own revenue that it is expected
(Mr Smith) If we took Croydon Tramlink as an example,
and it is one of the best examples in terms of funding, a little
over half of the capital cost was funded by the public sector,
and all of the operating costs with enough revenue left over to
fund the other half broadly of the capital cost will be provided
from the private sector. But as the point has been made, some
of that revenue has come from buses, so our experience of a very
good tram system in cost benefit terms is that you would expect
to find some public money to assist in providing it.
250. Did you want to say something?
(Dr Quarmby) If you look at systems around in the
United Kingdom at the moment, I would agree that it is rare that
you can both generate the investment and run the operation of
a new light rail system entirely from within the private sector.
But most schemes will generate a sufficient surplus over their
operating costs to enable at least part of the capital costs to
be found from the private sector. The two DLR extensions, the
one to Lewisham and the one to the airport to come, will see two-thirds
to three-quarters of the investment coming from the private sector,
with a balancing contribution from the public sector and other
comtributors. If you look at some of the other light rail schemes
around elsewhere in the United Kingdom, I think that seems to
be the general pattern.
251. Do you think the revenue from road users
and workplace parking charges will be sufficient to meet that
sort of funding gap?
(Dr Quarmby) I think I would need to do the sums but
prima facie they would make a substantial contribution
towards closing the gap.
(Mr Smith) If you look at the London schemes, depending
upon each expert you turn to, the London schemes will provide
a surplus of road users charging of around £200 million per
annum for central London. Clearly that pays for quite a lot of
light rail schemes. On the other hand, you are imposing that on
anybody who travels in central London so it will certainly cover
a fairly substantial investment programme. Whether it covers all
of the transport measures you really want to do to make London
better has to be doubted but it is a valuable contribution and
it clearly will have a very major impact on relieving congestion
in its own right.
252. How should the weaknesses in the Transport
and Works Act be addressed?
(Mr Smith) Perhaps I should start by saying in a sense
in moving to Transport and Works Acts rather than Parliamentary
Bills (which many of you may have had to sit through) we very
much welcome the fact that it is a more local process and a democratic
process for the people who are affected by it. Having said that,
it has not removed the bureaucracy as we had all hoped. I heard
your previous witnesses saying that it is time to review the detailed
guidelines and I think we would entirely agree with that, particularly
the ability for anybody to present themselves at a late stage
with a need to be heard. I think there are lots of detailed guidelines.
Do you want to add anything?
(Mr Willis) It is a costly process and certainly the
preparations that we have to do before depositing Transport and
Works Orders is considerably greater than that for parliamentary
process. That obviously ups the risk of the scheme. It also means
that the private sector are less likely to want to get involved
at an early stage because of these high costs and the uncertainty
of whether the thing will be approved. So it does have some downsides
compared with the parliamentary process.
(Dr Quarmby) We do have experience in the DLR currently
of using the TWA procedure and I wonder if I could ask Ian Brown
to give a comment because for DLR it is a pretty good process
and one that we can work well ourselves.
253. If you are on his side would you just give
me two or three paragraphs on that in writing.
(Mr Brown) Yes.
Chairman: If you will forgive me because if
it is a pro then that is fine. Mr Bennett?
254. Track sharing, heavy and light rail. When
we were out looking at the Croydon Tramlink we had to get off
at Elmers End and there seemed a slight logic that that tramline
might have run on that little bit further and provided a better
service and it can only do that if there was track sharing. Do
you think track sharing is feasible?
(Dr Quarmby) I think it is feasible but it is a very
demanding regime and Ian Brown who spent 30 years as many different
kinds of railwayman before running the DLR is best placed to comment.
(Mr Brown) We want capacity for light rail, we want
to justify capacity, and the mix can be very suspect if you are
trying to put everything just because the alignment is there.
I think that the old alignments could be looked at again and a
number of tracks could be reduced and shared that way or there
could be time share day or night between passenger and freight.
I do think trying to mix it particularly with freight in terms
of providing adequate capacity in terms of achieving what light
rail does needs a lot more thought.
255. You think they are heading into trouble
at Sunderland with the bit there that is going to be shared.
(Mr Brown) The Sunderland example is a very under-utilised
railway at the moment, the level of interchange between Sunderland
and Newcastle, and that is an appropriate solution in that special
case. It is the right distance apart for light rail and we are
only talking about a ten minute frequency service.
256. You think that south London and bits of
north London are just not on?
(Mr Brown) You have got to look in somewhere like
south London at what sort of capacity you are looking for and
is light rail the right answer. The point that we are missing
is it is not just about M25 to central London, it is these places
all round you have got to think about where lots of traffic goes.
257. If you are talking about all round there
are quite a few, particularly freight lines, that do go all round
and freight was designed to avoid central London so there must
be some lines there.
(Mr Brown) I think the freight issue has got to be
sorted. There has got to be a routing strategy for freight round
London. Again mixing it will optimise the potential for light
rail. There needs to be a further outlook than outside the M25.
258. Are you talking as a railwayman when you
say you do not want freight where they can carry passengers?
(Mr Brown) No, I am not. The DLR does take 8,000 people
an hour. It is about the high costs that have been probed by this
Committee delivering this sort of volume.
(Dr Quarmby) I just want to add that the question
of the use of little used railway lines around London is a very
real one is and another application of light rail which the Committee
has not really touched on.
259. Has anyone done any work on that?
(Mr Willis) Yes, the study we did in about 1986 with
British Rail looked at lightly used parts of the network and a
result of that was Croydon Tramlink. It came out of those studies.