Select Committee on Environment, Transport and Regional Affairs Minutes of Evidence

Examination of Witnesses (Questions 240 - 259)



  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 modal shares.
  (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 buses.

  242. Local buses? Have you got any assessment about local buses because I view that as public transport in an area.
  (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 transfer?
  (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 buses?
  (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.

Mr Forsythe

  249. Is it possible to have a rapid transport system being entirely funded by its own revenue that it is expected to generate?
  (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?

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.

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