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

Examination of Witnesses (Questions 273 - 279)




  273. Good afternoon to you, gentlemen. I wonder if you would like to identify yourselves for the record? Perhaps we will start at the end of the table.
  (Mr Hendy) Peter Hendy from Firstgroup.
  (Mr Buchan) Ian Buchan, Business Development Director for Firstgroup.
  (Mr Perin) Francois-Xavier Perin, Managing Director of Transdev plc.
  (Mr Buckley) Nick Buckley, Business Development Director, Transdev.

  274. Thank you. Mr Perin or Mr Buckley, do you have anything you wish to say to begin the session or are you prepared to go straight to the questions?
  (Mr Buckley) We will go straight to questions.

  275. Gentlemen?
  (Mr Buchan) Fine.

  276. To what extent can improvements in conventional bus services be as effective as investment in light rapid transport systems particularly in relation to reducing dependency on cars?
  (Mr Buchan) I think they can be very effective. If you look at the work we have done in Leeds, for example, with the guided busway system over the last three years we have attracted a 65 per cent increase in passengers on that service, and of the increase we reckon some 30 per cent has come from people who formerly used cars, both at peak and off-peak times. I feel if a light rail transit system had gone in there I would doubt if it would have increased the patronage by very much more than that. I think by putting a very high quality reliable service in with very high quality vehicles, well marketed, it has been very effective.

  277. Gentlemen, I am going to ask that where you agree with your colleagues we shall not need your comment, but if you have a different point of view, we would like to hear from you. Is that clear?
  (Mr Buckley) Yes. We have a slightly different point of view.

  278. Please, Mr Buckley.
  (Mr Buckley) We have found in our experience in France that putting light rail in increases the total patronage right across the urban network, not just in the corridor, by up to 50 per cent in about a five year period.

  279. 50?
  (Mr Buckley) Yes.

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