Select Committee on Transport Written Evidence


Supplementary memorandum by the Passenger Transport Executive Group (FOR 62A)

THE FUTURE OF THE RAILWAY

HIGH SPEED NORTH SOUTH LINK RAILWAY (QUESTION 1170)

  The Passenger Transport Executive Group's (PTEG) response at the Committee was based on the presentation it had received from the Strategic Rail Authority's (SRA) consultation on the benefits that the scheme would produce. These had shown that depending on the assumptions the benefit cost ratio ranged from 1.4 to 2. Analysis had shown that there were potential environmental dis-benefits and issues around its economic impact. Overall there was a strong business base for a route, certainly as afar as Manchester and Leeds. PTEG has not done its own cost benefit analysis nor subjected the SRA's analysis to any detailed scrutiny, as we have not yet had the opportunity to do so. The PTEs, however, have supported for sometime the principle of a new High Speed Route to the North not only for the benefits it would bring in its own right but the benefits it could also bring in providing additional capacity on existing congested routes on the rail network.

BENEFITS OF THE RAILWAY IN SOUTH YORKSHIRE (QUESTION 1168)

  A detailed multi-modal model was developed in the South and West Yorkshire Multi Modal Study (SWYMMS) and has been used to test the impact of withdrawing support for the local rail network.

  In the test, it is assumed that local rail services are terminated at stations immediately before they enter the supported rail network. Such services are assumed to continue to be subsidised via neighbouring authorities, with access to/egress from the residual network in South Yorkshire requiring interchange with car and bus at users expense.

  Two options were looked at:

    (i)  rail passengers, regardless of car availability are transferred to alternative public transport modes and services, regardless of the time/money cost of the change; and

    (ii)  travellers have the opportunity to change destination, mode of travel and route. All public transport is assumed to be operated without crowding or capacity enhancement.

  The result of the first test is that 30% of local rail passengers continue to use the local rail service, ie outside South Yorkshire eg Wakefield-Leeds, 18% switch to using other and long-distance train services inside the county and 52% switch to existing bus services. The cost benefit analysis for a single year (2006) showed that removing support for the South Yorkshire local rail network will save £20 million pa in net franchise costs and indirect tax revenue but will increase generalised travel costs for consumers and business by £41 million pa—a net cost to society of £21 million. This assumes nil transfer to car.

  In the second test the proportion of existing local rail users continuing to use the local rail service falls to 28%, whilst the switch to other and long distance rail services increases to 20%, 42% switch to bus and 10% to car. The evaluation results for this test, in which shift to car and full assignment to the whole network takes place, show a saving of £21 million pa to the public accounts and a (reduced) dis-benefit of £35 million pa—a net social cost of removing support of £15 million pa.

  In summary, the South Yorkshire rail network provides a substantial benefit to its users and to business. Despite reliability and comfort problems for many journeys it is either faster than the alternative or is the only available option. Far from removing support, South Yorkshire PTE wish to see further investment, on a large scale, to improve the service and capitalise on its advantage over road-based modes.

How can Local Transport Plans and Franchises be aligned better (Questions 1143, 1164, 1180). What is your View of the SRA'S recently published plans for Regional Planning Assessments?

  PTEG is watching with interest the development of Regional Planning Assessments (RPAs) the first of which in PTE areas will be for the North West and North East. In theory they can provide a mechanism for better integration of the planning process since the RPA should reflect the Regional and Local Transport Plan and the SRA will have regard to the RPA in its franchising process. In the current process whereas the SRA have indicated that franchises such as the Northern Franchise have had regard to the Local Transport Plan (LTP). In practice they have then proceeded to draft a franchise invitation which does not allow for investment in, for example, additional rolling stock that would enable PTEs to achieve the patronage targets set out in the LTPs. The precise relationship between the RPAs and LTPs is unclear at present. In the case of the North West and East, the RPA will be completed before the next LTP. In Yorkshire and Humberside it will be after the LTP.

Is the PTA/PTE Model One suitable for extension to other areas in the UK? Is it appropriate in rural areas?

  The strength of the PTA/PTE model is the ability to deal with travel to work areas which would otherwise cross district boundaries and thus the ability to deliver integrated transport. They are therefore best suited to major conurbations. Small or free-standing areas including unitary authorities will not have the same range of integration issues. It is also unlikely that rural areas would require such arrangements, although West and South Yorkshire PTA/PTEs have significant rural areas. There clearly could be other areas, as have been suggested in the past, wherein the PTA/PTE model could be extended such as Southampshire, Bristol, East Midlands and South Wales. In some cases these authorities are attempting to achieve a similar objective through voluntary means.

8 January 2004


 
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