Select Committee on Transport Minutes of Evidence

Examination of Witnesses (Questions 592 - 599)



  Q592  Chairman: Good afternoon, gentlemen. Perhaps I may ask you to identify yourselves for the record.

  Mr Hallé: I am Dick Hallé. I am director of strategy for the surface transport department of Transport for London.

  Mr de Cani: My name is Richard de Cani. I am head of development and planning at Docklands Light Railway as part of Transport for London.

  Mr O'Loughlin: My name is Edward O'Loughlin and I am network planning manager at London Rail, part of Transport for London.

  Mr Lambden: I am Mike Lambden, head of corporate affairs for National Express.

  Mr McInnes: My name is Ian McInnes. I am strategic planning director for National Express Limited, the coach division of the National Express Group.

  Q593  Chairman: Is there anyone who wants to say anything or can I go straight into questions? No? Good. Should there be dedicated public transport routes to and from airports like the Heathrow and Gatwick Expresses?

  Mr de Cani: Speaking from Docklands Light Railway's perspective, we recently opened an extension to London's smallest airport, City Airport, which has been incredibly successful. What that has shown in a relatively short period of time is what impact a rail link can have on influencing airport modal share if it is planned well.

  Q594  Chairman: Do you have any figures on that, just as a matter of interest? I know you did not just extend to the airport, did you? You added several other stations on.

  Mr de Cani: Yes, we have. The extension opened in December 2005 so we have done our first year's research into the impact of the extension. We are pleased to report that we are carrying 49% of airport passengers by DLR. Our target was 50% after three years so we have almost reached our target after the first year of operation. We are extremely pleased with that and we think there are three main reasons why that has happened so quickly. Firstly, the station was planned so it is the first thing you see when you come out of the terminal building so it is immediately attractive to get the DLR rather than a taxi or to park in the car park. Secondly, the service is quick. It is reliable and offers almost guaranteed journey times into the city and Canary Wharf compared to travelling by taxi which can vary depending on the time of day and the traffic congestion. Thirdly, the frequency we are operating at is such that it is attractive to airport passengers so when they get off the plane and walk onto the DLR station they do not have long to wait. We are offering trains every seven to eight minutes. It has been very successful.

  Q595  Chairman: How do you think dedicated services ought to be funded from airports as public transport?

  Mr de Cani: The DLR extension has been funded primarily through Transport for London so it is publicly funded. However, there are small contributions through planning gain agreements, section 106 agreements. London City Airport has made a small contribution to the extension of the order of about £2 million. That compares to a capital cost of about 140 million. We would have liked it if they had made a bigger contribution and we tried to do that but the railway is serving a whole range of other objectives and contributing to the regeneration of east London so this extension was not just about the airport. We think they got a good deal.

  Chairman: I am sure they did.

  Q596  Clive Efford: We have had evidence from the Heathrow Airport Consultative Committee that there is a problem with London taxis going outside of the London boundary, not clarifying the fare with passengers before they leave. What is the current law relating to charging those fares?

  Mr Hallé: The current arrangements are not at all clear. It needs a change to primary legislation to make them clear. TfL in its Bill that it is taking through the House, in clause 15, is proposing an amendment to the current legislation, the London Cab and Stage Carriage Act of 1907, so that passengers would agree a price with the driver before taking the journey or, if they did not do that, defer to the value on the meter.

  Q597  Clive Efford: Is that a general change in the rules that you are seeking or just in relation to Heathrow Airport?

  Mr Hallé: I think it would refer to any trips where journeys were to cross the London boundary and go out of the range of the current legislation.

  Q598  Chairman: How would they know that though? People can work out distances from Heathrow because they would be available even in the public information of an airline, would they not, but how would you know for any other journey?

  Mr Hallé: At somewhere like Heathrow where there are clearly dedicated boarding areas for taxis, we through our Public Carriage Office, would ensure that there was proper signage.

  Q599  Chairman: Heathrow is not difficult to monitor but if you are making it wider than a specific instance how would the passenger who did not know London know the proposed journey was outwith the existing lines of legislation and that they had to negotiate a price before they got in the taxi?

  Mr Hallé: We would have to try to get sufficient publicity, possibly within the taxi cab as we do for fares information.

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Prepared 26 July 2007