Select Committee on Mersey Tunnels Bills Minutes of Evidence


Examination of Witnesses (Questions 500-519)

MR CHARLES GEORGE QC and MISS JOANNA CLAYTON.

BIRCHAM DYSON BELL and MR JOHN McGOLDRICK examined

500. CHAIRMAN: Thank you, Mr George. Mr McGoldrick?

Cross-Examined by MR McGOLDRICK

501. MR McGOLDRICK: Mr Bates, let us look at the table in Exhibit C3 which is distances from motorway junctions. Is the most right-hand motorway junction in fact part of the tunnel approach road?

(Mr Bates) Yes.

502. So the tunnel users are paying for that, not the Department of the Environment or the Highways Agency?

(Mr Bates) Yes, I guess you could say that.

503. Can we turn to Exhibit C4 which is people crossing the Mersey. The Mersey is quite a long river with many crossings on it. Can you define what you mean by the Mersey?

(Mr Bates) Yes. What I probably should have added to that note is obviously it is the crossings between the Wirral and Liverpool so it does not include the Runcorn Bridge or the Thelwall viaduct or any other crossings to the east.

504. You have got two columns there. If I can concentrate on the first column in Exhibit C4. That seems to show that 78 per cent of the people crossing between the Wirral and the Liverpool are going by road. I presume that means the Mersey Tunnels, does it not?

(Mr Bates) Yes, it does.

505. It also indicates that another three and a half per cent go in by bus. Unless they are amphibious they go through the Mersey Tunnels, do they not?

(Mr Bates) They do indeed.

506. That seems to indicate that the vast bulk of journeys at the moment are made through the tunnels. Does that not set some sort of limit on the growth in journeys through the tunnels?

(Mr Bates) Set some sort of limit. Sorry, would you clarify that?

507. If you take the tunnels that are competing to some extent with the ferries that currently make up 0.5 per cent of the river crossings and rail which makes up 18 per cent, it is a very small amount that can be attracted into changing the way that they cross the Mersey and start using the tunnels and abandoning rail or ferry crossings.

(Mr Bates) I do not know. I am not sure I gave the actual numbers. There are eight million people a year using the trains, there are 34 million people going by road, there are 1.4 million people going by bus and 0.2 of a million by ferry, excluding the leisure services that the ferry estimates. So it is 8 million people going by train.

508. As a proportion the vast bulk are already using the tunnels, is that right?

(Mr Bates)That is correct.

509. I was surprised to a certain extent by this because one of the tables that was submitted yesterday, table B30 at page 87, indicates that only 62 to 63 per cent of Merseyside households have a car. It implies fairly intensive use of the tunnels.

(Mr Bates) Not necessarily. It probably reflects the fact that longer distance trips might be using their car more than public transport. It says 60 per cent of households have a car, but the last column was two or more cars so it does not necessarily reflect the total number of cars.

510. The second column you have there is trips to Liverpool city centre.

(Mr Bates) In the B table. The B table was two or more cars. Although 60 per cent of households have cars, there might well be more cars.

511. But this is people, is it not, not households?

(Mr Bates) Yes. There is more than one person in a car on average.

512. The second column is trips to Liverpool city centre. Different people might define Liverpool city centre in a wide variety of ways. How did you define Liverpool city centre for the purposes of this analysis?

(Mr Bates) It is as it is defined in the local transport plan for the city centre movement strategy. If Mr McGoldrick is really interested I can get a map or something to show it to him. It is effectively what most people would describe as the city centre.

513. I was trying to find out how widely it was drawn, whether it was the central shopping area, which most people would regard as the city centre, or whether it was a wider area than that, which would obviously catch a greater number of trips.

(Mr Bates) It is a fairly tightly drawn area.

514. The difference between the two tables seems to be an indication that a substantial proportion of the people crossing the Mersey are not in fact going to the city centre. Would you say that was correct or not?

(Mr Bates) Certainly a reasonable proportion are not going to the city centre, yes.

515. Did you say going or not going?

(Mr Bates) Are not going to the city centre. I can get the exact numbers if people want them. I do not have them to hand.

516. Why would you say that was the case? Have you any idea?

(Mr Bates) Why they are not all going to the city centre?

517. Why such a high proportion are not going to the city centre.

(Mr Bates) I would guess it is because there are lots of other places to go to in Merseyside where there are jobs and social facilities and friends and acquaintances and other things.

518. Can we turn to the table, Exhibit C5, car trips to Liverpool city centre. You have various columns there. Can you tell us what time period it is measured over?

(Mr Bates) The red block relates to the a.m. peak and the blue block relates to the off peak. This is information that comes from surveys undertaken in 2000 and I think the a.m. peak hour is from 8 to 9.

519. Is this a day, a week or a month?

(Mr Bates) This is a week day.


 
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