Select Committee on the Crossrail Bill Minutes of Evidence

Examination of Witnesses (Questions 1180 - 1199)

  1180. We then turn to the question "What have Crossrail's designs assumed?" and again critical to Lord Brooke's question yesterday, we have not assumed a particular proportion of passengers with restricted mobility but lifts—and I will just check with Mr Berryman in a moment but I think this is universal, lifts—have been planned as 16-person lifts wherever they are provided and in terms of any forecast capacity that is a very generous figure, that is a big lift. The intent is to err on the safe side.

  1181. 2.2—a lift with what is called a "plate" capacity of 16 persons could theoretically carry 320 passengers an hour. With a typical Crossrail lift cycle of three minutes—in practice I think we all know from London Underground the capacity is likely to be smaller than that, the real capacity, you are not normally going to squeeze 16 people in—even if the lift carried only eight people, then the capacity would still be 160 passengers an hour, which is considerably above any estimate of the likely level of passengers with restricted mobility. So for the main traffic comprising the three-hour AM peak, the six-hour inter-peak and the three-hour PM peak and a three-hour evening period, you have a capacity of 160 an hour, giving a total 15 hour capacity of 2,400 people. One can see that, on any anticipated level of demand for PRMs, with a 16-person lift, we have got capacity for 2,400 people during the 15 hours.

  1182. Then the point at paragraph 3 is simply to say that London Underground station planning guidance does not give a figure for predicted levels of PRMs, so the fact that we have not done it is entirely in accordance with the precedent from London Underground, and of course London Underground or Transport for London, their parent, are putting huge efforts into improving step-free access and it has a major programme going on at the moment, trying to get step-free access into existing stations.

  1183. Then we come to the Crossrail business case. The business case uses the results of a survey that I referred to yesterday on the Tyne and Wear Metro. That is a fully accessible system and that survey showed passenger usage by PRMs of 8.4 per cent, and note that that was based on observation rather than surveys, so, like anything, there is room for doubt in it, but it was based on observation. An LUL survey from the mid-1990s showed that 4 per cent of all passengers have restricted mobility, subject to all the problems about definitions above, so making the system fully accessible could add something in the region of 4.4 per cent, so you have got the 4 per cent who are already using the system, and Tyne and Wear suggests you might add on to that something like 4.4 per cent, which is what I would describe as `suppressed demand', and then that has to be reduced to reflect the proportion of total step-free journeys, taking account of interchange and non-step-free Crossrail stations. What we have done in the business case is then to turn that into revenue through all the complicated things that one does in a business case by applying the average trip length and fare and the social benefit, assuming a standard benefit:revenue relationship which gives a good, high-level assessment of the benefits of step-free access and, importantly again, it follows the general approach adopted by LUL. Note, again an important point, particularly in the light of the concerns the Committee has addressed about peak-time travel, that the 4.4 per cent is an increase in traffic for all day, and the proportion of that demand in the a.m. peak is much lower, so 75 per cent of the Tyne and Wear PRM is in the inter-peak period. I would suggest that that is for the very obvious reason that, if you have got a pram or luggage or whatever or indeed you are disabled, you are going to be likely to try to travel outside the peak, as anybody like myself who has tried to struggle on to a London Underground train with a pram in the peak would know; it is not an easy thing to try and do.

  1184. I have now been given a note that tells me that the maths on the final page is right, so I can put up the final page, so we come to the question of what figure should be used, and we freely acknowledge in 5.1 that the Tyne and Wear survey is a bit old now, so the rigour could be challenged. In LUL's business case for step-free access, which is a programme that they are undertaking at the moment and which was done in September 2007, it assumes a current demand for passengers with restricted mobility of 3.9 per cent and that splits into 2.3 per cent with physical impairments plus adults with young children and then 1.6 per cent encumbered, which is those figures there (indicating), and then it also assumes a split for generated demand, which is what I have called `suppressed demand', of 2.5 per cent physically impaired and people with young children and 1.4 per cent encumbered.

  1185. Then, in 5.4, that comes to the maths where the total mobility restricted proportion of all demand is assumed by LUL for its business case to be 7.5 per cent. There is an effort not to double-count, that is what those figures there mean, and the LUL step-free access programme, because it does not achieve, unsurprisingly, a fully accessible network, the results are then factored down because in fact it is only getting up to, and I think we saw the statistic yesterday, I cannot remember if it was 13 per cent or 18 per cent of the total network. Therefore, where that gets you is that LUL's approach and Crossrail's approach are very similar and we have put that into a table at the bottom where we have got the proportion of current demand, assumed to be 4 per cent in the Crossrail business case, 3.9 per cent in the LUL step-free access business case and then the proportion of demand with a fully accessible system, Crossrail assumes 8.4 per cent, LUL assumes 7.5 per cent and that probably reflects the fact that LUL is slotting into a system that is only going to end up with under 20 per cent accessible, whereas Crossrail, as we know in terms of the Crossrail network itself, ends up with a 93 per cent accessible network, so the difference between the figures there makes perfectly good sense. Now, Mr Berryman, I went through all of that, but I do not know whether you have got any comments on that or are you happy to leave it there?
  (Mr Berryman) The only thing I would say is that experience from the DLR is consistent with the fact that the mobility-impaired passenger levels during the off-peak are much higher than they are during the peak. There are a couple of reasons for that, as Ms Lieven said. People do not try to get on a crowded train so much and, secondly, people who are going to work in the rush hour tend to be less encumbered than people who are doing other things.

  1186. MS LIEVEN: Can I then have that note handed round so that the Committee can peruse the figures at their leisure. Those are all the questions I have for Mr Berryman.

  1187. LORD BROOKE OF ALVERTHORPE: Recognising that there may be difficulties with lifts, do you close your mind to doing other adjustments or simply say, "It is the lift and everything that goes with it or, alternatively, we might have a look at doing something short of a lift"?
  (Mr Berryman) The answer to that question is yes, we do, and in a number of stations out in the west, in particular, and in some of the more rural locations we are not using lifts, we are using ramps and that is primarily for the point I made earlier, that there is more space around those stations to do that. A ramp is actually quite space-consuming. They are quite long. The gradient is relatively shallow and landings are required, but we are using them, yes.

  1188. I noticed that you observed that at Maryland where the station went on to the main road, there is a taxi rank there, you said.
  (Mr Berryman) A taxi office.

  1189. The one thing that I think we all noticed when we were at Whitechapel last week were the number of women struggling with their buggies and their children and other people with luggage, how difficult it is for people. They will experience the same difficulties at Maryland with the steps there, I presume, and at Manor Park.
  (Mr Berryman) They will, as they do now, but I think the difference is that at Whitechapel people do not have too much option because the stations on either side, which are Aldgate East and the other one, also do not have step-free access, so they do not have a realistic alternative to using Whitechapel Station if they want to use the District Line.

  1190. But you are doing something about Whitechapel anyway, are you not?
  (Mr Berryman) We are indeed, yes.

  1191. Have you given any thought to doing something half-way at these locations? You have talked all about the lifts.
  (Mr Berryman) I am thinking off the top of my head now because I am sure we have looked at it, but I cannot recall it. At Manor Park, it certainly would be very, very difficult because the platforms are narrow and finding space to bring down a ramp would be quite difficult because, as the ramp approaches the ground level, it takes part of the space up. It is not like a lift which is just a vertical thing which takes its own footprint, whereas a ramp takes a big footprint and, as it gets lower down, it is effectively a solid thing, so I think at Manor Park it would not be practical to do anything different. Maryland, I will be honest with you, I have never really thought about it at Maryland.

  1192. LORD BROOKE OF ALVERTHORPE: Well, I did when I looked at the picture.

  1193. BARONESS FOOKES: I think, Mr Berryman, you did indicate that this part of the railway line had been built by an engineer who made everything as tight as possible for economic reasons and, therefore, there is much less space in general terms to play with.
  (Mr Berryman) That is absolutely right, yes.

  1194. LORD BROOKE OF ALVERTHORPE: But not at the station level. That is down at platform level.
  (Mr Berryman) No, no. The problem is that the ramp, if you are going to make it useful, it has to go from the concourse to the platform. That is where the big rise is, that is where the big number of steps are.

  1195. Yes, but there are also problems going from the road into stations.
  (Mr Berryman) There are also problems going from the road into the stations. At Manor Park, now this is not a problem because there is level access from the road.

  1196. But not Maryland?
  (Mr Berryman) At Maryland, we would propose a ramp from the footpath up to the concourse, which I thought I had explained in evidence.

  1197. So you are proposing it?
  (Mr Berryman) We would propose a ramp. If we were making this PRM-accessible, we would be proposing a ramp from the footpath to the concourse level. Currently, there are five or six steps there.

  1198. But is that contingent on your doing the lifts as well?
  (Mr Berryman) Well, yes, because, if you think about a person making a journey, they have got to handle the steps from the concourse down to the platform, so they should be able to handle the very small flight of steps from the footway to the concourse.

  1199. So there is no real half-way house on these issues; it is either all or nothing?
  (Mr Berryman) I think so, yes. What we have done, and it is really in response to a question which was raised yesterday by one of your Lordships, I cannot remember who now, I think it was Lord James, about whether someone could change from one side to the other at a station where there was only accessibility in one direction, and the answer is yes. When a station is made accessible, it means it is fully accessible and that all conceivable movements can be made without steps.

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