Examination of Witnesses (Questions 1460
1460. Turning, then, to the three criteria that
you have heard so much about over the last couple of daysnumber
of passengers, capital costs and ease of access to alternative
stationsI would suggest to the Committee that those have
to be read with common sense and not as some legal statutory basis.
Obviously in applying those criteria we have to take into account
the expense of the works and whether they make good use of public
1461. In terms of to what degree we have considered
the level of usage by PRMs, the first point is that our passenger
number figures reflect the level of car ownership, so to that
degree they give some indicationnot a perfect indication
but someof social deprivation, but the issue specifically
of how many people in a catchment area will benefit from step-free
access is, as is explained in our note, an extremely complicated
one, and the approach the Promoter has taken is to consider whatever
industry information there is. But trying to work out, as Mr Reed
has urged upon you, how many disabled people there are in a station's
catchment area is extremely unlikely to give any particularly
useful figures; it does not give you the answer.
1462. So the kind of station-specific analysis
which is done by looking at people who get DLA mobility component,
whether at a higher or lower level, first of all means it is extremely
difficult to work out what the disabled figures would be, but
anyway is just not a useful exercise, in brief because many people
who are categorised as disabled do not benefit from step-free,
either because they cannot because they are too disabled and too
unable to walk or because their disability has nothing to do with
their ability to use steps, but also it fails to catch that proportion
of people which is the larger proportion of people who benefit
from step-free who are encumbered rather than disabled. So it
is perfectly understandable why people when they first come to
this issue say, "Look at how many disabled people there are",
but it does not actually help. So what Crossrail has done is use
industry information to look at the kind of figures which seem
likely and to apply those across the route.
1463. The other way of looking at it is that,
even if one were to fiddle around with the tiny percentage differences
in Newham, Stratford and New Town ward, the numbers of people
concerned are miniscule. I went through it yesterday with Mr West
and on his 2.3 per cent from the DLA figures you only come out
with 46 people anyway, so it is simply a pointless exercise.
1464. We have looked, as Mr Berryman explained,
when deciding which stations to upgrade, at whether or not there
are any particular circumstances that would mean that there are
likely to be more disabled people. For example, at Whitechapel,
which as the Committee saw last week is right opposite the Royal
London Hospital and at Paddington, where obviously it is going
to be upgraded anyway but again it is right next to St Mary's,
so we have taken the issue of how many disabled people there are
into account but only in that way.
1465. In terms of saying that we have not done
a detailed cost-benefit analysis on each station as to whether
to upgrade, you will remember it was Dr Maynard's and Mr Berryman's
evidence that if you did do a cost-benefit analysis for step-free
access you would almost always come out with a negative figure
in any event because of the cost involved for a relatively small
number of people.
1466. Can I then, before I turn to a couple
of specifics on each station, deal with one other point of generality
and put down a very strong word of caution, which I am sure Mr
Mould and I will be doing on a number of occasions, about how
you approach incremental costs on Crossrail.
1467. It is very easy to take the attitude on
Crossrail that it is a very expensive project and adding a few
more million does not make much difference, or that it is only
a tiny percentage of the total so do not worry about it too much.
In the Promoter's very strong submission that is completely the
1468. First, the sums of money we are talking
about are large in absolute terms; £12 million for Manor
Park is a lot of money. Remember Dr Maynard's evidence yesterday
that upgrading Clapham Junction cost only a bit more or something
more than £10 million, so for the £12 million at Manor
Park you could upgrade a much busier station somewhere else that
would be far better value to the national purse. It may not be
for the people of Newham but in national terms, and this is national
money from the Department for Transport, it would be far better
to spend it elsewhere.
1469. Also, looking again at the big picture,
if we go down the line of adding the odd £4 million here,
£10 million there, for items each one of which may seem perfectly
sensible on its own terms, we get a project that spirals out of
control. Your Lordships may have noticed that on many of our slides
we have something at the bottom that says something like, "Building
an affordable railway", and all the effort over the last
couple of years has been to make sure that Crossrail is affordable.
That was the great achievement in bringing the project forward,
and all these incremental costs could very easily have the effect
of ceasing to have an affordable railway.
1470. Turning to Manor Park I am sure the Committee
has completely got our points already. You are talking about a
major engineering operation, very expensive at £12 million
but also extremely disruptive to existing users, closing the station
for upwards of three months and with a number of weekend closures
of the line, so a major operation which is very disruptive.
1471. In terms of the freight loop, Mr Reed
is doubtless going to say, "Well, they were closing the freight
loop before so they can close it now". Your Lordships will
hear in a few weeks' time as to just how much weight the freight
lobby put on keeping these freight loops, but also Mr Berryman's
evidence about the importance of keeping this loop to avoid perturbations
on the railway. It helps the railway operation if you have a little
bit more scope through having a loop such as this.
1472. The other side of the coin at Manor Park
is that there will be a few people (there is no getting away from
it) on the north/south bus route who will be inconvenienced by
not having PRM access at Manor Parkwe do not pretend otherwisebut
for the vast majority of the catchment they can very easily get
on an accessible bus on Romford Road and be taken, depending on
whether they want to go west or east, either to Stratford or to
Ilford. It is very important to remember, again, and Mr Berryman
made the point, that we are not talking about people who live
on top of the station; we are talking about people who have got
to get to the station in the first place. So the question is,
are they going to be significantly inconvenienced by, rather than
getting to Manor Park, getting themselves to Stratford or Ilford?
We would suggest the answer to that is no.
1473. Remember that the assumption is that people
will make rational transport choices. A great deal has been made
that the buses will be very busy. Well, most Londoners who use
the bus know that you get on a bus at 3.30 pm at your peril, because
of the number of schoolchildren. If you are not keen on schoolchildren
or you have got small children and you do not want to push a buggy
on to a very crowded train, you slightly change your journey to
deal with that. That is a rational transport choice for all of
us in London, and PRMs would make rational transport choices as
well about, possibly, getting on a bus at a quarter-to-four or
a quarter-past-three in order to avoid that very busy spot.
1474. Maryland. We quite accept it is a slightly
different argument because although there are engineering problems
at Maryland, and it is not cheap, at £4.5 million, and the
money could be better spent somewhere else, the real issue at
Maryland is that the passenger numbers are low and it is very
easy for PRMs to get to Stratford. We are not talking, primarily,
about them upping sticks and walking to Stratford, but if they
are on the bus already then, to be honest, it is easier for them
to stay on and go to Stratford than it is for them to get off
and battle across the A13 at Maryland.
1475. Even if Maryland was made step-free, it
is never going to be a good station for PRMs because the buses
do not stop outside, you have got to have that fence because of
the A13, it does not have disabled parking and it does not have
good drop-offs. So it is never going to be a good station on those
criteria, in any event.
1476. Finally, your Lordships should remember
on Maryland that Stratford is an excellent station for PRMs. I
hesitate to give evidence but Mr Berryman has already told you
that even at peak hour Stratford is such a big station that there
is plenty of space for people to move around. It would take a
massive uplift in numbers for Stratford to have the kind of congestion
one sees in Central London. You can see that from the photographs,
even if the Committee is not familiar with Stratford Station.
1477. Just finally, and I do not know whether
this will feature in Mr Reed's closing, there was a very strong
suggestion yesterday that Newham was being very hard-done-by because
it had two stations that were not being upgraded. The reason why
there were two stations in Newham is because the stations are
so close together, and the figure put by Mr West yesterday that
40 per cent of Newham were not getting step-free access is completely
misleading. As your Lordships can see from the various plans,
very few people in Newham who live close to the Crossrail route
will not be within easy reach of a Crossrail fully accessible
station. So, in fact, the people of Newham who need PRM are getting
a huge improvement over what they have now, and in not upgrading
those two stations all we have done is apply a sensible use of
1478. My Lords, those are my submissions, unless
there are any questions the Committee has for me now. I am conscious
that there is one issue outstanding, which is that Lord Brooke
asked questions yesterday about to what degree have we taken into
account future increases, demographic changes, in disability.
We are still working on that and we will put a note in on it later,
if we may, and we will obviously copy it to the Petitioners.
1479. CHAIRMAN: Thank you, Ms Lieven.