01 October 2007

Recent Transport Developments

It is becoming increasingly difficult to maintain a weekly transport update due to work and social commitments, so the updates are being altered to become less regular (sometimes more than one post a week, sometimes fewer) - hopefully maintaining (or improving) the amount reported.

  • Capital's Cross River Tram project partially delayed. London’s Cross River Tram project is unlikely to be completed before 2020, according to the capital’s Mayor, Ken Livingstone, who went on to say that his instructions to Transport for London, in shifting the focus of tram scheme development from the West London Tram project to the Cross River Tram, was to approach the latter scheme in two parts. Ken Livingstone said: “We will proceed to build the Cross River Tram south of the Thames. Once that is complete and has demonstrated that it works we will move on to the second phase of the project.” When asked when he expected the northern section to be completed the Mayor said “2020 at the earliest”. Click here to see a map of the proposed routes.

  • GMPTE opts for Beck-style rail map. A new colour map of the local rail network, similar to the world-famous London Underground map, has been launched by Greater Manchester Passenger Transport Executive (GMPTE). Sixteen colour-coded train routes are shown on the map, which also includes the Metrolink tram network, major bus interchanges, station car parks and cycle facilities. Click here to see the map. The new Greater Manchester rail map has been included in the latest edition of the free public transport booklet, Connecting People With Places. GMPTE has printed 20,000 copies of the booklet, available in Travelshops and ticket offices. People wanting to use the map to explore different areas of Greater Manchester can buy a Rail Ranger ticket, allowing unlimited travel after 0930 on weekdays, and all day at weekends and on Bank Holidays. It costs £3.50 a day for adults and £1.75 a day for children under 16.

  • Nottingham rail station re-vamp. East Midlands Development Agency and the Greater Nottingham Partnership have agreed to provide £1.5m to take forward work on a plan to revamp Nottingham railway station and the surrounding area. The grant, together with funds from other partners including Nottingham City Council and Network Rail, will be used to progress the business case for the project, known as The Hub, and carry out design work. The proposed changes to the station include encouraging new commercial development for mixed use in and around the station, including retail opportunities; restoring the Edwardian station frontage; creating a new travel centre, toilets and passenger information points; building a new concourse directly connecting the station with Nottingham Express Transit Line One and Phase Two; constructing a new multi storey car park; and implementing new traffic arrangement enforcements to the public realm to improve bus, cycle, pedestrian and taxi access around the station and upgrading the area’s environment.

  • Glasgow-Edinburgh rail line to be electrified. Scotland’s Glasgow to Edinburgh mainline is to be electrified, but hopes of creating Britain’s second high speed railway have been dashed after the Scottish Government's transport advisers said a new high-speed line would cost at least £7bn and be poorer value for money than upgrading the existing route. Instead, ministers have confirmed plans to increase services on the main line via Falkirk from four to six an hour and cut some journeys to less than 40 minutes. The project, which would involve electrifying the route, would take nine years to complete and cost between £500m and £1bn. Money to part-fund the scheme has been released by scrapping the Edinburgh Airport Rail Link.

  • Oyster Card travellers receive discounts. Mayor of London Ken Livingstone has announced a reduction in the price of bus fares for Oyster users, from £1 to 90p, and a reduction in the price of a weekly bus pass from £14 to £13. The changes further widen the gap between cash and Oyster tariffs with the £2 single cash fare now costing more than double the price of the same journey made using an Oyster smartcard. A single Tube fare in Zone 1 is currently £1.50 when paid by Oyster compared to £4 if cash is used.

  • 24-hour bus to the Dome. Transport for London has announced that from 29 September 2007 the 472 bus service, from the O2 arena in North Greenwich to Thamesmead will run 24 hours a day throughout the week. The route will provide a half-hourly service throughout the night improving night time links from the O2 arena to Woolwich, Plumstead and Thamesmead. In addition, the frequency on the route will be increased to a bus every six minutes on weekdays with a bus every 10 minutes in the evening from Monday to Saturday. Weekend services are increasing in frequency to provide eight buses per hour during Saturday daytimes and on Sundays an extra bus per hour during shopping hours and in the evening, bringing the total to six.

  • More off-peak Manchester services from First. Greater Manchester Passenger Transport Authority has welcomed an initiative by bus operator First to introduce new early morning and evening journeys on more than 20 local services later this month. Members of the Transport Network Committee heard that the improvements include extra evening trips to and from Manchester to the Trafford Centre. Additional early morning and evening journeys will also be introduced to services in Bolton, Bury, Manchester, Oldham, Rochdale, Salford, Tameside and Wigan.

  • Last 2% funding needed for London's Crossrail project. Speaking at the Labour Party conference in Bournemouth on 26 September, Mayor Livingstone appealed to businesses to provide the "last few hundred million pounds" required to fund Crossrail. He said ministers working on the funding package had received financial commitments only 2% short of the £15bn total price tag. "We just need the last few hundred million pounds from the city corporations," said Livingstone. "If you don't offer it up voluntarily they [the government] might give me the power to raise it," he added. If built, Crossrail would provide an east-west rail link across London. Trains would run from Maidenhead and Heathrow Airport in the west to Abbey Wood and Shenfield in the east. In central London trains would travel through deep tunnels, with stations at Paddington, Bond Street, Tottenham Court Road, Farringdon, Liverpool Street and Whitechapel. If funding for the scheme is approved this year, the first trains could run in 2015.