Transport Watch – September 2011
by John Beeston - one of our committee members
September, the traditional month for returning to work or to school or college traditionally means a return to overcrowded roads and overcrowded trains. Perhaps that is why the authorities traditionally use quiet month before to announce the inevitable, “fares are going to rise”, and, “trains remain overcrowded”, statements leaving us to ponder which is greater evil.
In August the Office of the Rail Regulator
published their annual report which showed that overcrowding on commuter trains
The other August ritual, announcing fare increases scheduled for January also drew the ritual moans and groans from passenger and press alike. None of the changes take immediate effect but give the train operators the chance to fine tune the individual fares in readiness for the New Year, when once again we can raise our collective groan. It is of course hard to see why our fares remain so much higher than elsewhere in Europe especially when getting a seat, or at many of our stations, forcing ones way into a carriage, in order to travel, becomes the order of the day. If it is any consolation at all remember that the taxman allows you to charge your company up to 45 pence per mile for journeys made by car for business and yet the motoring organisations say this inadequate. Most season tickets fall below this level so if only we could get a seat. maybe the cost of the ticket would be acceptable.
It has been over a month since the 607
eastbound stop near
Perhaps you could also tell EPTUG what
happens when the onboard announcement states that the next stop is at
Overcrowding on the West Coast Mainline to Birmingham has prompted Chiltern to start a fast service to Birmingham from Marylebone operating 6 times a day and bringing back into use the classic BR style coaches to tempt business travellers. Later Chiltern plans to compete with FGW with a new Oxford to London service but there I still no mention of improved London metro service nor the hoped for West Hampstead station.
Regulars on the 105 Greenford to Heathrow service say the service has improved since Metroline took over in July but late evening time keeping has been affected by road works on the A4. The 105 service was one of many routes affected by the recent Hindu celebrations in Southall. London Buses once again seem to have been caught out by the celebrations and appeared to have made no alternative plans or announcements.
The Circle Line is back after a summer
break during which the engineers, we are told, virtually rebuilt the Victorian
track bed and drainage. Sewers dating back to 1850 and lengths of rail from
1940 have been replaced and power supplies enhanced in readiness for the
introduction of new air conditioned trains to be introduced next year. Work on
the Hammersmith Line has also been carried out noticeably extending platforms
to enable longer trains to operate between Hammersmith and Aldgate. Old habits
die hard but if you are travelling onwards from Paddington to Euston or Kings
Cross, for example go direct to Platform 16 rather than the Circle Line since
the Circle Line terminates at
Discussions continue with London Buses over the location of the replacement Countdown signs. London Buses were known to favour restricting the signs to Countdown’s former sites whilst the Council was keen to see these installed at sites where a choice of service might be available. Outside Southall Station, both heavily used stops and served by 6 routes all going in slightly different ways, seems an ideal candidate for a Countdown sign but there are others. Tell EPTUG on 020 8998 0999.
London’s most successful railway, the Overground, has confidently announced yet more expansion plans for the next decade and these include increasing the service frequency through Acton Central to 5 trains comprising 5 coaches per hour. Surely London Buses must now consider serving the station with a direct bus link to maximise the station’s catchment area.
Fare avoidance, theft in another form, continues to rise even though stronger measures are now in place, including the conversion of articulated vehicle routes back to double deck operated routes. Now the Mayor has opened the debate by asking, “should the penalty fare be increased?”
Please make you views known by contacting www.eptug.org.uk or via 020 8998 0999.