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Transport

 

1. INTRODUCTION

I am quite deliberately avoiding the big local issue on the Isle of Wight – the highly contentious matter of the ferry services, which I will discuss separately in the near future. In the meantime if you have any thoughts on either Wightlink or Red Funnel – please let me know.

At next year’s election, the British people face a choice on public transport. A choice between the
Tories, who are driving up the cost of public transport, wasting taxpayers’ money and cutting
services, and Labour, who will put passengers at the heart of Britain’s public transport network.

The Tories have let commuters down by failing to tackle the eye-­‐watering fare increases that have
contributed to the cost-­‐of-­‐living crisis. Since the General Election rail fares have increased by 21.5
per cent. At the same time, standards have fallen. Across the country rail passengers’ rate of
satisfaction has dropped.

The Tories have failed to use public money responsibly. They have wasted over £50 million on
legal and compensation costs due to their franchising fiasco. This is money that could have been
used instead to keep fares down or to invest in rail infrastructure.

Bus users are not immune from the Tories. Bus fares have increased by 25.7 per cent since the
General Election. Compared to 12 months ago there are 147 fewer bus routes, and passenger
numbers have fallen.

Five more years of the Tories would be devastating for passengers. If the Tories win the next
election Britain’s railways will become more expensive and will only serve in returning big profits
to a handful of large businesses. The Tories have no plans to reduce the cost of rail fares. If fares
continue to increase at the current rate then fares will go up by another 24 per cent by 2018,
driving up the cost of living and pricing many commuters out of the market.

And another Tory government would be disastrous for people who rely on the bus network,
risking increasing fares and fewer services.

Labour has a different vision for Britain’s railways. We believe that passengers should be at the
heart of our railways and our reforms reflect that. We will give those who use rail services a bigger
say on how they operate. We will legislate to allow a public sector operator to bid to operate new
lines. We will also review the franchising process to ensure the Tories’ franchising fiasco is never
repeated and that the process for winning rail contracts is fit for purpose.

Labour believes that local bodies are best suited to know the needs of the passengers and
commuters who use the services. We will devolve decisions over the running of local and regional
train services so that areas can bring together trains, buses and trams into a single network.

Labour will tackle rising rail fares by abolishing the loophole known as the flex which has pushed
the price for some season tickets up by over 25 per cent since 2010. We will also cap annual fare
rises on every route, simplify fare structures and create a new legal right for passengers to access
the cheapest ticket for their journey.

Labour will empower local bodies to have more control over the way their bus networks are
operated.

Next May, on public transport, the British people will decide between the Tory threat and the
Labour future: that’s the choice.

2. THE TORY FAILURE

Rising fares are driving up the cost of living

Rail fares have continually increased at rates above inflation under this Government, even
after the Prime Minister committed to them being frozen at RPI plus one per cent.

“ANDREW MARR: What are you going to do for the hard pressed middle?
DAVID CAMERON: Well the hard pressed middle includes many of those people. You know people at the
moment, first time buyers, if you don’t have the Bank of Mum and Dad, you’re probably in your thirties.
You’ve having to save for years …
ANDREW MARR: (over) Rail fares.
DAVID CAMERON: Well today we’ve announced that we are going to cap the increase in rail fares at one per
cent over RPI, so a big step forward for hard pressed commuters. And we’re going to freeze the council tax
for a third year in a row because I think that is the tax that really gets so many people. You’ve worked hard,
you’ve paid your income tax, you’ve paid your national insurance, you’ve got your take home pay and then
there’s this massive bill from the council. We’ve capped it three years in a row and I think that’s very, very
good for hardworking people.”
BBC Andrew Marr Show, 7 October 2012

Since the General Election, rail commuters have seen their fares rise over three times faster
than wages. The average rail fare is now 21.5 per cent higher under the Tories than it was under Labour.

Year     Average    rail    fares    index    (cumulative)     Change    (per    cent)    
2010 100.0 -­‐
2011 106.4 +6.4
2012 113.0 +6.6
2013 117.8 +4.8
2014 121.5 +3.7
Office for Rail Regulation, Average change in price of rail fares 2010-­‐2013 and RPI forecast from the 2014 Budget Book
Year     Average    weekly    earnings    (£)     Change    (per    cent)    
May    2010 449 -­‐
June    2010 450 +0.2
June    2011 465 +3.3
June    2012 472 +1.5
June    2013 475 +0.6
June    2014 477 +0.4
Office for National Statistics, Average Weekly Earnings, 13 August 2014

These increases have already led to commuters being up to £1,360 a year worse off.

Season    ticket    route     Cost    in    2010    (£)     Cost    in    2014    (£)     Difference    (£)    
Swindon-­‐    London 6,640 8,000 +1,360
Leeds    –    Newcastle 5,916 7,132 +1,216
Peterborough    –    London 5,892 7,100 +1,208
Tunbridge    Wells    –    London 3,352 4,260 +908
Milton    Keynes    –    London 3,832 4,722 +890    
2010 data is from Passenger Focus and can be found on their website
Over the same period of time bus fares have increased by 25.7 per cent – almost four times
higher than wage increases over the same period.
Year     Bus    fare    index    (cumulative)     Change    (per    cent)    
2010 100.0 -­‐-­‐
2011 106.2 +6.2
2012 114.4 +8.2
2013 121.1 +6.7
2014 125.7 +4.6
Department for Transport, Table BUS0405a, Local bus index, 17 June 2014

Passengers are receiving poor service in return for paying high fares

While passengers are being hit with higher fares, overall satisfaction in the service train
operating companies are providing is falling. Since the General Election satisfaction rates
across 10 strategic operators have fallen between two and nine percent.

Operator     Satisfaction    2010    (per    cent)     Satisfaction    2014    (per    cent)     Difference    (per    cent)    
C2C 91 89 -­‐2
First    Great    Western 83 80 -­‐3
London    Midland 86 82 -­‐4
South    West    Trains 85 79 -­‐6
Southeastern 81 72 -­‐9
Southern 84 78 -­‐6
Cross    Country 85 82 -­‐3
First    TranspennineExpress 87 85 -­‐2
Arriva    Trains    Wales 88 83 -­‐5
Northern    Rail 82 80 -­‐2
2010 data taken from Passenger Focus, Passenger Satisfaction Survey, 22 June 2010

Bus passenger satisfaction has also dropped since the General Election. Overall satisfaction has
dropped by four per cent and satisfaction with punctuality has dropped by six per cent.

Issue     Rating    in    2010    (per    cent)     Rating    in    2013    (per    cent)    
Overall    satisfaction 92 88
Bus    punctuality 82 76
2010 data is from Passenger Focus, Bus Passenger Survey, 14 July 2010

The number and frequency of bus services are falling

Bus passengers across the country face another dilemma, the reduction or withdrawal of their
services. Over the last 12 months the number of bus services have been cut by 147 leaving
many who rely on these services without access to any public transport.

“As a result of these reductions, 147 services have been cut or withdrawn completely across the country.”
Campaign for Better Transport, Buses in crisis, 9 December 2013

The cuts have not been equal across all regions. Those living in the South East and the East of
England have seen higher reductions that those living in other regions.

The Tories are wasting money that could be keeping fares down and improving
services

When the Tories cancelled the West Coast Mainline franchise in October 2012 due to their
failure to conduct the process properly they cost the taxpayer at least £50 million. This is
money that could have been used to keep down rising rail fares or to invest in transport
infrastructure.

Description     Estimated    cost    
Compensation    for    costs    incurred    by    bidders    on    the    franchisecompetition £40    million
Compensation    for    costs    incurred    by    First    Group    in    preparing    totake    over    the    franchise £5    million
Staff    and    advisers    costs    for    running    the    competition £1.9    million
Professional    fees    related    to    preparing    for    the    legal    challenge £2.7    million
Cost    of    external    advisers    for    reviews    commissioned    following    thecancellation    of    the    competition £4.3    million
Cost    of    contingency    plan    preparation    for    Directly    OperatedRailways    to    take    over £1    million
House of Commons Committee for Public Accounts, Department for Transport: Lessons from cancelling the InterCity West Coast franchise competition, 4 February 2013

3. THE TORY THREAT

The cost of public transport will continue to increase

The Tories have no plan to reduce the cost of public transport. The risk for passengers is that
fares continue to increase at the same rate they have been over the course of this
Government. This would lead to rail fares increasing by a further 24 per cent by 2018.

Year     Average    rail    fares    index    (cumulative)     Change    (per    cent)    
2014 100.0 -­‐
2015 105.1 +5.1
2016 110.9 +5.8
2017 117.2 +6.3
2018 124.0 +6.8

A recent report by Passenger Focus shows that fewer than half of rail passengers believe that
rail fares represent value for money.

“The proportion of passengers satisfied with value for money for the price of their ticket nationally was 45
per cent.”

 Passenger Focus, Passenger Satisfaction Survey, 25 June 2014

Between 2010-­‐2014 bus passengers were hit with fare increases of 25.7 per cent, or annual
increases of around 6.4 per cent. If this trend continues bus fares will increase by a further
38.4 per cent by 2020.

Year     Bus    fare    index    (cumulative)     Change    (per    cent)    
2010-­‐    2014 125.7 +25.7
2010-­‐2014 data from Department for Transport, Table BUS0405a, Local bus index, 17 June 2014

 

Year     Bus    fare    index    (cumulative)     Change    (per    cent)    
2014 100.0 -­‐
2015 106.4 +6.4
2016 112.8 +6.4
2017 119.2 +6.4
2018 125.6 +6.4
2019 132.0 +6.4
2020 138.4 +6.4
2015-­‐2020 data is Labour Party projections based on trends set in 2010-­‐2014 data from Department for Transport, Table BUS0405a, Local bus index, 17 June 2014

The Tories will stop one of Britain’s best rail operators from running services

Directly Operated Railways manage and run the East Coast Mainline service on behalf of the
Department for Transport. It is one of Britain’s most successful train operators, returning over
£1bn to the Treasury and maintaining high rates of passenger satisfaction.

“The east coast mainline paid a record £235m back to the government in its final full year as a state-­‐owned
company, a 12% increase on the previous year. That means the franchise, run by Directly Operated Railways
(DOR), has returned more than £1bn to the public purse over the past five years, sparking renewed calls for it
to remain in public ownership.”
The Guardian, 4 August 2014,

Operator     Overall    rate    of    satisfaction    (per    cent)    
East    Coast 91
Passenger Focus, Passenger Satisfaction Survey, 25 June 2014

However the Tories refuse to support East Coast remaining as a public sector comparator to
other train operating companies, have banned it from running East Coast or any other lines
and will announce a new operator who will take over running the services before the next
election. The Tories are taking dogmatic decisions to prioritise the re-­‐privatisation of this line
rather than consider the interests of passengers and taxpayers.

More bus services will be at risk

Over the last 12 months the number of bus services have been cut by 147 leaving many who
rely on these services without access to any public transport.

“As a result of these reductions, 147 services have been cut or withdrawn completely across the country.”
Campaign for Better Transport, Buses in crisis, 9 December 2013,

4. THE LABOUR FUTURE

Labour has a different vision for the future of Britain’s public transport. We are offering a package
of reforms that will devolve power to local bodies and bring down the cost of using public
transport.

Labour will deliver the biggest reform of Britain’s railways since privatisation and deliver a fairer
deal for rail passengers

Labour will legislate to allow a public sector operator to take on new rail services. We will also
review the franchising process to ensure that the Tories’ franchising fiasco is never repeated
ensure that the contract process is fit for purpose.

We will create a fairer and more integrated rail network by creating a new guiding mind for the
railways, bringing Network Rail together with a new passenger rail body to contract routes, co-­‐
ordinate services, oversee stations and ticketing and ensure customer satisfaction is high
across the network.

We will pass on any savings from our reforms to ease the pressure on fare payers.

Labour will cut the cost of public transport and devolve more powers to local bodies putting the
passengers in control of their services.

We believe that local bodies that represent passengers in their area are best placed to take
decisions on bus routes in their communities and the fares their residents should be charged.
So we will empower local bodies to have more control over the bus network, giving local
people more of a say, and stop routes being cancelled without consultation.

Labour will devolve decision making powers over the running of local and regional train
services to local bodies bringing together trains, buses and trams into a single integrated
network. This will include the introduction of smart ticketing, allowing passengers to use one
ticket to access all modes of public transport using a single ticket or card.

We will tackle the rising costs of rail fares by abolishing the loophole known as flex which has
pushed the price of some season tickets up by over 20 per cent since 2010. We will cap annual
fare rises on every route, simplify fare structures so passengers know exactly how much they
will need to pay and create a new legal right for passengers to access the cheapest ticket for
their journey.