Media picks up on transport disparity between London and "the North"

AndrewE

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Article in today's Guardian:
https://www.theguardian.com/members...tter-buses-in-the-guardians-manchester-office says
It was a grumpy bus journey to Stockport that prompted the Guardian’s recent London Versus series. Peeved at having to pay £3.50 to go a few short miles into town, I tweeted a picture of my ticket and pointed out that the same journey would have cost £1.50 in London.

Thousands of people responded with their own bus woes: hotel workers on minimum wage in the Lake District, where a single from Ambleside to Grasmere is £5.65; a carer from County Durham, where fares seem inversely proportionate to local earnings; someone in Oldham whose route was served by one bus company until teatime and another later on, necessitating the purchase of an extra-expensive “all services” day ticket if he returned after dark.

When I moved up to Manchester from London in 2013 to become the Guardian’s North of England editor, it soon became clear that public transport was the great divider between the capital and everywhere else.
I’d been spoilt in London
By the time I left, London Overground had been revamped, the £17.6bn Crossrail was under way and Boris Johnson had spent hundreds of millions on a new fleet of Routemaster buses. Coming back to my native north after 14 years away, transport had gone in reverse. It seemed the logical starting point for a series which aimed to explore how much the rest of England has been left behind as London has pulled away.

The debate about regional imbalance is often framed as north v south. But for me it is London which – certainly in respect of transport, culture and political representation – gets a plum deal at the expense of the rest of England. Pick any seaside town on the south coast and it will have the same issues of deprivation and poverty as Morecambe Bay, where I grew up in England’s north-west.
...
I also recognise that this also applies to some other English regions, but it justifies the comments, complaints even, that some of us have been making on various threads over the years (and which some metropolitan types seem to find unreasonable, tedious or not worth bothering about.)
 
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What makes these complaints tedious and not worth bothering about is that there is never any attempt to establish a sensible perspective. In this latest example, the writer does not mention that London's low bus fares are subsidised by London council tax payers. Instead he suggests that this "plum deal" is at the expense of the rest of the country.
 

MarkyT

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By eck, I remember travelling around South Yorkshire on Yorkshire Traction buses as a kid in the 1970s when visiting the grand-folks in Doncaster. The fares back then were ultra-affordable, and much cheaper than London. Child tickets never set me back more than a new penny or two. Today's commercial operators often offer extraordinary value with their day tickets such as my local Stagecoach Torbay Dayrider for £5, covering unlimited rides between Dawlish Warren and Dartmouth, but short urban singles are incredibly high priced by comparison, with just over a mile from the stop at the bottom of my hill to town at £2.50. No PAYG card with daily capping available either so once you've paid that if you unexpectedly have to travel later on the same day then you can't upgrade to a day ticket.
 

yorksrob

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What makes these complaints tedious and not worth bothering about is that there is never any attempt to establish a sensible perspective. In this latest example, the writer does not mention that London's low bus fares are subsidised by London council tax payers. Instead he suggests that this "plum deal" is at the expense of the rest of the country.
We all pay taxes in the North, but the Government in London decides how much of it we get to spend up here.
 

underbank

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What makes these complaints tedious and not worth bothering about is that there is never any attempt to establish a sensible perspective. In this latest example, the writer does not mention that London's low bus fares are subsidised by London council tax payers. Instead he suggests that this "plum deal" is at the expense of the rest of the country.
Are council taxes in London massively more expensive than other parts of the country then?

PS I've just done a bit of googling and it seems not - so why do Londoners get more for their taxes than Northerners?
 

Metal_gee_man

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What it also seems to neglect is many bus services outside of London run well under patroned, those routes run around with a lot of fresh air but not a lot of paying passenger and many passengers having bus passes exempting them from paying, these private companies are only being paid a % of the actual fare that many pass holder cost to transport so here's the thing they need to charge the fare paying passenger crazy fares to cover the costs on many routes, but I hear you say well there are some routes that are busy and obviously make profit have regular new buses etc... Those routes are also subsidising those rural routes that 90 year old Gladys relys upon to do her shopping.

And yes in London there is an obvious funding by TfL part paid for by council tax, but the ridership is much higher night buses still achieve a higher ridership than some routes outside of London achieve in a week, those £1.50s start to add up 24/7 365 days a year
 

Glenn1969

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The Government in London has reduced Council budgets by 40% in the last decade. Transport subsidies have been squeezed massively which is why a fair few bus services have been withdrawn. Unfortunately they don't control fares and can't force operators to accept each others tickets on routes that change hands at evenings and weekends
 

radamfi

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What makes these complaints tedious and not worth bothering about is that there is never any attempt to establish a sensible perspective. In this latest example, the writer does not mention that London's low bus fares are subsidised by London council tax payers. Instead he suggests that this "plum deal" is at the expense of the rest of the country.
The rest of the country is not permitted to subsidise fares even if they wanted to and had the resources.

London bus fares have more than doubled since the early 2000s (singles were 70p), although transfers within an hour are now free.
 
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We all pay taxes in the North, but the Government in London decides how much of it we get to spend up here.
No-one has ever disputed that, but so what?

The real questions are: what do your Northern M.P.s agitate for in Parliament, and how effectively? How much does the Government allocate for other transport facilities such as roads? How much money is spent on subsidising current public transport compared with providing new facilities? What percentage of people in your area travel by public transport? By how much is Government expenditure in your area on transport supplemented by contributions by your local authorities?

Only by dealing with these questions can a balanced perspective be reached and it is obvious that most of the whingers have no intention of judging the issue through a balanced perspective.
 

yorksrob

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No-one has ever disputed that, but so what?

The real questions are: what do your Northern M.P.s agitate for in Parliament, and how effectively? How much does the Government allocate for other transport facilities such as roads? How much money is spent on subsidising current public transport compared with providing new facilities? What percentage of people in your area travel by public transport? By how much is Government expenditure in your area on transport supplemented by contributions by your local authorities?

Only by dealing with these questions can a balanced perspective be reached and it is obvious that most of the whingers have no intention of judging the issue through a balanced perspective.
The real question is why the Government in London saw fit to foist a system of deregulation on the rest of the country that it clearly didn't feel was adequate for its Capital city.

I personally vote for parties that are committed to full devolution for the North of England.
 
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How many miles of motorway are there in the West Midlands, Lancashire and Yorkshire? At some point the people, and politicians of those areas decided that railways were old fashioned and that roads were the grand new idea. London, just, avoided this madness and so kept the Railways.
 

Tio Terry

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I pay a lot more tax than council tax !
As we all do. But the truth is that London, the South East and East subsidise the rest of the country.


https://www.ft.com/content/6ebd5350-3f8f-11e7-9d56-25f963e998b2

There is also the disparity between London which has transport devolved to TfL, and the rest of England (Wales and Scotland also have devolved transport). There is a good argument that transport should also be devolved to the regions for local travel with what might be called Intercity travel being centrally controlled just like Motorways.

The argument will, no doubt, rage long beyond my departure from this earth! But if you were investing your own money would you invest it in an area with a known, proven, track record of creating a return or would you risk loosing it all and invest in an area with a proven track record of never providing a return? At least if you make a profit you can invest some of that in high risk, low return, projects.
 

yorksrob

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How many miles of motorway are there in the West Midlands, Lancashire and Yorkshire? At some point the people, and politicians of those areas decided that railways were old fashioned and that roads were the grand new idea. London, just, avoided this madness and so kept the Railways.
Again, it was the Government in London that decided to close our railways. First Marples, then when we voted for a Government which had promised to stop the cuts, Fraser carried on with them.
 

700007

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Are council taxes in London massively more expensive than other parts of the country then?

PS I've just done a bit of googling and it seems not - so why do Londoners get more for their taxes than Northerners?
Because there are a lot more Londoners and businesses than those in different parts of the North. As a result this increases tax revenues and allows for more subsidised bus and rail fares in London.
 

yorksrob

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As we all do. But the truth is that London, the South East and East subsidise the rest of the country.


https://www.ft.com/content/6ebd5350-3f8f-11e7-9d56-25f963e998b2

There is also the disparity between London which has transport devolved to TfL, and the rest of England (Wales and Scotland also have devolved transport). There is a good argument that transport should also be devolved to the regions for local travel with what might be called Intercity travel being centrally controlled just like Motorways.

The argument will, no doubt, rage long beyond my departure from this earth! But if you were investing your own money would you invest it in an area with a known, proven, track record of creating a return or would you risk loosing it all and invest in an area with a proven track record of never providing a return? At least if you make a profit you can invest some of that in high risk, low return, projects.
The most important thing the regions need is a Barnett formula, so the Tory party can't say that everything's the Council's responsibility, then cut their funding by 40 per cent.
 

Ken H

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Because there are a lot more Londoners and businesses than those in different parts of the North. As a result this increases tax revenues and allows for more subsidised bus and rail fares in London.
so we make the disparity greater by investing in Londons transport and not in the north. We need more carriages now to reverse the 2 for 3 government policy when replacing 1st gen DMU with sprinters. nothing should be running into major hubs with less than 3 coaches. Preferably 4.
 

700007

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so we make the disparity greater by investing in Londons transport and not in the north. We need more carriages now to reverse the 2 for 3 government policy when replacing 1st gen DMU with sprinters. nothing should be running into major hubs with less than 3 coaches. Preferably 4.
I agree that the days of using short trains into major city centres should be over now - ideally 4-car trains on all popular commuter routes regardless of what region or city it is operating in.
 
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Are council taxes in London massively more expensive than other parts of the country then?

PS I've just done a bit of googling and it seems not - so why do Londoners get more for their taxes than Northerners?
First, because there are more people in London, and second, because the first Mayor decided he wanted to spend huge sums on buses. Londoners do not get a better return on their taxes that people outside London.
 

underbank

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What it also seems to neglect is many bus services outside of London run well under patroned, those routes run around with a lot of fresh air but not a lot of paying passenger
And how much of that is down to routes that havn't changed in decades and don't cover new housing estates, new industrial parks, etc?

How much of that is down to a pretty non existent service on a Sunday?

Or pretty non existent services at evenings?

We had a service from our village to the local city centre. Before you all start thinking about a couple of cottages on a remote hillside, this is a village of around 6,000, with shops, pubs, GP surgery, garage, etc. It used to run twice a day, mid morning outbound and mid afternoon return - all it was useful for was the old folk and unemployed going into town for lunch/shopping and back. Completely useless for commuters, school children, etc. Then they wondered why it wasn't used much and scrapped it!

It's only the last few years that our city's huge Asda superstore has a bus to it - it's only been there 30 years!

If there was a decent, regular, bus service in other areas, then people would use it. You can't use something that isn't there! London has been very lucky that public transport has been heavily invested in, it's had loads of new routes and improvements added. That's why people use it - it's fit for purpose, unlike the pathetic attempts at public transport out in the regions.
 

Clayton

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Because there are a lot more Londoners and businesses than those in different parts of the North. As a result this increases tax revenues and allows for more subsidised bus and rail fares in London.
Yes that’s not how government should work though, is it? The point of having a government is to ensure that resources are spread around appropriately.
 

underbank

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No-one has ever disputed that, but so what?

The real questions are: what do your Northern M.P.s agitate for in Parliament, and how effectively?
There are far more MPs representing the wider London area, so they have a disproportional voice. The odd lone MP campaigning for better public transport in his/her own huge constituency "somewhere in the North" will barely be heard when there are dozens of MPs representing wider London constituencies.
 

David M

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The most important thing the regions need is a Barnett formula, so the Tory party can't say that everything's the Council's responsibility, then cut their funding by 40 per cent.
Barnett's not worth the paper it's written on either. More and more frequently, London decides that something like the Olympic Games or HS2 or London Overground benefits literally everyone and so is classed as 'national' spending - there are no Barnett consequentials. The Commonwealth Games, on the other hand, don't benefit everybody in London's eyes. On other occasions, they give the DUP/NI multi million pounds in what amounts to nothing less than a bribe - again, no Barnett changes. We're all being conned whilst London has vast sums spent on it for Russian oligarchs to launder their monies and so the wealthy can get even more wealthy.
It's time to waken up and smell the coffee.
 

yorksrob

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Barnett's not worth the paper it's written on either. More and more frequently, London decides that something like the Olympic Games or HS2 or London Overground benefits literally everyone and so is classed as 'national' spending - there are no Barnett consequentials. The Commonwealth Games, on the other hand, don't benefit everybody in London's eyes. On other occasions, they give the DUP/NI multi million pounds in what amounts to nothing less than a bribe - again, no Barnett changes. We're all being conned whilst London has vast sums spent on it for Russian oligarchs to launder their monies and so the wealthy can get even more wealthy.
It's time to waken up and smell the coffee.
Indeed. Barnett's not perfect, but it's better than what we have now.
 
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There are far more MPs representing the wider London area, so they have a disproportional voice. The odd lone MP campaigning for better public transport in his/her own huge constituency "somewhere in the North" will barely be heard when there are dozens of MPs representing wider London constituencies.
Why would it be one "odd lone MP?" Don't M.P.s representing Northern constituencies talk to each other? Don't they agree on anything? I find it hard to believe that they haven't all been told repeatedly by their constituents that the local train service needs longer trains.
 
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Barnett's not worth the paper it's written on either. More and more frequently, London decides that something like the Olympic Games or HS2 or London Overground benefits literally everyone and so is classed as 'national' spending - there are no Barnett consequentials. The Commonwealth Games, on the other hand, don't benefit everybody in London's eyes. On other occasions, they give the DUP/NI multi million pounds in what amounts to nothing less than a bribe - again, no Barnett changes. We're all being conned whilst London has vast sums spent on it for Russian oligarchs to launder their monies and so the wealthy can get even more wealthy.
It's time to waken up and smell the coffee.
Oh sure: Russian oligarchs use public transport!
 

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