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

Discussion in 'UK Railway Discussion' started by AndrewE, 8 Jun 2019.

  1. DarloRich

    DarloRich Veteran Member

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    OK so because trains weren't dealt with to your satisfaction ( despite the fact there were bigger fish to fry as evidenced above) the whole exercise was a waste of time. Goodness me. People who never use the train benefit from the last Labour government vastly. I bet if you ask them they couldn't give two hoots about trains but do about having decent police services. Yet you would prefer to overlook that and complain the trains aren't perfect. Can we try for some perspective?
     
  2. yorksrob

    yorksrob Veteran Member

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    I said they were preferable to the Tories. What more do you want ?

    And there supposedly being 'bigger fish to fry' is not an excuse, because you can always find 'bigger fish to fry' if you look for them. Do you think that Harold Wilson didn't have 'bigger fish to fry' when Barbara Castle was setting up the PTE's ?

    The reason New Labour squandered ten years of passenger growth on the railway was because some of its ministers thought that trains carted around fresh air, not because they had 'bigger fish to fry'.
     
  3. DarloRich

    DarloRich Veteran Member

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    I simply think there are more important things to fix than trains, than AND now. Those more important things help more people than replacing a pacer in 1999 ever would have done. I wish people here could look beyond the railway and see the real world.

    and btw I was living in the north east at this time, out of work and struggling. I know what helped me. It wasn't worrying about replacing pacers.
     
  4. yorksrob

    yorksrob Veteran Member

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    Well, there are always more important things. Governments are supposed to run the whole country. New Labour could have done Surestart and improved education and started to come to terms with passenger growth, had it been so inclined. A decent train service would have helped them to improve the North's economy.
     
  5. DarloRich

    DarloRich Veteran Member

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    Fine. It isn't worth discussing further. Your view is clear and I do not agree with it.
     
  6. yorksrob

    yorksrob Veteran Member

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    Ditto.
     
  7. tbtc

    tbtc Veteran Member

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    It's a shame that people have jumped to predictable "conclusions" that suit their personal prejudices (including the usual "froth" about Marples/ conspiracy theories/ Directory Enquiries/ wars/ arguments about how life was three Prime Ministers before the current one - almost four PMs ago!).

    The poor rural transport in northern England is fairly similar to the poor rural transport in southern England - as the actual article I've quoted says (though it seems that very few people bothered to read more than just the headline and instead jumped straight to Outrage Mode).

    Firstly, if the argument is that London's buses are wonderful then presumably people haven't been paying attention to what's happened on London's buses post-Ken Livingston. Whilst Boris Johnson spent a few quid on some fancy looking buses, services have been chopped and chopped over the past decade.

    Some of this has been carefully managed, with a few services tweaked at the same time to hide the reality that the combined PVRs have gone down a lot. And cuts to London buses don't always get the same outrage that cuts in other cities do (because there's not the same Outrage Wagon to jump on about "despicable private companies slashing vital links" - I guess it's harder to muster as much rage when the cuts are being made by the public sector.

    Then there's the predictable confusion between infrastructure spending/ ongoing subsidies etc (it's much easier to justify spending £10m on infrastructure on routes that are returning a premium to the Treasury than routes which require subsidy year on year). Easy to be outraged about the cost of once-in-a-generation large infrastructure projects that ignores the equivalent subsidy spent elsewhere during a similar period.

    TBQH (since this is mainly a "bus" argument in the OP), I'd be happy for better bus regulation - it's not a magic bullet but more could certainly be done. However we have had a few Governments now that have prioritised rail (used predominantly by middle classes) over buses (used by poorer demographics on average) - maybe that's because rail commuters tend to be marginal voters in swing seats - I dunno - but it's apparently fine for Network Rail to rack up billions of pounds in debt (on top of Government spending on rail) whilst we expect most rural bus routes to run without subsidy.

    Whilst I'm no fan of Jeremy Corbyn, he does seem to be one politician who understands the importance of buses (I mean, it's a shame that he spends PMQs reading out complaints from Barbara of Skelmersdale about her local bus route instead of worrying about Brexit, but he does appreciate that focussing investment on buses is an important way of improving lives/ opportunities/ disposable income etc in working class communities - as well as improving air quality/ congestion etc in urban areas). I don't know what the solution would be though. Councils don't have the money to do "essential" things like keep schools open five days a week, so I'm not sure that I'd guarantee that they'd make a better job of running buses (when any money spent on buying one new bus is money that could be spent on keeping a library open or funding meals on wheels). There are examples of councils that have run great bus services but there are also the likes of Warrington/ Halton, so it's not a guarantee of a great service.

    Anyhow, sorry for interrupting the traditional froth on here about how those Big Bad Southerners are oppressing the poor "North" etc etc
     
  8. yorksrob

    yorksrob Veteran Member

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    Buses are important. If they are funded by the local council, and that funding is cut by forty percent, then there is going to be a decline in service. The conservative government, which secured a far smaller proportion of votes in the North of England, is inevitably going to receive criticism.
     
  9. DarloRich

    DarloRich Veteran Member

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    A very good post. It should be read and digested. I suspect it may be wasted.
     
  10. Bevan Price

    Bevan Price Established Member

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    One could also argue that the Scottish fares are reasonable, but the London area passengers are being ripped off because they are a captive market with almost no reasonable alternative to using trains to get to/from work. They cannot afford to live near their workplaces in London, and road congestion / parking costs make it difficult to use cars.
     
  11. Glenn1969

    Glenn1969 Member

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    Would Northern still be such a basket case if the Government hadn't removed the best routes to make Transpennine Express a separate franchise? I agree the North needs investment but can see the point about subsidies being a factor against it happening.
     
  12. radamfi

    radamfi Established Member

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    Rural transport is a red herring really. Rural areas in all developed countries rely almost exclusively on the private car. There are still places in western Europe where good rural public transport still exists, but this does not translate into high modal share. Even an hourly bus service 7 days a week is not going to get many people out of their cars. Urban and inter-city travel is where the focus should be.

    There was a dramatic growth in bus service during the Livingstone period. Part of the reason was because it would take time for Tube improvements to become a reality so buses were the only way to boost public transport in the short term. Now the Tube and other rail improvements have happened, plus significantly higher cycle usage in inner London, there is less need to keep such a level of bus service. Even now, there are certain corridors which are overbussed. Only now that the current mayor has no choice are cuts to central London services going ahead. Millions could have been saved in the last 20 years had the overbussing not happened in the first place. That money could have been used to improve outer London bus services suffering from overcrowding, or other transport improvements.

    Whilst you can point to significant cuts to London buses compared to the peak of the Livingstone era, when you compare today to the pre-Livingstone era, it is still a massive improvement in service, and despite recent falls, still a huge increase in patronage. If you compare 1999 to 2019 outside London, that's a different story. London's night service is now probably the best in the world. Before Livingstone, it was mostly routes radiating from Trafalgar Square running every 30 to 60 minutes.
     
    Last edited: 8 Jun 2019
  13. yorksrob

    yorksrob Veteran Member

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    A very motor-centric point of view. What is there for those who are either too young, or too old to drive, or who can't afford to drive.
     
  14. Railwaysceptic

    Railwaysceptic Member

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    The local, heavily subsidised bus service.
     
  15. radamfi

    radamfi Established Member

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    What I am saying is that the emphasis should be on funding urban transport as that is where there is a lot of scope for cutting car use. Other countries subsidise their urban transport heavily. Currently, funding for buses in Britain is focused on areas of low demand.
     
  16. big all

    big all On Moderation

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    to be fair you might as well apply for a bus pass it costs the local authority no more than perhaps £5 to issue then no cost what so ever unless you use it then perhaps around £1-2 a use dependant on area per use
    dont forget to claim you free tv licence at 75
     
    Last edited: 9 Jun 2019
  17. 158756

    158756 Member

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    Council tax is highly variable depending on which local authority you live in. Many of the lowest tax authorities are in London. A Band A property in Liverpool or Gateshead pays more council tax (including the relevant mayoral/GLA element) than everything except Band H in Wandsworth or Westminster.
     
  18. Bantamzen

    Bantamzen Established Member

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    Public transport in general is important, it gets people from home to work, school etc. It helps drive local and national economics. An ideal government, & society would recognise this and ensure that all transport, be it in London, Milton Keynes or Skelmersdale is subsidised properly. Sadly we live in a country where both politicians and voters see subsidies as a bad thing, without ever thinking of the bigger picture.

    Worse still is the fact that we have shoehorned in a large majority of our, albeit fickle and fragile, GDP earning business into a ridiculously small area and the spent decades throwing money and people at it to justify this. So now there is little hope of any kind of equilibrium across the rest of the country, because the argument will always come back to the fact that the capital is where the money is made and spent. Even though one day the fickle businesses that make up so much of our GDP could just up sticks and move to almost anywhere else in the world.

    But hey, when did the UK ever do forward thinking?
     
  19. TUC

    TUC Established Member

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    London is highly subsidised in terms of capital expenditure compared to the rest of the country. Look at all the investment poured down the drain on Crossrail. Look at all the money on new carriages and extra trains, and still Londoners complain that more needs to be spent. The best way forward would be ‘no investment for London for the next five years’ and spend an equivalent amount elsewhere.
     
  20. TUC

    TUC Established Member

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    Only around 14% of council expenditure comes from Council Tax. Most of the rest is via central government in different ways.
     
  21. gazzaa2

    gazzaa2 Member

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    The problem is the whole way the country is run - transport is just a byproduct of it.

    It's a country that only caters to one city and everyone is there to serve London.

    They want to spend billions renovating Houses of Parliament but if they actually built a new parliament in Birmingham then that'd be the catalyst for change, but, no, everything has to be in London.

    A big factor that led to the Brexit vote that Londoners are most unhappy about.
     
  22. Mogster

    Mogster Member

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    My issue is the seemingly constant mega projects happening in London requiring huge capital investment. You could generate a complete step change in public transport in the North for less than the cost of Crossrail, probably much less.

    As a West of Manchester rail commuter for 25 years I can’t honestly say I’ve seen any significant service improvements. The lack of investment is quite striking. In fact I don’t think it’s unreasonable to say that the services I personally use are now worse, slower, less frequent, more overcrowded, than they were just a few years ago.
     
  23. matt_world2004

    matt_world2004 Established Member

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    Tfl is financed entirely by fares advertising and local taxes now it has lost its revenue grant
     
  24. matacaster

    matacaster Member

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    Its worth noting that many northern MP's actually live in or near London and only return to their constituencies to do a surgery to make electors think they are local - eg Barry Sheerman hasn't lived in Huddersfield for many, many years. Even those that do return home at weekends are hardly likely to use buses whilst at home and thus their perspective is governed by the huge number of buses they see wandering around central London. MP's do often use long distance trains though.
     
  25. DanDaDriver

    DanDaDriver Member

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    Yes, voting to give absolute control to London. That’ll show ‘em how unhappy we are....
     
  26. Djgr

    Djgr Member

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    England-governed in the South by the South for the South
     
  27. yorksrob

    yorksrob Veteran Member

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    It seems to be acknowleging that Local Authorities are under pressure, whilst trying to underplay the fact that it is central Government policy that got them there.
     
  28. matacaster

    matacaster Member

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    You have correctly identified the reason that the fares are higher in London. The fact is that too many Government buildings, Universities, seat of Government, foreigner destination of choice, theatres and event places. Too many people in general live and work in London and despite the costs seemingly want to.

    The problem is constantly made worse by the vast majority of Government spending being made in London. This in itself makes London a MORE desirable location. Eg, airports, northerners expected to travel to Heathrow, despite there being planes to many destinations from Manchester, how many Londoners consider going to Manchester. The flights are often cheaper and more frequent from Heathrow, but without building a third runway, the capacity could be easily made available at Manchester. Whilst the airlines would moan they would soon offer more flights from Manchester if there was no alternative. The percentage of hoilday flights from Heathrow which could be moved from their is around 35%, so no extra capacity would actually needed for business flights if these were moved to other airports. Try Bradford, one sizeable theatre, apart from curry houses and a few nightclubs it shuts down at 18.00. London has well over 50 theatres.

    The idea of having a dominant single city wherever leads to concentration of resources whichever Government, because they cant win an election without some of the London vote. What is needed is to devolve Government offices to the regions (and preferably not like BBC Salford where their self-entitled staff luvvies refused to move, despite vast investment. The BBC should have recruited, trained and replaced their 'star' presenters with (cheaper) and likely just as good locals from Salford.

    I still doubt HS2 commuter line will get any farther north than Birmingham (if as far as that).
     
  29. yorksrob

    yorksrob Veteran Member

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    You mean the one that doesn't exist because it's just been cut ?

    Well, urban areas certainly need good public transport, but I don't recognise the scenario in which funding is focused on areas of low demand.

    I think the Government missed an opportunity when the law lords were moved out of parliament. It would have been a start to move the high court, and consequently the judicial capital out of London.
     
  30. Railwaysceptic

    Railwaysceptic Member

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    Liverpool is west of Manchester. I heard that the route via Chat Moss was being electrified. The Ordsall Chord is west of both Piccadilly and Victoria.
    To the north of Manchester, the route to Bolton has been given OHLE. I'm surprised that no improvements are to be found.
     

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