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

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

  1. tbtc

    tbtc Veteran Member

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    Well, the Conservative government receive a smaller proportion of votes in London too AIUI (I think Labour have around two thirds of the parliamentary seats?), but London seems to do okay transport wise.

    The problem is though that if councils are going to have chaotic/vulnerable funding then I don't know that bus provision would sit best with councils. I mean, in an ideal world, I'd have councils well funded with stable income etc etc, but realistically local government spending isn't great these days so I don't know if the average council would do a better job (yes, there's Nottingham, but there's also Warrington). Any expenditure on a new vehicle would always be money that could be used to fund Meals On Wheels or keep a Library open.

    The routes that Northern operate would still be basket cases, whichever franchise they were part of. Nobody on here seems interested in what we do with so many loss making routes where heavy rail isn't fit for the modern market (the Victorians left us lines that don't serve town centres particularly well or are on the wrong side of the valley to most of the population or aren't flexible enough to cope with the huge changes over the past couple of generations).

    Carve up the franchises however you want but it's like Northern Rock parcelling up toxic debts with good debts to try to hide them away. Maybe the argument is the other way round and TPE would still be making do with 158s if it was still shackled to the rest of the "Provincial" franchise in northern England.

    I completely agree that public transport is much better at serving areas of higher population density - rail isn't going to be competitive between small towns - a bus route will struggle to penetrate a village where people live long distances from the nearest stop - we'd be much better focussing on urban areas.

    It's just that the OP was an article about rural public transport provision in the UK (and how it's equally bad in northern and southern England).

    Some people on here think that train stations should be liberally sprinkled around the country, rather than targeted in the areas most suitable though. I'm perfectly relaxed about whole parliamentary seats or even counties not having a train station if there's no effective way of providing one. Rail should pick the battles it can best win.

    Agreed - which is why I roll my eyes when people's great schemes typically involve re-opening heavy rail between small rural places - we'd be much better investing in urban areas. But that's probably less "romantic" to the misty-eyed people still grumbling about Beeching...

    So many points but... I'm not sure that public transport is ever going to solve the problems that you raise.

    I know Sheffielders who never use local buses/trains around here but are happy using the red buses and Underground of London, in the way that I know Sheffielders who never visit the Cruicible/Lyceum theatres but will always want to go see a "show" when they are in London. That's just the way things are.

    I'm not sure that the number of Universities in London are too many. Compared to the size of the place, the London Universities seem on the low side - huge numbers of Students can have a huge effect on places like Manchester/ Leeds/ Sheffield/ Newcastle but London's Student population seems a lot more invisible. If you can afford to be a Student in London then good luck to you, given the living costs etc!

    Tourists want to visit the capital city (with it's palaces/ monuments/ history etc)? Fair enough. That's how it works, isn't it?

    Not enough people are being encouraged to use Manchester Airport? Well, it's got a strangle hold on railways in northern England because of the obsession with running direct trains there. And the Airport is going to have a very fast rail link to London in the next decade or so...

    Lots of things to criticise London for (as there are of any capital city) but the fact that they've got too many Students and Bradford doesn't have enough theatres seems a bit thin.
     
  2. Bletchleyite

    Bletchleyite Veteran Member

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    I'd say the North West has substantially better rural public transport than Buckinghamshire, where other than the very odd branch line and inter-regional bus service that happens to serve somewhere there's next to nowt. Well, maybe Cheddington and Tring, but those are just a coincidence of being on the mainline.

    It's London vs. not London that's the issue.
     
    Last edited: 9 Jun 2019
  3. radamfi

    radamfi Established Member

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    As you probably know, buses outside London are run primarily on a commercial basis, where the operator is free to set fares and times as they see fit. The only funding most routes get is for BSOG and reimbursement for accepting free passes.

    The local authority then looks to see if there are any gaps in the commercial network and subsidises operators to run services in these gaps. By definition, where and when demand is lower.

    Almost all daytime urban services are commercial, whereas rural services (where they still exist) are typically subsidised.

    Because the daytime urban services are run commercially, they are assumed to be good enough, when in actual fact they are mostly unattractive and people with access to a car largely avoid them.

    But urban areas during the daytime is where the problems with car usage are most acute. So it would make more sense to target the investment and subsidy here.
     
  4. yorksrob

    yorksrob Veteran Member

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    Which is precisely why the regions need full devolution with a proper funding settlement.
     
  5. Adsy125

    Adsy125 Member

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    Source? This seems to directly contradict the figures earlier which show Londoners (&SE) pay more tax than they get back from the government, unlike every single other region, implying London subsidised everywhere else...
     
  6. underbank

    underbank Member

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    There's a general trend in this thread that public transport investment should be concentrated on densely populated urban areas. So, what happens to everyone else? What about kids that have to go to their local sink school because there are no buses to better schools (or their parents can't afford the exorbitant bus pass costs). What about workers who are trapped in low paid jobs (or unemployed) because they can't get public transport to/from better paid work? Not everyone can drive, and if they can, not everyone can afford the costs of running a car. And car drivers are the enemy these days anyway, so likely to be hit further by higher taxes, road charging, etc. What about regional towns (and cities) that are already blighted by traffic congestion? You really can't just ignore those areas - we need solutions, and that doesn't just mean making people move to the biggest cities!

    Glibly saying a 2 hourly service is fine because few people use it is massively missing the point - the people living in those areas are being denied a proper public transport service, and denied access to better schools, jobs, etc. You simply can't function a normal life of attending school or a workplace on a 2 hourly service. If there was a better service, more people would use it and it would open up options for people.

    Only a couple of days ago, I was reading an article about a "bright" youngster who simply couldn't get to "better" university open days because of the scarcity and cost of public transport. She was basically condemned to her local ex-poly uni's for which her grades and aspirations were too high. It really shouldn't be like that. But, we're going through the same with our son - every university he's put on his wish list, we've researched train travel instead with buses at each end of the train journey, and the timings weren't good, but the costs all in were simply ridiculous for 3 of us (yes, looking at cheapest advance fares) - not to mention needing overnight accommodation because of crap weekend services, so we're crossing the country by car instead saving several hundred pounds. If we didn't have a car, he wouldn't be visiting the best universities.
     
    Last edited: 9 Jun 2019
  7. Bletchleyite

    Bletchleyite Veteran Member

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    Public transport is NOT the solution to this problem. Putting money into the "bad" schools to make them not bad schools is the solution.

    All kids should attend their local school (thus avoiding unnecessary journeys), and all local schools should be good enough that nobody has an issue with this.
     
  8. Bletchleyite

    Bletchleyite Veteran Member

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    Why can't he go on his own? Parents do not have to go to open days, and a student can get used to travelling e.g. by coach rather than rail, and stay in a youth hostel.

    I similarly doubt the former story is, unless the student has a disability so can neither walk nor cycle, anything other than an "it's not fair" whine. There is always a way. You don't even have to go to open days to apply; there's enough online and printed information out there too.
     
  9. hwl

    hwl Established Member

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    London does subsidise everywhere else and also worth noting that circa half the Crossrail funding is locally funded from London (which will increase as London is ultimately paying for the cost over runs)
     
  10. underbank

    underbank Member

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    If you moved the head offices to Shap, then Shap would overnight become the region where people paid more tax and received lower subsidies. What these figures always forget, is that the head office profits/employment is on the back of consumers throughout the UK. If your bank, or energy firms close their local/regional branches and move their operation to London, then of course, all the jobs and profits are recorded at London, but they're generated from customers throughout the country. You can move that head office anywhere and the jobs/profits will then be reflected in the new location. The methodology of the figures is flawed.
     
  11. Adsy125

    Adsy125 Member

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    This seems to be a common thing, but most universities will pay for your costs to go to open days if you can’t afford it, and no one is forced go to an open day before going, so that’s a very poor piece of journalism.
     
  12. Bletchleyite

    Bletchleyite Veteran Member

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    As I said, just a whine about someone who clearly wants things on a plate. The lesson is that things are even less on a plate after graduating, so she'd best get used to it. Do you have a link to the article at all?
     
  13. JamesRowden

    JamesRowden Established Member

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    I think that Inter-urban / rural-urban journeys produce significantly more of that urban congestion than you seem to think.

    Subsequently I think that inter-urban bus and rail services which serve rural areas in between the urban areas can be an effective way to reduce that urban (and motorway) congestion.
     
  14. radamfi

    radamfi Established Member

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    Public transport can work in low density suburban areas and modest sized towns, as it does in Switzerland for example, but not really in proper rural areas. We're not requiring people to live in big cities. Smaller towns like Shrewsbury and Taunton should be able to sustain decent services and usage. However, cycling should really be a more obvious solution in smaller towns given the short distances involved.
     
  15. PeterC

    PeterC Established Member

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    Back in 1969 nobody would have been seen dead with their parents on a university visit. I went through the process twice as I needed a resit to improve a grade and in two rounds of visits I didn't see a single person with their parents.

    Fares are another matter, back then anytime fares were pretty reasonable. Even doing London - Manchester - Cardiff - London on successive days with three single fares (overnight with relations) wasn't totally outrageous.
     
  16. Bletchleyite

    Bletchleyite Veteran Member

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    Train fares are certainly pricey these days, but there is Nat Ex and Megabus as well as Blablacar and the likes. There are options.
     
  17. radamfi

    radamfi Established Member

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    Public transport mode shares even in modest sized cities such as Zurich can be 40% or more but you would be unlikely to get that on inter-urban travel. So I would improve the proper urban services first, but of course there should be good inter-urban services.
     
  18. JamesRowden

    JamesRowden Established Member

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    You would if you increased the price of driving to subsidise public transport. Those who continue to drive would pay more but have faster journeys due to lower congestion. Those who presently use public transport would have a better service. Those who switch from driving to public transport will have decided for themselves that the lower price of using improved public transport was better than the convenience of driving.
     
  19. 6Gman

    6Gman Established Member

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    When did attending an Open Day become part of the process of going to University?

    I first set eyes on my university when I arrived to register. Having got there by train, with all my belongings in a suitcase.
     
  20. DanDaDriver

    DanDaDriver Member

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    About the time you started paying for it for most of your working life.
     
  21. TUC

    TUC Established Member

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    But capital expenditure is heavily subsidised. That is what neeeds diverting away from London.
     
  22. TUC

    TUC Established Member

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    The best way forward would be for the government to get serious about moving all major government departments out of London and incentivising businesses to do the same. Then lots of Londoners will need to move to other places, and campaign for better public transport where they now live whilst also paying much lower house prices. Everyone’s a winner.
     
  23. TUC

    TUC Established Member

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    Did you not want to visit it and others first to decide if it met what you needed?
     
  24. hwl

    hwl Established Member

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    Rather than diverting, how about areas outside London copying what London does and funding some of their local infrastructure projects with a local funding element?
     
  25. TUC

    TUC Established Member

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    Because London"s capital expenditure is heavily subsidised by central government. Why should other areas have to fund for themselves what London gets for free from the government?
     
  26. hwl

    hwl Established Member

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    Previous times that the government has moved parts of department outside London, staff have just left in droves for example see the PAC reports into the ONS Newport saga.

    For some more international businesses it is London area or not in the UK (e.g. the firm my wife works for)
     
  27. underbank

    underbank Member

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    I fully agree. We need a host of incentives to get people working closer to home. Such as a full review of the business rate system, lower employers NIC for employees living within x miles of the workplace, far more enterprise zones, regional development agency grants, etc. There's a growing movement towards "localism" and it can't come soon enough.
     
  28. hwl

    hwl Established Member

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    How about researching the crossrail funding arrangements in detail before commenting or don't you like facts getting in the way of your preconceived thinking? You might actually learn that London doesn't get it free!

    Capital expenditure is subsidised even more heavily outside London.

    Talking of subsidy:
    The average Northern passenger only pays 30% of the cost of providing the service in the ticket price with 70% subsidy in various forms.
     
    Last edited: 9 Jun 2019
  29. TUC

    TUC Established Member

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    You’re making statements without giving the details yourself.
     
  30. TUC

    TUC Established Member

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    Let them leave. There are plenty of talented people in the rest of the country to do the work if Londoners are too insular to make the kind of move they expect others to do in reverse.
     

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