TfL Propaganda: "TfL does not make a profit from fares..."

Discussion in 'UK Railway Discussion' started by LeeLivery, 22 May 2015.

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  1. LeeLivery

    LeeLivery Member

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    Sorry if this has been talked about already.

    http://www.tfl.gov.uk/info-for/media/press-releases/2015/fares
    Many of us have seen it - TfL have recently been putting posters up stating this everywhere and seem to plug this whenever they can. Yes they don't make a profit, but they conveniently omit that many of their services (Overground, TfL Rail, DLR, Buses) are contracted to private companies. Now, most in London know that buses are private sector operated, but on LO and the DLR you would have no idea without some research. In fact many believe London Overground is a nationalised service.

    I get a feeling that to get more support for TfL to take over more rail services, TfL are suggesting that zero profit is made from fares, playing on the annoyance from the public of the "big profits" rail operators earn. I'm sure MTR, Serco, DB and the various bus operators wouldn't be running services for nothing.

    I could be wrong, but after the Southeastern attack and the us and them approach to branding, don't think I am.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: 23 May 2015
  2. bb21

    bb21 Moderator Staff Member Moderator

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    Saying that TfL does not make any profit is like saying that DfT does not make any profit. Totally meaningless in the context of private contractors/franchises. Not that the average man on the street can understand that.

    They would be far better off illustrating the benefits of TfL/LOROL taking over lines.
     
  3. ainsworth74

    ainsworth74 Moderator Staff Member Moderator

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    To me it's a direct dig at National Rail and playing into the current popular opinion of 'fat cat shareholders taking all the profits!'. Subtle lobbying for more metro services around London (such as those SouthEastern services they've been eyeing up for ages).
     
  4. LNW-GW Joint

    LNW-GW Joint Established Member

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    I don't pretend to understand TfL finances, but it appears they are subsidised by DfT by more than 50% or about £5 billion, in an annual grant.
    Their income is helped by the very large commercial income from property in the moneypot that is London.
    The impression you are given is that LO is "successful" and "better than under DfT", but I doubt if there is a spreadsheet which confirms that the extra costs are covered by extra revenue.
    The zonal fare structure means that there is no way to allocate the true costs to a particular route.
    More passengers for LO may just mean less for other parts of the system, not system growth.

    https://www.tfl.gov.uk/info-for/investors/funding-sources
     
    Last edited: 22 May 2015
  5. Simon11

    Simon11 Member Jobs & Careers Assistant

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    I enjoy the delight in still finding the posters which said something along the lines of "our investment are on track and on time"

    Surprisingly, these seem to have disappeared after the SSL signalling contract went tits up!
     
  6. 450.emu

    450.emu Member

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    I used to be in their IT department, with a mentality like buying a whole new laptop and charger for someone who's just lost their charger, the money's coming from somewhere :roll: (perhaps from un-capped contactless card and Oyster journeys when people have forgotten to tap out <D )
     
  7. Class377/5

    Class377/5 Established Member

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    It does seem that TfL is playing games in trying to change public opinion by manipulating the public to believe they are the soluation to all London's rail transport issues when really they aren't playing on a level field against the TOCs. An advantage that TfL lines to keep quiet at all costs.
     
  8. LeeLivery

    LeeLivery Member

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    That is exactly it.
    --- old post above --- --- new post below ---
    It does amaze me how bad the Bakerloo Line is, yet NR operators get blasted for the 313/315s.
     
  9. Class377/5

    Class377/5 Established Member

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    And the end for the 72TS is looking like the end of the next decade at best. With the recent SSL issues, does make me think TfL should be busy with its current patch and getting things modernised rather than just expanding endlessly.
     
  10. Antman

    Antman Established Member

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    Exactly, TfL are forever trying to convince us all about what a wonderful job they're doing, I think most people take it all with the proverbial pinch of salt.
     
    Last edited: 23 May 2015
  11. Mojo

    Mojo Administrator Staff Member Administrator

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    I don't see the link between the two; the Bakerloo line is run by London Underground which looks after everything from the staff running and driving the trains to the state of the track. TfL's rail directorate are effectively contract managers and very little more.

    It has been an objective of the present & past governments to support issues like this wherever possible; taking things away from central government. Has no-one noticed that Greater Manchester and friends are empire building and trying to have a go at playing trains?
     
  12. gtr driver

    gtr driver Member

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    Yesterday in the Standard another columnist calling for a TfL rail takeover and telling what I suspect they don't realise are "untruths". It seemed to be confusing taking over services with taking over the infrastructure they run on. It made the point that the separation of infrastructure and trains is a bad thing - well I think so too - but then went on to suggest that the Overground runs both for its services and that's why they are better. Are modern journalists really so sloppy that they don't ever check their "facts" ? And is editorial control really so unconcerned about this? Okay I'm that not naive, I know that what ISN'T said is used by the papers to give a particular slant, but transport is, I would venture, more newsworthy in London than in most UK cities, and this amounts to misleading readers in quite a big way.
     
  13. swt_passenger

    swt_passenger Veteran Member

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    The Standard's 'rule number 1' for rail articles and leaders seems to be that everyone should get a seat on all main line trains.

    So why don't they rant on about the numbers standing on both LU and LO.
     
  14. plcd1

    plcd1 Member

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    The TfL Business Plans and Budgets show quite clearly what the revenue is for each service and also the costs of operation. I maintain a spreadsheet with all the numbers in it and how it changes between each plan and budget.

    LU generates an operating surplus which funds small scale capital investment projects plus a contribution to bigger schemes. The government grant is to fund the big upgrade projects and balance of capital schemes.

    London Rail (DLR / Overground etc) does not cover its running costs yet nor can it fund its investment needs. However the projected numbers show a massive rise in revenue as further rail services are added in and Crossrail starts. Its' expected to rise from £472m this year to over £1.3bn in 2020/21. Crossrail has to make an operating surplus because TfL have to use it to pay back specific project loans. The overall London Rail surplus in 2020/21 (after investment spend) is projected to be £226m which is a big turnround in 5 years.

    The bus network is subsidised but an awful lot of that funding (several hundred million per annum) funds the concessionary schemes that the Mayor has mandated and which are used disproportionately on buses relative to rail. It is also worth bearing in mind that bus contract prices also fund new vehicle capital investment. TfL have developed an alternative numerical presentation which shows that if you strip out these costs and add back in the revenue foregone for concessions then the bus network makes a small surplus.

    If we're having a moan about TfL advertising then the thing that irks me is that a proportion of the funding has to be used to pay interest to lenders on loans and then to later pay back those loans. Now the loan itself helps fund capital investment and reduces the call on the Treasury but I'd argue that the money that is paid on this financing isn't strictly "investment". TfL's funding regime is immensely complicated because of the multiplicity of funding sources - fares revenue, third party revenue, charges (e.g. Congestion charges, parking), mayoral precept (only £6m a year), government revenue grant, government capital grant, share of business rates, distinct Crossrail funding, prudential borrowing, European Investment banks loans etc. TfL has to be careful to maintain a good credit rating so that it's funding costs don't increase too much. There is usually commentary on this in Annual Reports etc.

    The detail is available if you dig round in the documents.
     
  15. LeeLivery

    LeeLivery Member

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    None of these editors are actually checking this rubbish. The Standard called the future TfL operated routes "former National Rail" which says it all really. MP Chucka of Streatham keeps trying to have this war with Southern and the Standard are agreeing with everything he says, though none of it makes sense. Calling for South London operators to be taken over by TfL because they're often late is frankly stupid. Most delays are caused by Network Rail London Bridge, signals, points, third rail, the list seems endless. Under TfL they will be just as late, and probably hated like the former City Rail in Sydney which got the unfortunate nickname of Sh*tty Rail.

    With AGA being soo bad at the moment, TfL is going to get great PR (you can't really do any worse). If they take Southern or SWT, then I think LO will struggle to revolutionise, LO isn't exactly loved along the Sydenham corridor already.
    --- old post above --- --- new post below ---
    I honestly have no idea. The Goblin, North London & East London Lines are horribly overcrowded, especially around Canonbury/Highbury/West Hampstead/Canada Water.
     
    Last edited: 23 May 2015
  16. TheNewNo2

    TheNewNo2 Member

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    The Standard's #1 rule is to lie and deceive. It always amazes me how anti public transport they seem to be, given how their readership is 99% people on public transport.
     
  17. LeeLivery

    LeeLivery Member

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    Agreed
     
  18. Class377/5

    Class377/5 Established Member

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    Expect that's not true. Manchester isn't trying to play trains but have a voice (along with other authorities) on the development of the local services. Direct running or control isn't on the cards.
     
  19. Mojo

    Mojo Administrator Staff Member Administrator

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    They are seeking to do a lot more than that: http://www.railnorth.org/partnerships/rail-north-dft-partnership/. They might not be running the trains (but neither does TfL), but the level of control over services will be significant, and rightly so.
     
  20. Robertj21a

    Robertj21a Established Member

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    Aren't both those statements rather ridiculous ?
     
  21. plcd1

    plcd1 Member

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    People have had to stand on the tube for decades. It's nothing new so why rant about it? Anyway there is a plan, of sorts, to upgrade lines and add capacity although the SSL signalling debacle has caused big delays for some lines. There is a more obvious plan to improve the tube and the worst excesses of years past in terms of engineering overruns etc have gone. National Rail services have picked up that mantle instead.

    The Overground is rightly viewed as a success story compared to what went before in BR and then Silverlink days. Yes it is extremely busy but again there is more investment to lengthen trains and to electrify the GOBLIN. The basic service quality is decent enough and people will accept it provided they can get on the train they want. Obviously peak capacity is getting a bit borderline at certain times but TfL have kept the improvements flowing.

    This is a contrast to many TOCs who are locked in to franchises that don't deliver very much extra but hike the fares up year on year. Obviously they are just doing what the DfT and politicians specify and are prepared to fund. The Standard tends to moan when things fail or don't get any better. Whingeing about a lack of seats is always going to play well with the commuter crowds. TfL has learnt the hard way (Misery Line, Monday morning overruns etc) how to stay ahead of the nightmare headlines. It is also worth saying that the Standard rarely does anything other than regurgitate press releases and Tweets. The TOCs and Network Rail tend to be behind the curve when it comes to chucking out "good news" stories and they don't move fast enough when chaos breaks out. Crossrail is a classic example of how to put out good news stories time and again and to handle the rare bad news (eg worker deaths) proactively. The Thameslink project could learn a lot but it's still light years behind in terms of telling and showing people what is being done.

    TfL may very well get unstuck with TfL Rail and West Anglia because of the long standing problems with rolling stock and infrastructure. However they will bring vast pressure to bear on Network Rail to try to sort some of the ridiculous infrastructure woes (points, signals, track, OHLE) that afflict the routes out of Liverpool Street. I also expect their press and PR operation to be very alert to handling any service disruption issues. You might dismiss this as spin but the media will lap it up because there are no knowledgeable journalists on local or national newspapers these days who understand the railways. The only journos who do write for specialist magazines or blogs.
     
  22. LNW-GW Joint

    LNW-GW Joint Established Member

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    Thanks for putting me straight.
    The financial complexity is indeed huge both on DfT (NR/TOCs) and seemingly also on TfL.
    I just hope the "benign regime" we seem to have at the moment continues.
    The railway has been caught by bad finances many times, the level of NR debt being the stand-out item at the moment.
    Rumours of further cuts to DfT's budget under the new government are worrying.
     
  23. gtr driver

    gtr driver Member

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    What concerns me is when you see news content that is so often inaccurate or biased about something you DO know about, how much are you being misled about what you DON'T know about. Even the BBC seems to be guilty of this, though it doesn't have a political bias it seems to take a 'man in the street' view. So with rail it's always clapped out network, old trains, delays, no seats, most expensive tickets in Europe, and the incredibly hackyned ' hard pressed commuters' as if no one else uses trains. Never any investigative research done or context given eg walk up versus advance prices or the increased traffic forced to use infrastructure designed for less or the inherent restrictions in the franchising system. And positive developments are always presented with a negative slant! Big infrastructure projects=delays and new trains=costs. And there are some 'sillies' which even the layman must notice - photos of 20 year old slam door trains or referring to engines or locomotives when most passenger trains are units.
     
    Last edited: 23 May 2015
  24. bicbasher

    bicbasher Established Member

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    So that's why there's been an increase in passenger usage and successfully switched passengers from the then overcrowded Southern services onto the 378s?

    Passengers on the Sydenham corridor would be complaining even more during the LB works if they didn't have London Overground as an alternative.
     
  25. Starmill

    Starmill Established Member

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    No, and that's exactly the problem. Manchester have done what I would say a mildly bad job of it, everyone else has done, well nothing at all really.

    London Overground is very slow and the trains are about as uncomfortable as they come. Do people just like it because its orange?
     
    Last edited: 24 May 2015
  26. jon0844

    jon0844 Veteran Member

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    I rarely sit down on a 378, most of the time because I couldn't even if I wanted to. Fortunately, most trips are quite short and you can see that most people travelling also seem to only do a relatively short journey.

    I knew it would be quite uncomfortable to go to Watford on one, so I took LM instead (getting off at Bushey and walking, although on the way back I took LO one stop and got on a LM train. Even with the wait, my train got into Euston ahead of the LO service).
     
  27. transmanche

    transmanche Established Member

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    However, it is a fact that the profit margin for bus operators is far less under the TfL model than is is in unregulated areas. For example, in its 2014 annual report, Stagecoach reports a 14.6% profit margin for its non-London bus operations, compared to only 9.8% profit margin for its London bus operations. And the aspiration for its London operations is only for "mid to upper single-digit operating margins".
     
  28. Class377/5

    Class377/5 Established Member

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    Sorry but TfL completely controls running (by its sole awarding of contracts) of LO services so it's not way comparable to the Rail North partnership.
    --- old post above --- --- new post below ---
    Passengers numbers haven not simply risen because it's an LO service. Let's not forget that Southern's 8 car trains have been replaced with four cars with less seats. Stepping up to five cars doesn't offer more capacity as Southern now had 10 cars with that plan to be an interim stage with 12 car services originally planned. Going over to LO meant you replace the planned 4tph 12 car West Croydon service with 4tph 5 car seats. A significant lower capacity.
     
  29. PermitToTravel

    PermitToTravel Established Member

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    While there are considerably less seats per carriage on these trains, there is considerably more standing room and so capacity (per carriage).
     
  30. matt_world2004

    matt_world2004 Established Member

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    Overcrowding on lul services is generally more tolerated by passengers because missing one train due to it being full. Is less of an incoveniance on a service that runs every two minutes than every 15 minutes. Likewise if you have to stand for 6 stops on a London underground service that is at most standing for 18 minutes. Compared to an hour for an suburban service.
     
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