diamond geezer

 Saturday, November 25, 2017

TfL published their new Business Plan yesterday. It features news of many big transport projects planned in the next five years, and their financial implications, but doesn't contain much news that's actually new. Please go out and enjoy your weekend.

For those of you still reading, here are ten things that are in it.
1) Contactless payment is now used for 43% of pay as you go journeys. We expect this figure to grow as more customers adopt mobile payment as it is progressively enhanced by the payment providers.
That's a heck of a high percentage for a method of payment which was only introduced a few years ago. TfL must be delighted, because that's 43% of passengers who aren't using Oyster, which means less processing costs for them to bear.
2) We have seen lower growth in demand for our services than previously forecast for this year, largely owing to economic factors affecting the whole of the UK, including the uncertainty of Brexit. Early indications are that the Mayor’s policy of keeping fares affordable has helped to dampen the effect of these negative economic factors.
Fewer passengers are using public transport in London, thanks to national political decisions, but the Mayor's fare freeze has retained some passengers who might otherwise have been lost. Basically, could have been worse. But figures elsewhere in the report suggest TfL's total income will be 4% lower this year than last year, so that's not good.
3) A significant proportion of our expected revenue growth will come from the opening of Crossrail. In particular, the final opening phases from 2019 will bring new passengers from outside London onto our services.
That's useful. Commuters from Maidenhead, Southall and Abbey Wood are about to start giving their fares to TfL rather than the existing rail operators.
4a) We need to reconfigure bus services to match changing patterns of demand in specific locations.
4b) We are reducing services in central/inner London, matching demand while still supporting excellent access and complementing wider schemes, such as the transformation of Oxford Street. Capacity in suburban areas is being improved, within funding constraints, particularly to support housing growth and associated travel.
A separate table reveals that TfL expect buses to cover only 456 million km in 2019/20, compared to 486 million km this financial year. That's a 6% cut in service volume in just two years. That's a lot fewer buses. Indeed in the last six months as many as 46 London bus routes have had their daytime frequency cut - that's around 10% of the total. And whilst TfL claim capacity in suburban areas is being improved, only one bus route has had its daytime frequency increased over the same period. It's all looking a bit one-sided at the moment.
5) Technology is allowing us to update our advertising estate, and boost commercial revenues. We will install more than 750 digital screens on the Tube and Crossrail, along with 120 cross-track projection screens. This will mean our advertisers can reach their target audience with even greater impact.
Oh joy.
6a) By 2041, 80% of journeys will be made by walking, cycling and public transport compared with around 65% today.
6b) The growth of the capital’s population – towards 10.5 million by 2041 – could put increasing strain on transport networks.
That's an interesting pair of statements (from separate pages of the document). London's population is currently 8.8 million, and is expected to be 20% higher by 2041. That suggests 20% more journeys by 2041... but TfL's target also requires 15% more journeys to be sustainable. Bashing the percentages, this would mean 47% more journeys made by walking, cycling and public transport than there are today. That's a hell of an increase. Even with planned capacity upgrades, and more people working from home, could our transport network cope?
7) Activities to reduce costs include consolidating our head office accommodation, vacating older buildings and co-locating staff to our new hub in Stratford, saving more than £0.1bn by 2022/23. This will also improve collaboration and enable smarter, more flexible working.
There we go. I was wondering last weekend when they were going to get round to mentioning that.
8a) From 2021, the £500m raised every year from Londoners paying Vehicle Excise Duty will be collected by central Government and only invested in roads outside the capital.
8b) The net operating costs of London’s roads and the cost of renewing these roads are effectively being cross subsidised from fare-paying public transport users. This is neither sustainable nor equitable.
London's drivers aren't paying for London's roads, London's public transport users are. That's either scaremongering or it's appalling. I fear it's appalling.
9) Our £550m Growth Fund will finance transport infrastructure schemes that lead to tens of thousands more homes and jobs, and unlock development and regeneration opportunities in some of London’s most important growth areas. Over the next five years, schemes include funding for new stations and road schemes; and larger projects such as the new Rotherhithe to Canary Wharf crossing and an extension of the tram network in Sutton.
As last year, and for reasons now fully confessed, the Metropolitan line extension doesn't get a mention anywhere in the document.

This one's intriguing. It looks like the cablecar's passenger numbers will be stable until 2022, and then suddenly double. But that's not what the data really says, that's an illusion caused by rounding to the nearest million. Last year the cablecar had 1,490,000 passengers, which is very very nearly one and a half million, but still rounds down to one. The previous year it was 1,540,000, which is only just over one and a half million, but rounds up to two. What TfL's projection says is that cablecar numbers are going to stay below 1.5 million for the next four years, and hopefully nudge a bit above in the fifth. This is not a transport connection that's going places.

If you do feel the need to comment on today's post, please start with the number 1)-10) of the bit you're talking about.

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