ATC080513: Report Study Tour to UK


Report of the Portfolio Committee on Transport on its study tour to London and Manchester, dated 13 May 2008:

The Portfolio Committee on Transport having undertaken a study tour to the UK from 7 to 10 April 2008, reports as follows: 


The Transport Portfolio Committee undertook a study tour to London and Manchester in the United Kingdom from 7-10 April 2008. 

The following members formed part of the delegation: Mr J P Cronin, Chairperson (ANC); Ms N P Khunou (ANC); Mr O M Mogale (ANC); Ms B Thomson (ANC); Mr S B Farrow (DA) and Ms N C Nkabinde (UDM) and also Ms V Mafilika (Committee Secretary).

2.         Purpose of the visit 

2.1 The objective of the study tour was to gain a greater understanding of the public transport institutional capacity being put in place in preparation for the 2012 London Olympic Games. In Manchester the Committee aimed to learn from the public transport experience of the city in hosting the 2002 Commonwealth Games.

2.2 The South African government has identified public transport as the major legacy to be achieved from the hosting of the 2010 World Cup. In a previous Portfolio Committee report tabled in Parliament (ATC 30 November 2007), based on oversight visits to South Africa’s 2010 host cities, the Committee raised several concerns in regard to the capacity and institutional coordination of our planning, financing and implementation of integrated public transport systems and other public transport challenges for 2010. These concerns related to both South Africa’s readiness for the event and to putting in place a sustainable public transport legacy.

2.3 Accordingly, the principal focus of the Committee’s study tour was on the institutional coordination in the provision of public transport for major sporting events in London and Manchester. In particular, the Committee was interested in the respective transport authorities in these cities – Transport for London (TfL) and the Greater Manchester Public Transport Authority (GMPTA).

To enhance information sharing and constructive feedback from the study tour, the Committee requested that the Department of Transport (DoT) make available, if possible, a senior official responsible for 2010 preparations. The DoT responded positively to this request.

            United Kingdom – general background

In the 1980s major public transport reforms were undertaken in the UK. The former publicly-owned British Rail was privatised, with rail infrastructure, rolling stock and operations taken over by a diversity of consortia. This separation of rolling stock, infrastructure and operational ownership among different and competing private entities resulted, at least initially, in considerable dislocation of services. 

Bus services, which had been typically owned and operated by local governments, were also privatised in the 1980s and 90s. As the Committee learnt in Manchester, bus deregulation measures included not just the sale of buses to private operators but often extended to open competition on and for routes, with route selection, changes to services and scheduling left to rival operators.

With the market domination of several private operators now consolidated, the worst of the fragmentation resulting from these measures may now be over. However, the general consensus among those with whom the Committee interacted was that the reform measures of the 1980s had resulted in many problems, including the cutting back of public transport services, significant fare hikes, under-investment in recapitalisation, and operational problems as different (and competing) operators failed to harmonise what had previously often been single, integrated networks. 

Against this background, in both London and Manchester, the hosting of major sporting events has relied upon and required strengthening the cities’ institutional capacity to coordinate, plan, implement and regulate public transport operations. In both cases, city transport authorities – the TfL and GMPTA – have been central in this regard.

Transport for London (TfL) 
The Greater London Council has an executive mayor, directly elected every four years. The GLC, in turn, has a Scrutiny Committee which oversees four entities – the London Development Agency, the Metropolitan Police Authority, the London Fire Brigade and, by the far the largest entity, Transport for London. TfL was formed in 2000 out of 14 different public organisations and in 2003 London Underground also became part of the TfL. The TfL has a board appointed by the Mayor, who is also the chair of the board. Its role is to implement the Mayor’s Transport Strategy for London and manage the transport services across the capital, for which the Mayor has responsibility. TfL is accountable for both the planning and delivery of transport facilities, which enables it to take an integrated approach to how people, goods and services move around London. The TfL’s Commissioner and his/her chief officers are responsible and accountable for the day-to-day operations of TfL and the work of its 17,000 employees.

 TfL manages London’s buses, London Underground (LU), Docklands Light Railway (DLR) and London Trams. It also runs London River Services (LRS), Victoria Coach Station (VCS) and London’s Transport Museum. As well as running London’s Congestion Charging scheme, TfL manages a 580km network of main roads, all of London’s 6,000 traffic lights and regulates taxis and the private hire trade.

In 2002, TfL and the Metropolitan Police Service established the Transport Operational Command Unit. Its role is to tackle and prevent crime on London’s buses, enforce traffic and parking regulations on key bus corridors, keep traffic moving at congestion hot spots and deal with illegal minicab touting. 

TfL officials informed the Committee that since 2000 London has been one of the few major cities in the world to achieve a shift to public transport, cycling and walking. This achievement has been made possible by the planning, coordination and implementation of integrated public transport systems, including integrated ticketing and dedicated bus-lanes, and major traffic demand management interventions – notably congestion charging.

At the heart of the turn-around, the delegation was told, that there has been a major improvement in bus services. London’s 8,200 buses now carry more people than ever, with more than 1.8 billion passenger trips in 2006/07. The number of operated kilometers has also risen to 458 million, the highest since 1957. The city’s 100 night bus routes carry 34 million passengers every year, more than double the number in 2000. All London buses, with the exception of two heritage routes, have been made accessible to passengers with limited mobility. The Committee was told that London’s buses are now achieving their best service quality since records began in 1977. 

The great majority of buses are provided by private bus companies with some 15 major companies now operating on 700 bus routes governed by some 500 contracts for these routes. However, TfL owns and operates one bus company and uses this as a public sector comparator – a bench-mark against which to assess the performance of the private companies. Bus contracts are tendered according to EU legislation. They are awarded for five years with a possible extension for two years if the operator exceeds targets. Some year-to-year flexibility is allowed, with 60% of contracts changing every year, allowing for incentives and sanctions based on demonstrated performance of the operator. The delegates were told by the TfL vice chairperson, Dave Wetzel, that they particularly incentivise service levels and notably driver performance and skills. This helps to encourage bus operators to employ more staff and to continuously enhance their training. The TfL designs the routes, specifies the kinds of buses for different routes, sets fares for routes and collects all fares. All buses are required to be low-floor, and bus movements are monitored centrally by TfL in real time using CCTV and direct radio contact with drivers. The bus control center is currently moving to GPS monitoring. TfL also conducts on-board and bus-station inspections and employs an agency to do “mystery passenger” surveys to assess performance. 

The other principal public transport carrier is London Underground. LU is one-hundred percent operated by TfL and the work-force is employed by it. Around one billion customer journeys were made on the Tube in 2006/07. 

Docklands Light Rail carries more than 60 million passengers annually, a figure which is expected to rise to 80 million by 2009.

 TfL launched the Oyster card in 2003, which is now the UK’s most advanced travel smart card and is used for 73 per cent of journeys on London’s transport network.

The Committee was told that funding for the operation of these public transport systems is derived partly from fares and partly from a nationally-provided operating subsidy administered by TfL. The proportion of funding derived from fare revenues and from the subsidy is roughly equal.

In 2004, TfL secured a ground-breaking, five-year funding settlement with Government on grant levels and borrowing upon winning the 2012 Olympic bid. It is now rolling-out its £10bn investment programme to improve and expandLondon’s transport network, half of which will be spent on the Tube. The regeneration of East London legacy was the main bid plank in 2004.

TfL has already begun delivering transport infrastructure improvements for the 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games – after playing a strategic role in securing the event for the capital. Examples include an extra carriage on all Jubilee line trains and an increase in fleet size in order to boost capacity on the line by 17 per cent. Also, an express, high-speed Javelin train will carry passengers from central London to Stratford International in the Olympic Park in seven minutes.

Overall authority for the 2012 Olympics is with the International Olympic Committee, below the IOC is the London Organising Committee of the Olympic Games (LOCOG – a coordinating structure), and the Olympic Delivery Authority (ODA) which has implementing responsibility for stadiums, transport, the Olympic village, etc. TfL liaises directly with the ODA. Three senior TfL executives are working full-time on the 2012 event and around 25 senior staff members responsible for different sectors (tube, buses, walking and cycling, travel demand management, etc.) are also allocated to 2012 work directly with ODA. The ODA itself has 35 persons working on transport. The delegation was told by an ODA representative that “we can be lean, because we are not project managing, but client managing” – i.e. the actual construction and project management of transport infrastructure is handled by private contractors.

 The Greater Manchester Public Transport Authority (GMPTA) and Executive (GMPTE)

5.1        Unlike London, Manchester does not have a city-wide metro council. However, with a clear need for an overall public transport coordinating capacity the city has developed a Greater Manchester Public Transport Authority. The GMPTA consists of 33 councilors appointed from each of the ten Greater Manchester districts. The TA funds and makes policies for the GMPTE, the executive arm, with a staff of some 550.

5.2        The GMPTE does not actually run passenger services, but is responsible for: 

Subsidising some bus services which are considered socially necessary but would not otherwise be viable, and providing bus stops and shelters. 
Managing the funding and administration of concessionary fares for the elderly and disabled etc. GMPTE also runs "Ring-and-Ride" services for the disabled. 
Specifying fares and service levels of local train services operating from the county. 
GMPTE also owns the Manchester Metrolink light rail system, which is operated by a private company on a fixed contract. 
GMPTE is also responsible for providing information about public transport services, and operates multi-modal ticketing schemes. 

Senior GMPTE officials provided the Committee with a briefing on the transport planning, implementation and legacy from the hosting of the 2002 Manchester Commonwealth Games.
At the time, it was the largest ever sporting event in the UK, involving 72 nations, 17 sports codes, and one million spectators. The focus of hosting the games was to catalyse the regeneration of East Manchester. 

5.5        The transport planning and implementation required a multi-agency approach and five main work streams – parking, public transport, stadium shuttle (from the City centre to the main venues at Sportcity), traffic management and communications. 

Parking preparation included:

7000 park and ride spaces, at three sites (existing sporting venues)
up to 9000 park and walk spaces within 1km of Sportcity.

Public transport preparations focused on efficient use of existing rail, bus and Metrolink networks; enhanced services especially for evenings and night; new ticketing arrangements; improved information.

The stadium shuttle involved:

Dedicated bus services between the city centre and Sportcity
These were free and frequent services with greater priority
A “city link” walk route to and from the City – of about 2kms
A temporary bus station in the heart of Sportcity.

Traffic management interventions involved traffic signal installation and improvements and improved pedestrian and vehicle signage.

Public transport communications included

A website with transport linkages routes and other information
A dedicated transport section in the official spectator guide
Special public transport supplements in local newspapers
Information kiosks and call centres
An advertising campaign and community relations
Announcements and information on the Games Radio Station.

5.10      According to the officials briefing the Committee, the GMPTE surpassed its own expectations for the event. They had aimed for a 50/50 mode split in terms of private/public vehicle usage. In practice, the split turned out to be 20/80, with 1 million public transport trips and 200,000 few car trips undertaken.

The officials briefing the Committee underlined the following as key conclusions and lessons learnt from the hosting of the 2002 Games:
The need for a comprehensive, clear and robust strategy;
The imperative of working cooperatively through a multi-agency approach – for instance, when there was insufficient staff to operate metal detectors at sport venues, extra staff were brought in from Manchester Airport at short notice thanks to existing networking arrangements with the airport staff.
Well thought out command and control. Examples given were of empowering local decision-makers to be able to make on-the-ground decisions about dispatching shuttles to particular venues when unforeseen challenges arose.
The use of appropriately qualified volunteers. Bus companies, for instance, encouraged their drivers from other cities to take paid leave in Manchester for the duration of the Games. GMPTE desk staff worked as volunteers out on the road – including helping orient out-of-town drivers, etc.

6. Congestion Charging 
6.1 A major transport demand management intervention by TfL is congestion charging in central London. The GMPTA is also planning a similar scheme for Manchester.

6.2 In London the congestion charge traffic reduction scheme operates in central London from 7am to 6pm, Mondays to Fridays. By charging motorists who drive on some of London’s busiest roads, the Congestion Charge is aimed at achieving five key transport priorities:
Reducing congestion
Making radical improvements to bus services
Improving journey time reliability for car users
Making the distribution of goods and services more efficient
Achieving a significant reduction in CO2 and other emissions.

6.3 The Congestion Charge was introduced by TfL in February 2003, following extensive public and stakeholder consultation. It was extended westward in February 2007.

6.4 The charge does not apply on weekends, public holidays, or the working days between Christmas Day and New Year's Day when traffic levels are lighter.

6.5 The motivation for introducing congestion charging is that London suffers from the worst traffic congestion in the UK, and among the worst in Europe. The charge is designed to encourage motorists to use other modes of transport, cutting congestion and emissions. Less congestion means quicker and more reliable journey times for bus passengers and for those who elect to pay the charge and continue to drive in the zone.

6.6 The £8 daily charge can be paid online, by telephone, by text message, at selected shops, petrol stations and car parks, or by post. The charge can be paid for a day, week, month or year at a time; monthly and annual payments carry a discount of three and 40 days respectively. Vehicle movements into and within the zone are captured on an extensive CCTV camera network.

6.7 Since the introduction of the Pay Next Day facility in June 2006, drivers pay £8 until midnight on the day of their travel in the zone, or £10 if they pay the following day after travelling in the zone. Drivers who have not paid the charge by midnight on the charging day after they travel in the zone receive a Penalty Charge Notice of £100, which is reduced to £50 if paid within 14 days. Businesses and other organizations operating a fleet of at least 10 vehicles can register for TfL’s Automated Fleet Scheme.

6.8 Certain categories of vehicle – such as taxis, motorcycles, bicycles and buses - are exempt from the charge or receive a 100 per cent discount. Residents within the congestion charging zone can register for a 90 per cent discount. Disabled persons’ Blue Badge holders are eligible to register for a 100 per cent discount and so pay no daily charge. 

6.9 By law, all money raised by the Congestion Charging scheme must be spent on improving transport in London, including improvements to bus network operations, roads, bridges and road safety. In the financial year 2006/07, £123m has been raised to invest back into London’s transport system.

6.10 According to the last annual impact monitoring report (published June 2007):
The number of vehicles entering the original charging zone has fallen by 21 per cent, compared with 2002
Congestion in the western extension has been cut by 20 to 25 per cent after the first three months of operation, against comparable levels in 2005 and 2006
Significant improvements in bus services have been sustained
Cycling levels within the zone are up 43 per cent since the introduction of the Congestion Charge.
Significant reductions of polluting emissions.

6.11 In Manchester, the GMPTA is planning a similar congestion charge intervention. The Manchester intervention will differ from London’s in that it will cover a wider area, and there will be an outer and inner zone. Charging will be limited to two hours in the morning and two hours in the evening of working days, and it will only be for traffic entering the zones in the morning and for traffic crossing out of the zones in the evening. Instead of CCTV monitoring as in London, vehicles will be required to carry a chip and a record will be activated by the chip and beacons around the perimeters of the zones.

6.12 The GMPTA has decided to delay implementation until they have completed improvements in their public transport infrastructure and services, including station upgrades.

7. Conclusion and recommendations
7.1 As the Committee had anticipated, many of the major sporting events-specific measures undertaken in London and Manchester are already being planned for 2010 in South Africa. Some of these measures have already been used in South Africa for major sporting (and other) events. 

7.2 The Committee also appreciated from the outset that, whatever their own public transport challenges, a relatively effective, extensive and integrated mass public transport systems already exist in London as it prepares for the 2012 Olympic Games. Likewise, they existed in Manchester prior to the 2002 Commonwealth Games. By contrast, while there are major transport plans in the process of implementation for 2010, the nine South African host cities currently have generally fragmented and poorly resourced public transport. The nature of this country’s public transport challenges for 2010 are, therefore, of a different order and there are not always simple lessons that can be easily transposed from the UK to South Africa. 

7.3 In addition, both the Commonwealth and Olympic Games are, essentially, single city events, whereas the 2010 FIFA World Cup will involve nine host cities and considerable inter-city travel. 

7.4 Notwithstanding these qualifications, the Committee believes that the role and institutional capacity vested within the respective transport authorities of London and Greater Manchester offer an important insight into how South Africa might greatly improve the city-level planning, implementation and regulation of integrated mass public transport systems for 2010 and beyond. 

7.5 While the National Land Transport Transition Act (2000) makes provision for municipal transport authorities, in practice only one has so far been established and with mixed results. The Transport Department has recently published for comment the National Land Transport Bill (April 2008). The Bill deals in some detail with a fresh attempt to establish transport authorities in the municipalities. It also makes provision for the roll-out and regulation of public transport for major sporting events and for the role of transport authorities in this regard. The Committee will be dealing with this legislation in the course of this year. The Committee believes that the city-level public transport institutional coordination in London and Manchester, elaborated upon in this report, is of great relevance for this forthcoming legislative work in the Committee. The Committee will recommend a close study of the experience of the TfL and GMPTA to all relevant stake-holders in preparation for dealing with the legislation later this year.

Report to be considered.


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