On 9th June 2015, TfL issued a press release regarding their new Annual report for 2014/15.
I'll give you my opinions as you read through the Annual Report, quoting from the press release.
“Transport for London (TfL) has published its draft Annual Report and Statement of Accounts for the year ending 31 March 2015, which will be considered by the TfL Board at its next meeting on 1 July.
2014/15 was another record year for TfL, with around half a billion more public transport journeys now taking place compared to five years ago. All parts of the TfLnetwork are seeing growing demand as London's population rose to its highest ever level, 8.6 million, this year and is predicted to rise to around 10 million by 2030”
With the population continually growing, I personally think it may end up rising to over 10 million by 2020.
“More than 1.3 billion passenger journeys were made on London Underground in 2014/15, an increase of 3.2% on the previous year. Despite the increasing number of people using the Tube, customers are now getting around London faster than ever because of improved reliability, as a result of the Tube Modernisation Programme. The average train journey time has reduced by 13% since 2002/03, reflecting improving reliability and increased services.”
It's interesting to see how the Underground system is coping with extra passenger journeys with the upgrades being made to the system. However, the Bakerloo and Piccadilly line is still in operations with rolling stock trains over 40 years old.
“Record numbers of people are using London's buses - in 2014/15 there were nearly 2.4 billion passenger journeys while customer satisfaction and service reliability also remain at near-record levels. This represents over half of all bus journeys taken in England.”
The other half of the journeys in England are from deregulated bus services. It is interesting to see that London Buses have seen their passenger journeys increased due to regulation under competitive tender. The reason why the journeys are increasing is because the fares and price cap for the Tube and National Rail are increasing. The price cap for London buses stayed at £4.40 for another year whilst the single fares have gone up 5 pence per year. The current fare for London Buses is £1.50.
Another reason why London Buses are popular is because of the service it provides as it has a cash free system which enables fast boarding where passengers use their Oyster card or Contactless bank card to pay their fares. But it’s a long way away for Bus operators in England to have a cash free system with the contactless smartcard to pay your fare.
“The DLR and London Overground also carried record numbers of passengers. On the DLR there was a record of almost 110 million passenger journeys, up by almostfive million. On London Overground, there was record 140 million passenger journeys, almost ten million more than the previous year.”
Interesting to see that the London Overground journeys are being increased after London Overground services took over the services from the franchised National Rail services from Silverlink back in 2007. In 2007, TFL reported that the annual ridership of the East London Line (when it was part of London Underground) came to 10,702,000. Their weekday ridership also came to 34,113.
There is no mention about the passenger journeys for the Croydon Tramlink on the press release.
“Progress towards extending the network has also continued apace. The Northern Line Extension received approval from the Secretary of State. The extension will support 24,000 new jobs and more than 18,000 new homes. A consultation on extending the Bakerloo line into south London received 15,000 responses, of which 96% were supportive of the extension in principle. Plans to extend the London Overground to Barking Riverside received overwhelming public support at consultation. Regeneration at Barking Riverside could provide up to 2,500 new jobs and 10,800 new homes.”
Interesting to see that the two London Underground lines are being extended. The Northern Line will be extended to Battersea from Kennington.
“In January 2015, TfL implemented a new fares package targeted at part-time and flexible workers to give them a fairer deal which is benefiting 200,000 customers a day.”
New fare packages mean new fare increases which are usually in line with other transport systems around the world. It's interesting how passenger journeys increase whilst every year the fares rise, which you would think would cause some people to cycle and walk instead. At the same time the fare rises are still an issue for people.
One example, back in 1997, the zone 1 only fare for London Underground was £1.20. But presently in 2015 it costs £2.30 (peak and off peak) on Oyster & Contactless bank card, while the cash fare is £4.80.
Another example, from 1997, single fare from zone 1 to 6 costs £3.20. But presently in 2015, on Oyster and Contactless bank cards, peak fare is £5.10 whilst off peak is £3.10; cash fare for a single ticket costs £6. So anyone that is going to London should use an Oyster card to enable cheaper travel.
The zone 1-6 One Day Travelcard back in 1997 cost £4. So people in 1997 would have been better off using the Travelcard because they’d save money on paying more than the Travelcard prices for their journeys. Currently in 2015, the Zone 1-6 Travelcard price costs £12 whilst the Day anytime (before 9:30) costs £17! Massive differences with the prices.
TFL have reported on their improvements and modernisation in their press release:
London Underground, Rail and Crossrail
· Following the modernisation of the Victoria line, 34 trains an hour now run during the busiest times, making it one of the most frequent metro services in Europe
· Capacity on the Northern line, one of the busiest on the Tube, was increased by 20% as part of the Tube improvement programme. The line can now carry 11,000 more passengers an hour
· New air conditioned trains have been introduced on Metropolitan, Circle and Hammersmith and City lines, have begun to be introduced on the District Line and is expected to be complete by the end of next year
· Five-car trains introduced on key sections of the London Overground network, boosting capacity by 25%
· Pudding Mill Lane DLR station opened, boosting capacity by an extra 1,100 customers an hour
· Crossrail, which will add 10% extra capacity to the rail network from 2018, is now more than halfway built and remains on time and on budget
· Redevelopment work to increase capacity at key stations and make them step-free is underway at places such as Victoria, Tottenham Court Road and Bond Street. More than half of London Underground's 270 stations have now been improved to make them brighter and easier to use, with tactile strips, better CCTV and help points, electronic information displays in ticket halls and on platforms and improved seating and lighting
No mention about the new signalling system which improves the Automatic Train Operation (ATO) system on the trains in order to improve train journeys to get to the stations more efficiently.
The Central, Jubilee, Northern and Victoria Lines use the Automatic train operation system.
The New air conditioned trains are the S stock trains which are used on the Sub Surface lines. They are big enough that they have walk-through gangways which enables passengers to walk to another car of the train.
The five-car trains are the Class 378 for the London Overground. They are equivalent to the S stock trains operating on the London Underground Sub Surface lines. The problem is with the old sections of the East London Line which were operated by London Underground with the 4 car stock trains. The passengers have to walk from the 5th car to the first 4 cars in order to exit the train. These are known as ‘Selective Door Operation’ which London Underground also has on some lines where some stations have short platforms.
London Bus services
· The bus network saw a major boost through TfL's business plan with funding for over 500 extra buses, equivalent to an extra 2.9m journeys each week. An additional £200m was also confirmed for improving bus reliability. Routes have been extended in Haringey, Islington, Mitcham and Southwark. And more Night buses have been introduced to the popular night routes serving Shoreditch and Hackney.
· The extra buses will also be used to improve transport connections to key growth areas, such as Barking Riverside and Elephant and Castle, providing high quality bus routes between new residential areas and local town centres.
Nothing much with the London Bus services as they are increasing more services.
Yet the all important, Air Quality
· An Ultra Low Emission Zone was confirmed, which will significantly improve air quality and help to protect the health of Londoners. It will be launched in central London on 7 September 2020.
· £65m will be required to deliver plans for cleaner taxis, of which £25m has been confirmed by the Government.
· Over half the target number of New Routemasters planned to be running on London's streets by 2016 are now in service. They will reduce annual carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions by around 20,600 tonnes
· TfL's retrofit programme has seen more than 1,000 buses become cleaner with up to an 88% reduction in nitrogen oxide (NOx) emissions
· The first British-built pure electric buses began running in west London in July 2014 and two electric buses were introduced in Croydon in December 2014
As 'Air Quality' becomes the main issue in London. The Ultra Low Emission Zone can be put forward to year 2016 for example. The reason why it’s taking so long is because there are many vehicles that do not reach the Ultra Low Emission Zone rule and it may be expensive to replace older vehicles with new low emission vehicles which is another reason for the delay.
The only difference with the New Routemaster is a bus with the extra door and staircase at the rear of the vehicle compared to the conventional bus. But it still uses the diesel engine to charge the batteries of the vehicle which uses the electric motor. The estimated final cost for the New Routemaster is £286 million, the fleet is owned by TfL which they lease to private operating companies for the route operations.
The electric bus fleet is going to be expanded by September 2015 as London Buses route 312 is to be fully served by Optare MetroCity electric. But it'll be interesting if TFL releases more information about the Alexander Dennis Enviro400 MMC Virtual Electric for route 69. The leaflet from Alexander Dennis Virtual Electric says “world’s first modern double deck electric buses will go into service in the city from the summer of 2015.” Probably the project is delayed…
Another issue is that many new buses for Central London are hybrid, the diesel emissions will be reduced but it remains harmful. TFL should start investing in Electric buses and help Alexander Dennis to roll out their Enviro400 MMC Virtual Electric far quicker for route 69 and many routes affected by high emissions.
You can view the full press release here.
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