Wednesday, 14 December 2016

TfL board papers for 15th December 2016 meeting

As the board papers are out for the final board meeting of this year, I will show you some of the extracts from the selected board papers.

You can view the papers from the board meeting here.

Taking a look at the commissioner’s report.

London Underground (LU)
Piccadilly line
In recent days, we have had to take an unusually high number of Piccadilly line trains out of service to repair their wheels, which means that we do not have a full fleet available and are operating a reduced service. Train wheels sliding on a rail can pick up a flat-spot that can affect the smooth running of the train and in severe cases, can actually damage both the track and the train.

There is a greater risk of this when the rails become more slippery. This is not confined to the Piccadilly line or LU, but the Piccadilly line trains are unique as they are the only fleet without wheel slip protection. This technology was not available in 1972 when the trains were introduced. A procurement process is now under way to buy new trains for the line.

In the meantime, we are working around the clock to make the wheels safe, so that we can return to a good service as quickly as possible. We have commissioned a formal report into this disruption, which will be forensic in its examination of the facts and will aim to identify why this happened and make recommendations to stop it happening again.

Night Tube

On 18 November, the fourth of London’s Night Tube lines, the Northern line, started operating. Serving the West End and providing the first Night Tube service at Camden Town and Leicester Square, it is the most frequent, offering a train every seven to eight minutes between Morden and Camden Town. Services extend on both northern branches of the line to Edgware and High Barnet. Take up of the Northern line service has been excellent: since launch we have added approximately 35,000 Night Tube journeys each weekend. Night Tube now carries some 117,000 journeys per weekend.

On 16 December, Night Tube services will start on the Piccadilly line, providing a train every 10 minutes between Cockfosters and Heathrow Terminal 5. The introduction of the Night Tube throughout the West End will further support London’s vibrant night time economy and enhance services to commercial areas such as Hammersmith. It will also increase travel options for staff and passengers using Heathrow Airport.

As expected passenger journeys are increasing on Night Bus routes that connect with Night Tube but decreasing on those that run parallel with it. We introduced eight new bus routes at the same time as the Central and Victoria line Night Tube services. These are now seeing at least 3,500 journeys each weekend. The two new routes we introduced at the same time as the Jubilee line are seeing at least 500 journeys each weekend.

We are committed to making sure the Night Tube does not impact residents. Where we have received complaints about noise, we are providing customers with a named contact via a dedicated telephone number, with ready access to the experts working to tackle the root cause. 
If the plans for the Piccadilly Line Night Tube fail, I believe TFL should make a new night bus express service to run from Central London to Heathrow Airport. There’s an existing night bus route which goes from Central London to Heathrow Airport which is the N9.

Rail devolution

A detailed business case for rail devolution, running to over 100 pages, was submitted by the Mayor to the Department for Transport on 14 October, as requested by the Secretary of State. Officers met DfT officials on 26 October to discuss the business case and answer detailed questions. The business case found a benefit: cost ratio of 4.3:1 for the transfer of suburban rail services in southeast London to TfL from 2018, and also found that the construction of 80,000 homes could be enabled or accelerated if services across the whole of south London were transferred.

Unfortunately, the Secretary of State for Transport has said that he will not proceed with this for the South-Eastern franchise. We will continue to work with business and politicians from all parties, both inside and outside the London boundary, to make our case, which is compelling, for rail devolution.

This means the DfT wants to reform railway franchising and hand some of Network Rail’s infrastructure over to private train operators.

I’ve written couple articles this month about the railway situation, one titled ‘TfL takeover of London suburban rail routes and what is missing?’ and another ‘Looks like Network Rail is going to split.’ Railway reform is certainly going to be interesting over the coming years.


In short, the government wants to continue handing over the responsibility of railways to the private sector. Regardless of how much the fares rise, the passenger usage increases.


London Trams


New Stadler trams

The final two Stadler Variobahn trams have completed their final checks and have entered passenger service.


These final two trams complete the first phase of works to deliver the Trams for Growth programme, which looks to accommodate growing demand, improve reliability and support the regeneration of Croydon town centre.



Bus ridership

Bus passenger journeys continue to be lower than forecast, with total passenger journeys in Q2 five per cent less than last year. The decline in demand is due to a reduction in bus speeds. The measures, outlined by the Mayor to tackle London's road congestion, aim to improve bus performance by reducing bus excess wait time, improving journey time reliability and reducing disruption and incident resolution time.


We are also running a customer campaign to encourage people back on to buses. The campaign promotes positive improvements on the network such as greater reliability, increased frequency, new routes and station upgrades, and it communicates developments on a location and route-specific level.


I predict the 1-hour hopper fare will enable bus usage to increase again.


Low Emission Bus Zone and environmental improvements


Around half of the 51 buses required to make routes 507 and 521 fully electric have been delivered to the Go Ahead Group. The remaining all-electric buses are expected to be supplied by the end of this month.


The phased delivery of the BYD-made vehicles marks a significant step forward in the Mayor’s comprehensive plan to transform London’s bus fleet to ensure it is among the greatest in the world. The plan includes all 300 single-deck buses that travel through central London being zero emission for the Ultra Low Emission Zone (ULEZ) launch in 2020.


The trial of three range-extended hybrid buses, which can operate for up to 80 per cent of the time in all-electric mode, continues on route 69. They are supported by rapid ground-based induction charging at Walthamstow and Canning Town bus stations, as well as overnight charging.


The proportion of the bus fleet served by low-carbon emission and quieter diesel electric vehicles is now approaching 23 per cent. There are currently 2,100 hybrids in the fleet. This will grow to at least 3,000 as part of ULEZ requirements for cleaner double-deck buses by 2020. In addition, we now have 1,600 of the latest ultra low emission Euro VI engine vehicles, most of which are hybrids.


On 30 November, the Mayor unveiled the world’s first double-decker hydrogen bus. The new hydrogen double-decker, launched at the International Zero Emission Bus Conference and Summit at City Hall, is at the forefront of green technology and is due to be trialled on our roads next year, where it will undergo durability and range testing. It forms part of the Mayor’s plan to transform our bus fleet by phasing out the oldest diesel buses and making the entire fleet ultra-low or zero emission.


The Mayor also announced that no more pure diesel double-deck buses will be added to the Capital’s fleet from 2018 and that all new single-decks for central London will be zero-emission.



On 17 November, we implemented the Mayor's four year freeze from January 2017 on all fares we set on buses, London Underground, London Trams and the Emirates Air Line; on services where Tube fares apply, that is, the Docklands Light Railway, London Overground and TfL Rail; and on certain Train Operating Company (TOC) services that accept fares that we set. All fare concessions are protected and will not change.


Fare agreements with the TOCs and national government, however, determine the prices of Travelcards and the associated pay as you go caps. The TOCs have mandated increases in the cost of London Travelcards and the associated caps in line with the RPI. The Mayor has no control over these rises. As a result, Travel card fares and the associated pay as you go caps will increase from January 2017 in line with the 1.9 per cent annual rise in the RPI.


Here’s another board paper I’ve found which shows plans for the Bakerloo Line extension.


And taking a look at the Business Plan, it says:


New capital investment will be reduced significantly as we discontinue purchases of New Routemaster buses. We will carry on investing in the fleet however, by retro-fitting 3,000 vehicles with Euro VI standard emission technology by 2020.


Here’s the bar chart of bus capital expenditure showing the costs of the New Routemaster.


As I mentioned in my previous article, the last routes to convert to three-door two-staircase New Routemasters will be routes 48, 76, 254 and East London Transit routes EL1, EL2 and EL3. Then the design legacy of the New Routemaster will carry on as the two-door one-staircase bus known as the SRM which will be purchased by private bus operating companies. Currently, a small number of these SRMs are on route 13 which you can see on London Vehicle Finder by their fleet code VHR.


Finally, I’ll add that the new Volvo B5LHC product uses the same body as the SRM.


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