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Achieving better air quality

Achieving better air quality

  Poor air quality is recognised as a widespread problem but attempts to deal it with are failing     The air we breathe in many places is unacceptably polluted. We live with it because we have to but there is increasing recognition of the harmful effects of poor air quality. There have been huge...
Burchell quits Arriva for energy sector role

Burchell quits Arriva for energy sector role

David Brown named as successor   Chris Burchell   Arriva has announced that Chris Burchell, managing director of the group’s UK rail division, will leave his role in October to join energy supplier SSE where he will take on the role of managing director of distribution. He will be succeeded on an interim basis by...
Why are we arguing?

Why are we arguing?

  There are extremes on both sides of the face covering debate   The only people who have the power to challenge someone not wearing a face covering are the police   We seem to have become a nation divided into ‘pro’ and ‘anti’ face coverings, with both sides unwilling to let others make their...
The (transport) times they are a-changin'

The (transport) times they are a-changin’

  Our Whitehall insider imagines what’s going on inside the minds of the mandarins at Great Minster House, home of the DfT   When I commented, in not very favourable terms, on Grant Shapps’ decision to set up and chair a new Northern Transport Acceleration Council I suggested that it would need a team of...
The problem with Transforming Cities

The problem with Transforming Cities

  Government funding has helped selected urban areas but more will be needed   We have seen a lack of value attached to bus services in the scramble to create space in the wake of the pandemic   The Department for Transport has awarded substantial funding to some cities under the heading of the Transforming...
It's time for decisive action on railway costs

It’s time for decisive action on railway costs

  Our Whitehall insider imagines what’s going on inside the minds of the mandarins at Great Minster House, home of the DfT   One of the things I’m increasingly hearing is that the cost of the railways with the new Emergency Measures Agreements (EMAs) in place is simply not sustainable. Mind you, that’s hardly rocket...
Planning agenda needs reform, but not like this

Planning agenda needs reform, but not like this

  Decisions will continue to be made that undermine effective transport solutions   Robert Jenrick, Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government   The UK planning system is often vilified as obstructing development and reaching inappropriate decisions. The reality is that while there are faults with the system, decisions are made carefully and...
'One of the silliest things we have ever done'

‘One of the silliest things we have ever done’

  Our Whitehall insider imagines what’s going on inside the minds of the mandarins at Great Minster House, home of the DfT   Would you believe it!? Despite the history of major rail infrastructure projects demonstrating that the vast majority of complex projects are always – I mean, always – delivered late and over budget...
Bus strategy is needed now more than ever

Bus strategy is needed now more than ever

  The pandemic experience will require major changes to the draft strategy   Transport minister Baroness Vere announced the first national bus strategy last year   England’s national bus strategy has long been talked about but has yet to appear. Bus services need a strategy – alongside those for other modes – but the draft...
Pandemic changes transport behaviour

Pandemic changes transport behaviour

  The pandemic’s effects on bus, tram and rail use have been dramatic and will lead to significant changes for passenger transport   There are likely to be profound effects on how, when and why people will use passenger transport services   The pandemic’s effects on bus, tram and rail use have been dramatic. Traditionally,...
Transport's role in regenerating high streets

Transport’s role in regenerating high streets

  Retailing is changing rapidly – but what is passenger transport’s role?   Covid-19 schemes have been opportunist and laudable for walking and cycling but haven’t done much for buses. In Aberdeen, bus services have been barred from the city’s Union Street thoroughfare   What we buy and how we buy it is changing rapidly....
'There is little evidence that we have a strategy'

‘There is little evidence that we have a strategy’

  Our Whitehall insider imagines what’s going on inside the minds of the mandarins at Great Minster House, home of the DfT   So lockdown is gradually coming to an end. But the transport industry is struggling to get patronage back to anywhere near pre-lockdown levels, not least because we have the rather curious spectacle...