Coronavirus statement
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'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...
How realistic is electrification?

How realistic is electrification?

  There is a movement towards adoption of electric propulsion on the roads and railways – but it may not be the best way forward     Network Rail and others have expressed the view that wider electrification of the railway network should be pursued. This is despite several curtailed schemes and a longstanding history...
Compensate customers, or pay the price later

Compensate customers, or pay the price later

  Different public transport operators have taken different approaches to compensation during the coronavirus pandemic. Nick Richardson has hit the blunt end of the spectrum ‘in which the operator keeps the money regardless’     The Coronavirus pandemic has resulted in the loss of many passenger transport journeys. There are arrangements in place for season...
Private firms seemed to get 'favourable treatment'

Private firms seemed to get ‘favourable treatment’

  Our Whitehall insider imagines what’s going on inside the minds of the mandarins at Great Minster House, home of the DfT   As we slowly ease out of lockdown, I wonder what the most significant issue has been for the transport sector, and what the long-term impact on the sector will be. At one...
SMMT seeks incentives for new car purchases

SMMT seeks incentives for new car purchases

  Our Whitehall insider imagines what’s going on inside the minds of the mandarins at Great Minster House, home of the DfT   I must confess to being a touch surprised by an article in The Guardian on June 3. It reported that the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders had written to the government...
What next for Britain's railways?

What next for Britain’s railways?

  COVID-19 has ravaged demand but the ‘new normal’ for train operators won’t be the same as the ‘old normal’   A deserted Kings Cross station, pictured in early April   The pandemic created an interesting change for the railways. The calls for re-nationalisation may have been answered, at least temporarily with operators being overseen...
The baseline bus network - a new beginning?

The baseline bus network – a new beginning?

Dai Powell explains why support provided to the bus industry by government during the coronavirus pandemic may have implications for transport policy afterwards   Dai Powell   It can take the darkest of times to shine a light on what really matters – and there can be no mistaking that these are the darkest of...
We're in for some really turbulent times ahead

We’re in for some really turbulent times ahead

  Our Whitehall insider imagines what’s going on inside the minds of the mandarins at Great Minster House, home of the DfT   When the chancellor of the exchequer has the courage to admit that we are going to experience a recession “the like of which we have never seen before” you can bet your...