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Will we really let GBR ‘get on with it’?

Will we really let GBR ‘get on with it’?

  Our Whitehall insider imagines what’s going on inside the minds of the mandarins at Great Minster House, home of the DfT     When I listened to the Transport Select Committee take evidence on our Rail White Paper the other week, I was hoping to hear some information on how, exactly, the reforms proposed...
Great destination - but can we get there?

Great destination – but can we get there?

  There is much to like about the Williams-Shapps Plan for Rail – but this document also contains a number of contradictions   Back to the future: Transport secretary Grant Schapps launched Plan for Rail at the National Rail Museum in York   It was not quite an out-of-body experience when I found myself dreamily...
Will GBR allow room for innovation?

Will GBR allow room for innovation?

  Plan for Rail has much to admire, but I worry about whether the structure will drive long term customer-centric innovation   The ability to ‘think different’ is at the core of Apple’s ideology. Can the same be said of GBR?   The White Paper skewers the existing structure with impeccable accuracy and defines customer...
The hard work begins - fight smart!

The hard work begins – fight smart!

  As the pandemic recedes and recovery begins, public transport will come under pressure to survive without emergency support   The decision of Andy Burnham (front centre) to go all out for franchising has cut through perhaps more than any other single non-London mayoral initiative has ever done   In some ways getting the funding...
One year has seen a decade of transition

One year has seen a decade of transition

  The national rail industry is facing a daunting task to stabilise its position in the transport market and its relevance to stakeholders   How long will it be before stations like Kings Cross see passenger numbers reach pre-pandemic levels?   The last 12 months have been a time of unparalleled change and disruption for...
The way forward is public transport

The way forward is public transport

  The government says it is serious about building back greener, and I believe them, but they need to start joining up the dots     Police Officer: Is there any other point to which you would wish to draw my attention? Sherlock Holmes: To the curious incident of the dog in the night-time. Police...
A game changer for customer service

A game changer for customer service

  A well-designed Service Quality Reporting regime could ensure that the needs of rail users are met – and perhaps bus users too   A Service Quality Reporting (SQR) regime has been developed by the DfT and involves mass auditing of the customer experience   To celebrate the 10-year anniversary of this great magazine, the...
Does the strategy ‘Bus Back Better’?

Does the strategy ‘Bus Back Better’?

  The long-awaited strategy has some good points for the future of buses in England, but also some naivety and a lack of understanding   Boris Johnson launched the Bus Back Better strategy in Coventry   The publication of Bus Back Better – the National Bus Strategy for England – has raised the profile of...
Williams - on the right track?

Williams – on the right track?

  The world which the railway faces today is very different to the one that Keith Williams saw when he began his review   Okehampton: an early win   One of the more dispiriting experiences in life is waiting on a station platform, only to see on the information display the expected arrival time of...
Plenty of ambition, but ambiguity also

Plenty of ambition, but ambiguity also

  The National Bus Strategy sets out an attractive vision for the future of buses, but questions remain over how it will be achieved     For years we have been arguing that passengers in our areas don’t want on-street competition and private companies determining this key public service that they rely on. Instead they...
Curtain comes down on bus deregulation

Curtain comes down on bus deregulation

  Our Whitehall insider imagines what’s going on inside the minds of the mandarins at Great Minster House, home of the DfT     Finally, we’ve published the National Bus Strategy. As ever when new “strategies” get published governments love to describe them as revolutionary or ambitious. The National Bus Strategy is no exception, with...
Happy birthday, Passenger Transport!

Happy birthday, Passenger Transport!

  It’s hard to believe that this great magazine has been around for 10 years. It’s been part of my development, and perhaps yours too   How time flies! 10 years ago, I was privileged to be selected by the founders of this great mag, Robert Jack and Andrew Garnett, to spend their very first...