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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...
Post-pandemic passenger transport - a new world

Post-pandemic passenger transport – a new world

  When we enter the ‘new normal’, our passenger transport services could be very different   Both the secretary of state for transport and the prime minister have told the travelling public not to use passenger transport   There is much speculation about the impact of coronavirus on passenger transport services. Currently, everyone is being...
Is the era of privatised public transport over?

Is the era of privatised public transport over?

  Our Whitehall insider imagines what’s going on inside the minds of the mandarins at Great Minster House, home of the DfT   First the train operators get bailed out by being put on management contracts – renationalisation in all but name. Then the bus operators get a bailout of some £400m on top of...
Re-assurance crucial as lockdown loosens

Re-assurance crucial as lockdown loosens

  ‘Understanding behaviours and perceptions is now crucial. Only by doing that can the necessary re-assurances be given’     As potential changes to lockdown restrictions and travel are contemplated re-assurance seems key. Any transport users who need to travel are going to need re-assurance about what services are running and open and what they...
Beyond the lockdown - steering the right course

Beyond the lockdown – steering the right course

  It’s time to start thinking big about how to respond to the long run implications of the coronavirus crisis   At some stage we will need to meet the additional demand for public transport that release from lockdown entails, whilst continuing to ensure that staff and passengers are protected   As we enter week...
Will we retain some of our new greener habits?

Will we retain some of our new greener habits?

  Our Whitehall insider imagines what’s going on inside the minds of the mandarins at Great Minster House, home of the DfT   Parliament’s back from recess and watching proceedings during Prime Minister’s Questions last week – not something that I normally bother with – was a surreal experience. Just 50 MPs allowed in the...