Tag Archives: transport

Baroness Jenny Randerson writes…For our transport sector Brexit means we are currently going nowhere fast

Although few people have talked about it, Brexit is going to raise serious issues about how we get about. Our transport sector faces practical problems that need to be solved, or at least grappled with. These are issues that affect us in everyday life. I am pretty sure that people who voted to leave still expect to be able to fly abroad to their summer holidays and to buy goods that have been transported safely and in a timely manner from other countries. There is a simple, practical fact about which nobody—no referendum, no decision—can do anything: the continent of Europe, the land mass, stands between us and much of the rest of the world.

One immediate issue is the Channel Tunnel. The dream of the Channel Tunnel long predates the European Union, but the tunnel was constructed while Britain was a member and it has been executed and managed with EU membership at the forefront. It is privately financed and privately run by an Anglo-French consortium and its scale is simply enormous—400 trains a day, 50,000 passengers a day and 54,000 tonnes of freight a day. We cannot ignore that the British border is in France, an arrangement which has already been put under considerable doubt.

It is clear that many who voted to leave did so in the expectation of tighter border controls. This conflicts with the inspiration behind the Channel Tunnel, to have freer and faster movement of both people and goods between Britain and France. Any moves to implement tighter controls or to apply them in different ways will inevitably have an impact on business and on the enormous investment that the Channel Tunnel represents.

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Are we really heading for driverless cars?

The Queen’s speech last week contained some cracking headlines about spaceports, drones and driverless cars as part of the ‘Modern Transport Bill’. In terms of the cars, I believe the legislation is really just about providing clear regulation frameworks and insurance liability rather than any serious public investment. However no sooner was the speech completed when various ‘experts’ were being interviewed on TV accusing the government of wasting time on pie in the sky projects rather than focusing on the real transport issues.  One such expert on Channel 5 news that evening even said that driverless car technology was ‘decades away’ and that at the moment the cars couldn’t even do basic things like drive in the rain!

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On Sadiq Khan’s Hopper bus ticket: an idea you may have heard of before

One hour bus ticket 2009So, Sadiq Khan has made his first big transport announcement, one hour Hopper bus ticket.

Now, even though I live 400 miles away, I know fine that this is not be an original idea from the new London Mayor. Someone has been campaigning for this since 2009. Who could that possibly be?

Step forward Liberal Democrat London Assembly Member Caroline Pidgeon. The photo was taken in 2009 in tandem with this article in the Standard and the policy was in the 2012 Lib Dem London manifesto.

Boris blithely dismissed it in the same way Cameron dismissed the raising of the tax threshold policy, saying it was too complicated and costly.

His successor saw the sense in it and used Caroline’s idea in his manifesto. 

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London Mayoral candidate Caroline Pidgeon welcomes TfL takeover of suburban trains

Caroline PidgeonToday it was announced that the Transport for London would take over London’s suburban rail network. From the BBC:

Transport for London (TfL) has announced it will be taking over the running of the capital’s suburban rail network.

It will take over the routes as the various rail franchises come up for renewal.

The new partnership between the Department for Transport and TfL says it aims to ensure there are more frequent trains and increased capacity.

The first rail franchise up for renewal is South West in 2017.

Liberal Democrat mayoral candidate Caroline Pidgeon welcomed this move, although she did say that it really wasn’t happening fast enough:

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Newbury by-pass – memories 20 years on

In January 1996, protestors took to trees and tunnels just outside my home town of Newbury, trying to stop the building of the by-pass.

It was a bit of surprise to be at the centre of such national furore over our by-pass.

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Willie Rennie’s concern for “knackered” Fife commuters

Two weeks into the closure of the Forth Road Bridge, Willie Rennie has told the Scottish Transport Minister that more needs to be done to support commuters who are facing delays of up to two hours each way in their daily commute.

He quoted some of the problems people are facing:

I drive from Dalgety Bay to Bo’ness and have found myself getting frustrated by being forced into huge queues over Clackmannan bridge then joining light traffic coming over Kincardine. My mileage has also been trebled which is an issue financially. Surely it would make sense to allow cars to use the A985 from 7.00pm to 6.00am and all weekend as a starting point to ease local residents misery on this.”

“My main problem is time -up at 4.40 and leave work at 15.15. Travelling 4 hours.”

“Absolute disaster and a total shambles. Two weeks on and completely inadequate. Platforms overflowing. Insufficient coaches available to cater for the masses caught woefully short by the inadequacies caused by the Scottish Government. Increased cancellations. Promises not kept. People falling ill on overcrowded trains due to lack of space and resultant lack of ventilation. Cancellations. Delays.”

Willie is worried about the cumulative effects of these delays on travellers at a time of year when the dark nights and weather conditions don’t make for easy driving conditions. He said:

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Liberal Democrat Jane Ann Liston talks about extending railway to St Andrews

Jane Ann Liston on rail campaignThis weekend, the Borders railway gets back underway again. This is a real achievement of the Scottish Liberal Democrats in government in Scotland. The Bill was passed way back in 2006.

We’ll be writing about this more as the first journeys take place on Sunday, but BBC Scotland has done a feature about how the success of the Borders project has inspired other railways campaigners. They interviewed Jane Ann Liston, a regular commenter on this site. She plays a significant role in the StARlink campaign which wants to see the five miles of track from Leuchars to St Andrews reinstated. See what she had to say here

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