Suggestions for TfL

Saturday 2nd April 2022


Twitter followers will know I was privileged to be asked into TfL Towers (Palestra in Southwark) on Tuesday afternoon to share ideas on how to improve revenue and grow the number of passengers using its bus network based on best practice pursued by the country’s leading bus companies in the provinces which I become aware of through being secretary of an industry ‘think tank’ group called The Ten Per Cent Club (named after the idea passenger numbers can be increased by ten per cent with the right approach).

I asked Twitter for suggestions and ideas I could pass on and many thanks to all the Tweeters for the huge number of responses. It was great to receive so many.

I appreciate the following may be somewhat repetitive following my review of TfL’s Bus Action Plan a couple of weeks ago when some of the following points were also made, but it just goes to show a few key actions could see the problem sorted.

It turned out the project being examined is whether contracted bus companies running TfL’s routes can be given incentives to grow revenue and improve the passenger experience and if so how. This of course is a tricky one as the whole basis of TfL’s franchise model, and the one most admired by envious politicians and officers in PTEs/Combined Authorities chomping at the bit to also introduce franchising, is that it’s one simple utilitarian, homogenised network with every bus painted red; every fare a flat fare, every bus route having buses running the full length from Origin A to Destination B, no recognition of any other operators network tickets at the fringes (eg Intalink Explorer in Hertfordshire) etc etc.

Giving some flexibility to contracted bus companies and tapping into their commercial expertise could drive an E400 through those sacred cow principles which have served TfL for so long. Who can forget the early days of London Bus tendering with its mishmash of operator liveries and variable standards across the capital? It wasn’t a good look.

But it doesn’t have to be as extreme as that. The best bus companies in the provinces, and no coincidence they’re the ones which are most successful at growing the market for bus travel and gaining passengers, understand the value of branding, especially route branding. This can be done in a high profile way and still make buses look part of the overall network.

The original high profile Brighton & Hove Metro branded network for routes 1, 5, 7, 25 and 49 used colour coding for each route which powerfully conveyed their attributes (frequency and destinations served) as well as still obviously being part of the overall network. Similar examples can be found very successfully in Nottingham, Oxford and Reading.

TfL’s dalliance with route branding in recent times were derided for being amateurish and ineffective. Trials in Barkingside and Hayes were, frankly, embarrassing with route number stickers placed over windows and a general unprofessional image. Fortunately these ‘trials’ now seem to have ended.

Sullivans have made a brave attempt to brand the three buses they use on local route 383 but it’s not exactly revolutionary. But imagine if a revolutionary approach was made to introduce high profile professionally designed route branding on many of TfL’s key routes along trunk corridors it would make a huge difference to how the bus network is perceived by potential passengers rather than it conveying a utilitarian boring red with a plethora of different route numbers.

Older readers may recall London Northern’s Red Express branded journeys on route X43 along Holloway Road in the 1990s. A very successful way of promoting buses performing a different function to an all-stops-tedium alternative. Today’s equivalent limited stop routes X26, X68, X140 and 607 fail to sell themselves in the same way, if at all.

Many Twitter followers mentioned route branding as a suggested way to improve things – including reference to the erstwhile hugely popular Red Arrow brand – as well as other related ideas including improving destination blind displays – by using electronic displays to good effect with updated via points perhaps – and extending Countdown displays where there are still busy stops without.

By far the two other most often quoted suggestions were firstly bring to an end the routine practice of holding buses along a route “to regulate the service” adding to the perception of just how tortuously slow a bus journey in London is. This needs a whole rethink on the way performance incentives are paid; making them customer orientated rather than operational orientated. How can it be sensible to hold a bus at the bus stop before the final destination at Brent Cross shopping centre “to regulate the service” yet it happens regularly so the operator doesn’t incur a penalty for arriving into the terminal point early. I’ve sat on a full bus for five minutes at that location in the past.

The second most quoted suggestion in replies inevitably was the lack of a bus map. I’ve written about this many times before and my views are well known. For as long as an Underground map is regularly printed and widely distributed despite being a much simpler network than the bus network and having no end of variations available online (maps showing toilets; showing lines in tunnels or above ground; showing walking routes etc etc) with there being nothing even online for buses (and with the number of ‘spider maps’ rapidly diminishing leaving some major areas – eg Wood Green – completely map less) I will continue to make the case. Again, it’s no coincidence the most successful provincial bus companies at growing the market all produce bus maps. They just wouldn’t conceive of not doing so.

Transdev Blazefield have recently reported in a survey of 500 passengers , 1 in 4 used printed timetables for their primary source of information while 73% believe the company should continue producing them.

Enlightened bus companies also produce other helpful information to encourage and guide passengers. TfL do a first class job with directional signs throughout the Underground but as you come to leave stations there’s no clear indication where to go for the nearest bus stop or what the bus routes are, another point well made by a Twitter respondent.

Decent 24 hour priority lanes for buses also got a lot of mentions. There’s a perception too much road space is now given over to ‘active travel’ modes which although have seen growth are still a small proposition of total journeys compared to buses – by far the most used and popular mode. And that’s not to forget the walking routes to and from bus stops, and the need to make them safe and convenient observed by another commentator.

Does this bus really scream out – ‘come take a ride on me’? No.

Much higher standards of interior design and comfort of buses used on TfL contracts – much better than the toe-in-water improvements for the buses now being introduced by Abellio on route 63 – would be a major step forward to really demonstrate buses are not a utilitarian experience but something enticing and attractive.

It was a wonderful opportunity to feed such views into the TfL bureaucracy machine. It will be interesting to see where their review takes them. Maybe one day we will see a TfL produced bus map.

Or maybe not.

In the meantime Mike Harris has come up trumps and produced a printed version of his network map to the 1970s design. It’s right up to date to today too. You can order a copy at the bargain price of £2 with profits going to the British Heart Foundation at A Night Bus map is also available for £4. They’re well worth purchasing.

And the frequency cuts to central London bus routes continue. From today long standing route 12 (Dulwich to Oxford Circus) reduces from every 7-8 minutes to every 12 minutes and route 171 (Bellingham, Catford Bus Garage to Elephant & Castle) which until June 2019 ran through to Holborn reduces from every 8-9 minutes to every 12 minutes. Both cuts taking a further nine or so buses out of the network.

Roger French

Blogging timetable: 06:00 TThS. As perviously advised, a revised timetable is now in operation with the next scheduled post hopefully on Tuesday 5th April (Covid after-effects still causing minor disruptions to normal service).

53 thoughts on “Suggestions for TfL

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  1. Quick correction! Uno run the 383, not Sullivan. Interestingly, 383 is Uno’s only non-school TfL route, as their only other routes are the Potters Bar school routes 692/699 ran with former demonstrator electrics.


  2. Holding the bus at the penultimate stop to avoid a penalty is obviously madness and should stop, although it might lead to space issues on the stand given how much they like to cater for worst case scenarios with layover times. Does London generally suffer the same as the provinces at intermediate points with trying to balance the running time with some degree of reliability, thus causing laying up for a short while at timing points, or are they much worse at it? Is the fact that there is no published timetable in London, so you don’t know your expected arrival time, contribute to angst at the driver anchoring up as there is not the consolation of knowing you will be arriving at the time you expected anyway from the timetable?


    1. One of my most tedious bus rides recently was on Arriva Midlands 84 from Cosby to Leicester. The 1002 journey on a Saturday gets given 48 minutes to do the route. We left on time, yet already had to wait 2 mins at the first timing point in Littlethorpe, then 5 mins in Blaby and 6 mins in Aylestone, yet were still 8 mins early into Leicester with no rushing. So in practice the route needed 27 instead of 48 mins for the journey. Hanging about like this not only costs extra buses, but will drive people away. No doubt later in the day it would take longer to get into Leicester, but I cannot see the quieter suburban roads around Blaby ever needing the amount of time given.


  3. In the provinces most bus drivers appear pleased to see you and welcome you on board, also allowing you on out of the rain as soon as they arrive at the bus terminus etc, while in London it’s a completely different attitude.

    Passengers are made to feel an inconvenience in the driver’s quest for an easy day – they mostly make a point of avoiding any eye contact with you or your ticket as you board, are happy to let you get soaked when they know you are waiting to get on, whilst gaming the ibus system and work avoidance seems to be what provokes more interest than actually providing any kind of decent service to passengers. There’s also rarely any urgency to the journey style – how is constantly stopping and opening rear doors when nobody wants to alight and dawdling everywhere going to encourage anyone who is trying to get to somewhere to use the bus more?


  4. In the provinces most bus drivers appear pleased to see you and welcome you on board, also allowing you on out of the rain as soon as they arrive at the bus terminus etc, while in London it’s a completely different attitude.

    Passengers are made to feel an inconvenience in the driver’s quest for an easy day – they mostly make a point of avoiding any eye contact with you or your ticket as you board, are happy to let you get soaked when they know you are waiting to get on, whilst gaming the ibus system and work avoidance seems to be what provokes more interest than actually providing any kind of decent service to passengers. There’s also rarely any urgency to the journey style – how is constantly stopping and opening rear doors when nobody wants to alight and dawdling everywhere going to encourage anyone who is trying to get to somewhere to use the bus more?


  5. I’m sure that TfL must have appreciated your advice – I hope they read this blog regularly!

    I do hope that, within TfL, the bus and underground people talk to one another: it is supposed to be an integrated system! As you mention, leaving the tube/Overground, with its good way-finding signs and – almost everywhere – very good frequencies, it can be a shock how user-unfriendly the bus system is in places. Are there people within the bus side who would like to upgrade to tube standards but are being thwarted by tradition/jobsworth attitudes etc.?

    Anyway – very many thanks for taking the chance to spread some enlightenment, and for letting us know about it!


  6. I quite agree about the necessity to produce some publicity ESPECIALLY maps. The map is the main shop window as it displays the full range of services on offer.

    The passenger experience also needs considerable improvement with proper sears in shelters, not the sloping perches. On the bus, the layout needs improving. The wheelchair/ buggy space should be on the offside so nearside seated passengers are able to see forwards and not the over high padded head support to the wheelchair user. On the screen between the front seats and the entry door does not need the black ‘swipe’ on it blocking forward view. On the seats behind the exit door, reposition the screen 6 inches higher so passengers’ feet are not jammed in between the screen and the seat frame. Adopt the Nottingham tram system of disabling the bell after it has been rung until the doors have been opened and closed. I’m sure we have all been on s bus when someone has rung the bell for the next stop the someone else rings it; I want to get too “ding”, so do I “ding” and on and on. Drivers also need to look out for passengers when another bus is on the stop. This morning I was alighting from a bus when one on another route swept past at speed leaving behind an intending passenger. This even happens on low frequency routes.


    1. Thats what they claim to do now for high frequency routes. They try to regulate them to maintain the crorect interval between buses so why they give them so much stand time etc it makes no sense. It just wastes time and money and annoys passengers


  7. While Sir John Major wasn’t known for having much sense very strange that he privatized the then London Transport buses but then kept them regulated so almost as if LT and later TFL still owns them.If you are going to run them in such a way you might as well own them too and not have the profits drained off to the pockets shareholders.Mind what more would you expect from a man who’d also dole out the railways to Sir Richard Branson.Or a man who’d split Trainload Freight into 3 companies;Load Haul,Trans Rail and Mainline and then proceed after all the expense of that in giving them away to the same new owners thus reunification occuring.


    1. Tendering the routes introduces competion and helo keeps costs down

      It is a common myth that shareholders add to cost but that not really true

      For TfL to run its services it needs revenues and finance. THe revenues mainly come from fares and the finance from shareholders and borrowing

      If TfL were nationalized it would be the taxpayers picking up the tab so council tax in London would need to be increasedB


      1. Funny then how they managed to do it before Lady Thatcher and Sir John Major!Most buses where either owned by corporations as local council where then called, PTE’s,LT or the NBC.


    2. It wasn’t John Major’s plan to keep the services regulated, since the Conservatives still campaigned for deregulation of London’s buses in the 1992 General Election. Of course, this was put into the back burner, then New Labour gained power and deregulation was off the cards for good.


  8. Here here! about maps. Foreigners are helpless. Hotels should stock the former Central London Visitors Bus Map- I forget its name now, no longer published, so that tourists can get around without resort to the Underground/Tube all the time.. A German friend had no idea there was a bus map until I told him – it was in 2016.
    As for bus interchange I was shocked on arriving at Brent Cross on the Northern Line to see no signs to the 142 bus stand, ie to the main bus station.


    1. Generally at bus stations you are just left to wander around to try to find where your bus departs from. Where councils have done away with bus stations it is even worse you are left wander around the streets in a strange town trying to find you bus stop. It is made even harder in many areas as they dont put the route numbers on the stops nor what direction they are going on


  9. Route branding of buses sounds like a good marketing ploy – EXCEPT that, for all kinds of operational resons, buses don’t keep to the designated routes. As a passenger I’ve learned to ignore the many strange colours of branded buses, advertising buses, retro buses in legacy livery, blah. blah, blah.. They all just serve to confuse. Red is fine, just make sure every bus clearly and accurately shows where it’s going. TfL traditional blinds do the job well. Digital dsplays too often show irrelevant things like Thanks to the Heroes of the NHS just as the bus approaches the stop. Central Connect is one of many offenders of this unhelpful frivolity.


    1. Yes I agree Route Branding is more a problem than a solution. Trying to keep the right buses on the right route will add to costs and you can bet some will end up on the wronmg route

      Digital display are oftern difficult to read in bright light and as the display age that gets worse

      If TfL goes down the express route approach then having some limited identification for them might be usefull. I think in the distant past LT used to use Blue displays and blue plated for the route number on ther stops

      The idea that it improves passenger numbers I think is flawed as usually router branding goes with improved service and publicity. After a year or so when they find the passengers have drifted away they lose interest in the branding

      If route braning really oked I would have though National Express would use it but they do not


    2. Had bus stops and shelters been rebranded rather than the buses, this would’ve make marketing more consistent. It would also be more attractive to a passerby. The more enticing the marketing messages, the better. Large, bold writing selling the potential customer where the buses go from that particular bus stop, the benefits of taking the bus (wifi, USB, comfy seats), ticket prices compared to car costs (especially longer-term ones). That way, passengers wouldn’t have to be disappointed about a wrongly-branded bus on their route.


  10. TfL contracts require and incentivise operators to run at the service frequency . . . they are measured by an “Excess Waiting Time” in the contract. Briefly . . . a route expected to run every 10 minutes might have an EWT of 1.0, in which case, buses should run every 9-11 minutes ON AVERAGE each day. If the average EWT exceeds 1.0 minutes, then a penalty is levied. If the average EWT is less than 1.0, then a bonus is received.

    Traffic congestion has become more unpredictable in recent years, and the increase in 20MPH zones on free-flowing roads doesn’t help . . . drivers used to be able to speed up a bit to recover lost time, but that can’t happen now.
    (BTW . . . drivers don’t necessarily ignore passengers . . . the camera for the rear doors is above their eyeline, so they’re actually checking the camera to know when the centre doors can be closed).

    As contracts have become more onerous (think nearly impossible) to meet, operators have increased running times to make it easier to recover from delays; but if the route is clear of traffic, then buses have to be “held” to meet the schedule (and the EWT).
    If ALL buses ran at the same speed, then the whole service could easily be running 10 minutes early . . . eventually a long gap would appear behind a bus, and the EWT would be failed. Likewise, the stand capacities would be overwhelmed, with buses abandoned around the stand area whilst drivers wait for their next trip.
    (To see this, go to Eastbourne Terrace at Paddington, and look at the 205’s littering the street on a good day on the Euston Road).

    My solutions?? None worth considering until (1) TfL actually listen to operators and (2) TfL actually employ planners who aren’t afraid of riding the buses and seeing for themselves. Back in the day, a scheduler starting on a new schedule for a route was given 1 or 2 days to go out and ride the route and speak to crews to get a feel for what actually happened.

    A blank sheet of paper would be good . . . but it’ll never happen.
    All you lot in the provinces . . . be afraid; be very afraid.


    1. With the technlogy available now you should be able to have a model of every route and know where every bus was at an point in time so you should bre able to generate a computer model to generate an optimized timetable


  11. Due to the sheer volume of buses, this would not be possible to do this in many locations in London. However outside London bus routes often have pauses built into the timetable at main locations such as town centres, these allow a modicum of service recovery if buses have become late (or early!) and also gives time for loading passengers and driver changeovers. Perhaps TfL could identify some locations where this might be practical and maybe instigate a trial on one or two routes?


  12. Bob’s idea is probably possible, but how will it cope with (say) a Tube strike day, when passenger numbers hugely increase?? Or what about Easter Sunday, when the shops are almost all closed, and traffic decreases markedly??

    Such an idea can only be reactive anyway . . . to an average of the last week / month / quarter?? Funnily enough, a by-product of iBus is performance data stretching back over many many years . . . and funnily enough, all the companies in London have access to this data (for their own routes and others), and use it!!

    You simply cannot react every week to traffic congestion . . . a company like Metroline has around 75 day routes; each route (on average) takes 8-10 days to compile a full set of schedules and rosters properly . . . if there are major changes to the duty schedule, then the drivers need a minimum of 3 weeks prior notice, so already you are 5 weeks in arrears.

    Running times have always been an average of good days and bad days; of light / no traffic congestion and heavy / stodgy congestion. On easy days, drivers know to slow down; on hard days drivers know where to snatch a minute back.

    I quite like julianintql’s idea . . . select a couple of timing points (ideally where the passenger load will likely “turnover” anyway) . . . and time the rest of the route at a reasonable average speed. When Route 140 went through to Heathrow, I quietly added in a couple of minutes extra time on the approaches to Harrow Bus Station and Hayes Station.
    It did work for a while, until TfL truncated the route to Hayes every day, and the concept drifted away. On a 10-12BPH route, it might cost +1PVR (but reducing the stand time by a few minutes might compensate) . . . but it’s still worth a couple of trials . . . come on then TfL . . . over to you!!


    1. Clearly it cannot cope with tube or bus strikes or road works. It should cope with Bank holidays as there will be data for that. It should though allow for improved timetables that are more robust.

      It will not be liked by many local council who like the idea of clock face timetables that take no account of the time of day

      Route controllers should as well use the real time bus information. Maybe they do. To control a route well you need to know where all the buses are or you can and up making the situation worse, The real time data could probably be modified to display to controllers how far adrift from timetable time the buses are

      Possible the roadworks data needs to be feed into the route controllers as well

      Good up to dater data is the key to providing reliable and efficient bus services. A bus is never going to achieve a constant speed over an entire route
      The link below is for the Herts roadworks


  13. With TfL looking at introducing Express routes should they lool at bring back Greenline services. There are a number of problems now though the Greenline grand is owned by Arriva. London Country no longer exists and cross border service are now a nightmare

    The main thing that killed off Greenline was trafficc congestion and in a few cases rail

    Greenline provided a number of userfiull links thst were not easy to achieve by rail.

    In the later days of Greenline the cross London service were split so they only ean into central Lodon

    Probably with new express service you would not want to go so far out of London

    What express route can you think would work ? Possibly East West links would work best as rail does not really go that way


  14. Many comments well aired here before, and yes, the ridiculous holding of buses one stop before their destination is pure London, and would be laughed at in the rest of the UK. And yes MAPS! Timetables are, admittedly, largely unnecessary in London, but the network is stable enough to sustain a printed map, freely available in as many outlets as possible. But little chance of that while money is being wasted on designing “funny” fronts of vehicles to ensure those who choose to walk in front of a bus somehow don’t get injured! Good luck with that one! Just this very morning I witnessed a woman, with child in tow, walk straight in front of an on-coming bus, then, finding herself still alive, proceeded to walk in front of the bus I was travelling on. No amount of “safety designed funny fronts” would have saved her had the Drivers not been travelling at a very slow speed.

    And Branding is not the answer in London. It does not have a City Centre, with radial routes as in other towns and cities in the UK, but a mis-match of routes travelling every which way. Even in inflexible TfL-land, many vehicles move routes during the day, particularly at garages operating school services, and a number blind is quite sufficient. With crowded garages, ensuring the “right” vehicles go out merely adds to the Engineers nightmare at parking each night after re-fuelling.


  15. Wales sets out plan for nationwide bus franchising

    Wales is proposing to roll out centralised, national bus franchising and co-ordinate its councils to create a new bus network integrated with other public transport. In wide-ranging proposals, loosely summarised as ‘One Network, One Timetable, One Ticket’,the Welsh Government wants to simply the fare structure and make tickets transferable between operators

    area-wide networks with all significant local destinations reachable
    one ticket system
    easy to understand network
    one brand
    easy and reliable transfer
    reliable travel times
    accessible and comfortable
    public feedback and customer care
    passenger safety, security and health
    network efficiency and financial affordability


  16. “funny fronts” (the only way to describe them) are some sort of TfL inspired projection of the bodywork at the front of the vehicle, which supposedly protects people should they be hit by a bus. Their adoption was proposed several years ago, but like many things, the pandemic appeared and such suggestions went into sleep-mode. Some Boffin had worked out that the impact of a sloping front, which look hideous, reduces risk of death. Whilst safety is of course important, you cannot stop people doing stupid things as outlined in my email yesterday, As far as I am aware, this in a London only happening.


  17. Funny fronts – part of the TFL bus safety standard. The front of the bus will be raked, theory being that in the event of a passenger collision the passenger will ‘bounce’ away rather than go under. From memory there were a whole host of other initiatives as part of the standard to be introduced in phases, as Terence states above I’m not sure where it all is post-covid.


    1. Just watch the number of routes which will have to be abandoned with these contraptions where there are speed humps to negotiate.


  18. Bus Back Funding Annoucement

    Trying to find the full list do far only bits from Local papers

    Norfolk has got £47M, Suffolks bid has been rejected


    1. Both Shropshire and Telford & Wrekin councils have been unsuccessful in bids for ‘Bus Back Better’ funding from the government, worth £98m and £41m respectively


    2. The 31 successful candidates are:

      Blackburn with Darwen and Lancashire: £34.2m
      Bournemouth, Christchurch and Poole: £8.9m
      Brighton and Hove: £27.9m
      Central Bedfordshire: £3.7m
      City of York: £17.4m
      Cornwall (including Isles of Scilly): £13.3m
      Derby City: £7m
      Derbyshire: £47m
      Devon: £14.1m
      East Sussex: £41.4m
      Greater Manchester: £94.8m
      Hertfordshire: £29.7m
      Kent: £35.1m
      Liverpool City Region: £12.3m
      Luton: £19.1m
      Norfolk: £49.6m
      North East and North of Tyne: £163.5m
      North East Lincolnshire: £4.7m
      Nottingham City: £11.4m
      Nottinghamshire: £18.7m
      Oxfordshire: £12.7m
      Portsmouth: £48.3m
      Reading: £26.3m
      Somerset: £11.9m
      Stoke-on-Trent: £31.7m
      Warrington: £16.2m
      West Berkshire: £2.6m
      West Midlands: £87.9m
      West of England and North Somerset: £105.5m
      West Sussex: £17.4m
      West Yorkshire: £70m


      1. What is pretty certain is that unless some funding i given to the LTA’s that have missed out they will face significant cuts to services probably in the region of 20%. Well unless passenger numbers increase significantly which seems unlikely. That will leave some of the LTA’s with very little left of there bus services

        They are reasonably save until October when the final round of Covid funding runs out


  19. I was waiting for a bus outside the Transdev depot in posh Harrogate this morning, guess what I saw, yep not a shiny happy bus shelter complete with nice timetable case, but a smashed up battered one complete with a battered timetable case! So that’s how you attract passengers to public transport. Mind you Starbeck, where the depot is located is a bit of a run down dump to be honest.


  20. I have a few thoughts from having the pleasure of using the public transport system in Geneva (Switzerland) for a few months in the last few years:

    – Bus journey times were fast and consistent thanks to bus lanes everywhere, ticket machines at every stop (you must buy before boarding), bendy buses with plenty of doors for fast access and egress. Ticket inspection is done by roving teams issuing steep fines.
    – The brand is very consistent – all buses and trams have the same paint scheme, routes are branded by a colour associated with their route number. The colour is shown on bus and tram destination displays and is the same as the colour on the excellent and comprehensive map of the bus/tram/rail/lake taxi system.
    – Tickets are time based: 1 hour, 3 hours, all day etc. They can be used equally on all modes mentioned above making for seamless and easy journeys. The trams and buses are really treated as equals, in the UK I think they are seen as very seperate.

    I’m not sure how these can be translated to the UK, I’m sure the maintenence cost of all those ticket machine is high. I also spent time in northern Italy and similar points apply.

    I would contest the idea that cycle paths are a big problem, there are actually very few roads in London with high quality cycle infrastructure (not enough if you ask me). I think the main problem for buses is there being too many cars!


  21. One in four bus services axed in England over the last decade

    More than a quarter of bus services in England vanished in the past decade with the biggest drop brought during the pandemic, figures from the Department for Transport show.


  22. Bob’s list of successful transport authorities would seem to omit such counties as Surrey, Hampshire, Wiltshire, etc., plus cities like Southampton. These are not rural backwaters, but local authorities that have been quite active with public transport in the past.

    What are we to make of that? No funding at all ?


  23. LTA’s with No Bus Back Better Funding

    It seems inevitable that these areas will see substantial bus cuts unless further funding is found. Many operators have been holding off with cuts waiting to see the outcome but now with no BSIP funding the cuts might start to accelerate

    The big crunch will be in October when the Covid funding runs out. Some operators may already be looking at how to reconfigure their network to cut costs

    In most of these area passenger numbers are still well down. Probably looking at about 20% cuts which will leave many areas with almost no buses


  24. Crossrail

    Should Crossrail be taken away from TfL. It is not an underground line but a regional line which runs well beyond London

    Another mystery is why did Tfl add to the complexity of the line by introducing its own signally system for parts of the line meaning it has to cope with 3 different signally and train protection system when it only needed two. One for the Eastern Region line and one for the GWR line. It also probably complicate the line maintenance with Network rail responsible for some sections and TfL for the central section. Probably adds to costs as well


  25. The Mystery of the Luton Dart

    The Luton dart is a very simply railway line between Luton Rail Station and Luton Airport. It is no more complex than the Waterloo and City line in London/ Test trains on the line started last October and should have only taken a few weeks

    Whilst no exact date was given it was indicated it would open in March. Since then though total silence


  26. Zero-emission buses have for the first time, been included in BSOG.

    Operators of vehicles that hold a zero emission bus (ZEB) certificate may be eligible for a 22p per kilometre rate of BSOG for those vehicles. Eligible buses must meet the normal BSOG rules, demonstrate zero tailpipe emissions and have no internal combustion engine. This will need to be verified by certification. Vehicles for which operators receive the ZEB incentive are not eligible for any other incentives.

    The change has been made as part of an update to BSOG.

    Other incentives are in place, including an 8% increase in the BSOG rate for vehicles that have operational smartcard systems installed and a further 2% increase for vehicles that are fitted with automatic vehicle location (AVL) equipment. Additionally, operators of vehicles that hold a low carbon emission certificate may be eligible for an additional 6p per kilometre for those vehicles. A low carbon emission vehicle must have 22 or more seats and be able to achieve a 30% reduction in its greenhouse gas emissions compared to an average Euro III diesel bus of the same passenger capacity.

    As part of the same overhaul of BSOG, the DfT informs it no longer pays the grant for:
    services operated under franchise to TfL
    community transport (s19) services operated in-house by English local authorities
    various specialist services
    services supported under tender by English local authorities, except incentives for smartcard, automatic vehicle location and/or low carbon emission vehicles
    commercial services operated within the Transport for Greater Manchester boundary


  27. Should England Emulate Wales and move to an England wide Franchise model?

    There are a lot of adbantages to a franshise model but England being a lot larger an England wide franchise would prodably be to large may be Franchise by the 9 English regions. Ity woyld make achieving the aims of Bus Back Better a lot easier


  28. Once again another insightful blog with lots of food for thought.

    I hope you don’t mind me picking up on a couple of errors: The office building at the top of the blog is Palestra; there is no ‘house’ in its name. In ancient Greece and Rome, Palestra was a wrestling school or gymnasium and the name may well refer to the boxing ring that once stood on or near the site.

    The other point is the link in the first paragraph which I believe should refer to the Ten Percent Club. You seem to be missing a cent!


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