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1999-03-29 OPR-002
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New figures reveal rise in Edinburgh rail commuters


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OPRAF

New figures reveal rise in Edinburgh rail commuters
_______________________________________________________________


date
29 March 1999
source OPRAF
type Press release



Official figures released today show that passenger numbers on ScotRail's busy Edinburgh - Fife commuter line were up 8% last year, with 370 more daily journeys in the morning and evening peaks compared to 1997. The growth is similar to that experienced by operators carrying commuters into London and may suggest an emerging trend towards rail as the preferred means of travelling to work.

However, last autumn's counts reveal that, in registering a 4.7% level of overcrowding, ScotRail exceeded OPRAF's maximum 3% permitted threshold for the combined morning/evening peaks.

Following discussions with OPRAF in January, plans were swiftly put in place which have already brought current passenger loadings back within the threshold. Talks are also underway to identify realistic measures that will help manage the expected future growth in passenger numbers on this route.

Commenting on the figures, Franchising Director John O'Brien said:

"These results show that Scots commuters, like those in London, are increasingly using the train in significant numbers - a very welcome trend that it is in everyone's interest to see continue.

"I am impressed with the actions ScotRail have already taken to add additional rolling stock to accommodate this growth. This is already making a difference and should help to make the journey to work more pleasant for passengers, who already enjoy some of the most punctual and reliable journeys on the GB network."

Notes To Editors

1. A table detailing the results of the ScotRail count is attached.

2. All operators have to make reasonable endeavours to alleviate overcrowding under their franchise agreement signed with OPRAF. A strict bespoke regime - passengers in excess of capacity [PIXC] - applies to London commuter services and ScotRail's Edinburgh - Fife line at peak times. Passenger capacity on Strathclyde PTE services are monitored under a similar regime administered by the PTE itself.

3. OPRAF's rules stipulate that the numbers of passengers in excess of capacity must not exceed 4.5% of the total number of passengers in either the morning or evening peaks - and no more than 3% over the two peaks combined.

4. Operators must conduct an annual autumn count and OPRAF can order recounts if necessary. Results are compared with the contractual limit and the TOC must agree with OPRAF a timetable/train plan to comply with the limit over the next year, and subsequently throughout the franchise term.

5. Capacity is deemed to be the number of standard class seats on the train for journeys of more than 20 minutes; for journeys of 20 minutes or less an allowance for standing room is also made. The allowance for standing varies with the type of rolling stock, but, for modern sliding door stock, typically is of the order of 35% of the number of seats.

6. Options to control overcrowding include additional or longer trains and altered stopping patterns. Peak demand can also be spread by special ticket offers, for example cheap early morning season tickets. In the longer term, extra capacity can be provided in some cases by lengthening platforms to allow operation of longer trains, and by providing extra track capacity. However such projects take considerable time to develop and implement.

7. A separate news release issued by OPRAF today reports the outcome of counts on the ten London commuter train operating companies who are subject to the same capacity regime as ScotRail on its Forth Bridge services.



Railhub Archive ::: 1999-03-29 OPR-002





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