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2004-07-15 DfT-006
Department for Transport

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London commuters have greater say over their rail network


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Department for Transport

London commuters have greater say over their rail network
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2004-07-15 A new structure to deliver a better railway (Department for Transport)

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date
15 Jul 2004 00:00
source Department for Transport
type Press release



Transport Secretary Alistair Darling today announced a new role for the Mayor of London over London's commuter network as part of the conclusions of the Government's rail review.

He described the measures as the start of a process to help "integrate and simplify what can often be a complex system for even the most hardened London commuter." The new measures include:

* Setting out how we intend to give the Mayor the ability to buy additional services or propose savings. TfL would have to fund any additional costs but could recycle any savings.

* Setting up a taskforce to work on proposals to rationalise fare structures (including travelcard) and ticketing technology across different modes of transport.

* Looking immediately at how TfL can have a much greater role over discrete services that operate within London.

* Looking in the longer term at whether TfL should have the ability to specify services in an area slightly beyond London - and possibly take the revenue risk. Any decision on this would be subject to full consultation with regional stakeholders.

Alistair Darling said:

"To be really effective, decisions about railways must be taken alongside decisions on other forms of transport - and other issues such as housing. This is why we want to devolve decision making.

"In the short term, we will work with the Mayor to rationalise fares and ticketing across the different types of public transport in London and to identify the options for giving the Mayor an increased role for services that lie almost entirely within the GLA boundary, and possibly beyond the GLA boundary, subject to consultation with neighbouring regional and local bodies.

"London's public transport system is one of the most extensive and complex networks in the world. Greater integration between the rail, bus and underground networks could bring enormous benefits to the millions of passengers that use them everyday. Passengers deserve simpler ticketing, standardised fares, cleaner information and better stations."

The White Paper - the future of Railways' sets out the conclusions of the Rail Review announced in January by the Secretary of State for Transport Alistair Darling.

Notes for Editors

1. The White Paper 'The Future of the Railways' is available on the Department's website http://www.dft.gov.uk/railways/whitepaper/

2. The new structure is based on 6 key changes these are outlined in the White Paper summary, but in short are:

* The Government will take charge of setting the strategy for the railways: It will have clear agreements with each part of the industry, set levels of public expenditure and take decisions on what it should buy. The SRA will be closed and it's strategic functions and financial obligations moved to the Department for Transport. The Office of Rail Regulation will ensure the Government pays the correct price for what it wants.

* Network Rail will be given clear responsibility for operating the network and for it's performance: It will ensure passengers get a more reliable service and will lead industry planning, set timetables and take charge when incidents on the network threaten delay. It is announcing changes to its Governance structure today to help it take on the new role.

* Track and train companies will work more closely together: In time the number of franchises will be reduced and aligned more closely with Network Rail's regional structure. There will be greater clarity of roles and incentives will be aligned.

* There will be an increased role for the Scottish Executive, the Welsh Assembly Government and the Government and the London Mayor, and more local decision-making in England: The Mayor will be able to buy additional services and propose services on the same basis as regional passenger transport executives currently do. They, in turn, will be given increased responsibilities for passenger services and where appropriate, infrastructure.

* The Office of Rail Regulation will cover safety, performance and cost: The regulatory system will be streamlined to reduce bureaucracy and courage culture change. Safety regulation will transfer from HSE to ORR, but will remain completely independent of Government and the industry.

* A better deal for freight will enable the industry and its customers to invest for the long term: Freight operators will be given greater certainty about their rights on the national network, and a group of key routes will be identified on which freight will enjoy and pay for more assured rights of access.

3. A number of these changes will require primary legislation, notably the closure of the SRA, the transfer of safety regulation from HSE, and proposals relating to devolved decision-making.

4. Alistair Darling announced the Rail Review on the 19 January 2004

Public Enquiries: 020 7944 8300
Department for Transport Website: http://www.dft.gov.uk



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