Regulated Urban Transport

A consistent regulated framework for public transport in our cities to deliver integrated transport.

We currently have a significant anomalies in how transport services are delivered.  This is most acute in our cities.  Rail services are delivered through a franchise model by Scotrail, operated by a private company subject to a regulatory framework.  Glasgow Underground is run by SPT wholly in the public sector.  Edinburgh Trams is run by Transport for Edinburgh; publicly owned arms-length company.  Buses are run by numerous different entities and range from wholly privately owned/operated through to publicly subsidised/operated.

In England, London has bucked the trend of historical decline in bus use since deregulation in the mid-1980s largely due to its franchise/regulated structure.  The Netherlands adopted intelligent franchising systems for bus operations (superincentive, net-cost contracting, gross-cost contracting) to allow cities and localities to develop the framework that most readily supports their needs for an integrated system.

We already understand how to operate public transport franchise systems through the Scotrail franchise.

Why the contribution is important

Successful public transport relies on planned and integrated networks.

Network and service certainty is important for the travelling public.

Provides a platform for the introduction of cashless and multi-mode systems similar to the Oystercard (London) or the OV-Chipkaart (Netherlands).

Operators are able to focus on quality, reliability and journey time of services without having to focus on defending against commercial competition on a daily basis.

Getting public transport into new areas/new developments is problematic, leading to car-dependency.  There is a mismatch between achieving sustainable transport aims and having a commercially-led provision of services.

A regulated framework approach gives far greater ability to support development plan outcomes, and to rebalance development-led infrastructure funding to public transport.  At present it is simply easier for all parties to invest in road infrastructure than service provision.

A franchise system (or systems if the Dutch model is considered) brings the best of both worlds.  Absolute regulation stifles innovation and customer focus, absolute free market fails to deliver the platform for modal shift and public transport growth that is needed.

by GraemeD on November 27, 2015 at 10:44AM

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