London Assembly members have set out six short-term priorities for London’s transport authorities to follow so the capital can finally deliver a metro style service that has long been promised to passengers.
The Transport Committee's report, 'Broken Rails: A rail service fit for passengers' outlines a clear set of priorities which, in the short-term, would improve train journeys for Londoners.
Central to the report is the idea of a joined-up approach with assembly members challenging the mayor, Transport for London (TfL) and Network Rail to find new ways of working to ensure they coordinate to deliver and fund a world-class rail network to serve the capital.
Currently TfL runs London Overground and TfL Rail services, with the rest of the network operated by private sector firms chosen by the Department for Transport, while Network Rail manages track and associated infrastructure.
This needs to change according to the transport committee with commuters as a result falling victim to just the “choice of only a few trains an hour,” with services often “crowded and at times unreliable”.
But while changes are made to the organisation and management, the latest report calls for the capital’s rail services to be prioritised as soon as possible. Short-term goals can be achieved it’s claimed while Londoners wait for large scale projects such as Crossrail 2 to bring significant benefits.
Some of the recommendations in the report include:
- A single rail strategy for London, produced by TfL and Network Rail in partnership
- TfL should consider all options to increase funding for London’s rail network, including funding Network Rail schemes and contributing to projects outside London.
- An increase in funding for station access from the Department for Transport
- Better passenger engagement with a station user group for every station.
- A Healthy Stations Charter informed by the Mayor's Healthy Streets Approach
Caroline Pidgeon, chair of the transport committee, believes a single rail strategy for London, produced by TfL and Network Rail in partnership will ensure a sharper, joined-up focus on delivering for the capital’s rail passengers.
Her key demand laid out in the paper is that Network Rail finally delivers a plan containing strategic, targeted upgrades to London’s rail infrastructure.
“The rail network is an essential part of the rhythm and movement in this city,” she said, “For Londoners and visitors to get around our city our rail network has to be world-class. Currently, it is not. Our recommendations set out priorities including investment to allow more frequent and longer trains to run on London’s suburban rail network – a metro style service that we have long been promised; and better accessibility to stations for cyclists, pedestrians and passengers with disabilities."