FUTURE FOR TRAVEL: WILL THE TRANSPORT PROPOSALS WORK OUT?
Tuesday 14 December 1999
AS PART of Mr Prescott's new "car-friendly" image, he has asked the Highways Agency to look at more "pinch-points" deserving of investment. Some 19 bypasses are under construction. Money to be made available from fuel tax, from "congestion charging" in cities and public-private partnerships. Clear U-turn by the Government, revealed earlier this month when the Transport Bill was published.
No target for cutting road usage
MR PRESCOTT accepted that targets for cutting road usage should be abandoned after advice from the government-appointed Integrated Transport Commission. He now believes that a growing economy makes such targets impossible.
Newer, safer stations
THIS EXTENDS the secure stations initiative operated by Railtrack and the British Transport Police. It provides CCTV at designated stations and a secure, well-maintained environment. Save Our Railways argues the Strategic Rail Authority should insist that all stations meet the standard.
All new or refurbished trains by 2010
MUCH OF the rolling stock is due for renewal anyway. And what does "refurbished" mean - a lick of paint?
VIRGIN IS introducing tilting trains on its west-coast route in June 2002 when they will be permitted a maximum speed of 125mph. With improved signalling, the trains will reach 140mph in 2005. Silverlink is planning to buy similar trains to win access to the fast track between London and Birmingham. The new rolling stock will enable higher speeds without digging up the track and starting again. Mr Prescott gave no idea of where or when it might be introduced.
Renewal of all main rail lines
THIS WILL take billions of pounds of investment if it means that the busiest long- distance routes are to be placed on a par with the west- coast mainline under reconstruction.
UNDER THE chairmanship of the Confederation of Passenger Transport, an industry steering group is already planning an inquiry bureau to start next year. The telephone service will aim to provide details on how to travel around the country using all forms of public transport and is expected to cost between pounds 12m and pounds 13m to establish.
FORESHADOWED IN the 1998 transport White Paper, the arrival of a ticket that will take you all over Britain on any form of transport is some way away. One of the best examples is the London Travelcard that allows flexibility in given areas.
THIS INCLUDES track-based systems and trams in city streets. In the 1998 White Paper, Mr Prescott made clear his view that light-rail systems were too expensive. The new systems are likely be funded through public- private partnerships. Barrie Clement
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