|MINUTES - PART A|
WELCOME, INTRODUCTIONS, APOLOGIES FOR ABSENCE AND DISCLOSURES OF PECUNIARY INTERESTS
Apologies were given by Sam Russell (LOROL), Yvonne Leslie (Southern), Bob Pennyfather (Arriva) and Ian Plowright (Croydon Council).
Councillors confirmed that their disclosures of pecuniary interest were up to date. Cllr Stephen Mann declared a non-pecuniary interest: his father is a TfL employee.
MINUTES OF THE MEETING HELD ON 6 OCTOBER 2015
The notes were signed as an accurate record.
The following observations were made:
- The December 2015 timetable has continued to present problems and the East Surrey Transport Committee is continuing to campaign for improvements.
- Complaints remain regarding the lack of temporary stops during road works - it was also observed that a stop had not been reinstated for a whole week after the end of road works.
PRESENTATION ON MEETING THE NEEDS OF AUTISTIC PUBLIC TRANSPORT USERS
A presentation was given by Cllr Andrew Rendle, the council's Deputy Cabinet Member for Families, Health and Social Care and autism champion, with contributions from Maria Esteban (Croydon Care Solutions - Autism Service).
Cllr Rendle highlighted the following key challenges for autistic passengers:
- sensory issues
- love of routine and fear of the new or unusual, such as unforeseen delays or the failure of their Oyster card to produce a "beep"
- autistic people's very literal understanding of what people say, which can lead to misunderstandings and unforeseen conflict
- autistic people's way of expressing themselves, which may seem abrupt or rude as they have difficulty understanding and using socially appropriate ways of speaking
- lack of awareness of danger
Cllr Rendle highlighted some of the work being done to improve support for autistic people in Croydon. He highlighted the e-training available on autism and informed the Panel that Croydon's autism society has a website and a Facebook page onto which transport providers can upload information to help autistic passengers to manage their journeys more smoothly.
Cllr Rendle ended his presentation by expressing the hope that public transport providers would follow up on the presentation and discussion with steps to make journeys easier for autistic public transport users.
The representative of Tram Operations stated that all the company's new drivers now received training on disability issues.
The Council's Access Officer observed that Croydon's Mobility Forum did not have a representation from the autistic community and would welcome a discussion to take the necessary steps after the meeting.
The Chair of the Panel stressed that public transport providers needed to mainstream thinking about autism across all their systems to minimise potential hurdles for autistic passengers.
UPDATE ON THE PERFORMANCE OF SOUTHERN RAIL (INCLUDING THE PURLEY BLOCKADE AND BUS REPLACEMENT SERVICES)
In the absence of Yvonne Leslie, Nkululeko Phiri (GTR) was in attendance to answer Panel Members' questions.
Panel members gave feedback regarding the Purley blockade, which they felt had gone reasonably well. There had been a few problems with the replacement buses, e.g. the impact of road blocks on traffic flows. For instance, some buses took over two hours to travel from East Croydon to Redhill due to gas works along the main road. However, it was pointed out that while replacement buses had been very full, services such as the Number 60 bus had been half empty and could have been highlighted as an alternative travel option.
Panel members agreed that performance had deteriorated further after its October meeting. They highlighted a number of disruptive incidents which impacted further on service reliability:
- A broken down train on 17 December
- A fatality on 24 December
- multiple cancellations of Caterham services
- crew shortages
- signal and power supply failures including a major signal failure at Purley on 15 December, with disruptions to over 1,000 services.
It was also noted that performance had been 5% below target and that Southern trains were travelling at very slow speeds, thus lengthening crowded journeys. A Panel member highlighted the fact that assurances had been given time and time again that improvements were on the way, without any changes to service quality.
Panel members commented that six out of thirteen stations had had worse services since the introduction of the new timetable, about which many passengers had made scathing remarks. It was suggested that Southern should make every effort to use longer trains to compensate for its reduced services.
As regards staffing shortages, Panel members remarked that the effect of the current recruitment drive would not be felt for about two years as it took 18 months for a driver to be trained. Indeed, questions were asked about the lack of staff recruitment prior to the refurbishment of London Bridge station, which was bound to have an impact on services.
The GTR representative highlighted the loss of experienced staff which followed the transfer of the control centre to Three Bridges. He also
pointed to the logistical problems arising from bringing together four different transport brands. Panel members also heard that Network Rail had started implementing its new Service Recovery Framework on 11 January to improve performance and that a conference call took place every morning to ensure that internal processes were working well.
Panel members concluded that Network Rail and the Department for Transport needed to be invited to the next meeting of the Panel to give account of themselves.
SOUTHERN RAIL BOOKING OFFICE CLOSURES
Panel members were advised that booking offices would not close but that staff duties were to change. Officers explained that there would be some ticket sales at booking offices during morning peak hours, and that the introduction of the Oyster card and contactless payment had changed customer payment trends significantly, leading to a much reduced need for sales from a booking office. The station host's role would become a dual one, helping passengers to buy tickets and providing visibility at the station.
GTR was also leading the way with the introduction of the "Key" smart ticket, to be introduced on the coast and routes to London in the first instance. A Q&A page on the "Key" smart ticket can be found on the GTR website.
Panel members were advised that stations on the network had been categorised by the number of tickets sold at ticket offices:
1- 12 tickets per day or less
2- 20 tickets per day or less
3- More than 20 tickets a day
Coulsdon South, Norbury, Purley, Sanderstead, Selhurst , South Croydon and Thornton were all in categories 1 or 2.
Panel members observed that similar developments were taking place in underground ticket sales and pointed out that there were some concessionary tickets that could only be bought at ticket officers. Likewise, voucher replacement tickets could not be used to buy a ticket through a machine. Moreover, ticket machines could not provide the information that could be obtained from a person at a ticket office, and were not always in working order. Concerns were also expressed about railway staff ability to address multiple passenger queries at a busy time.
Officers gave assurances that work was under way to develop multi-modal tickets which had formerly only been available at ticket offices. However, Panel members stressed that machines needed to become far more user-friendly to enable all types of users to buy tickets from them. In addition, they emphasised the need to ensure that staff had the time to continue to provide effective help to the vulnerable travelling on public transport.
PROPOSED INTEGRATED RAIL NETWORK PARTNERSHIP BETWEEN DFT AND TFL IN LONDON AND THE SOUTH EAST
Panel members were advised that the partnership would relate predominantly to services in South London and the south-east of England. Services needed to evolve to cater for the needs of a fast growing population in this part of the country. It was also observed that the north of London had a lot more tube lines than the south and more "turn up and go" transport service.
Panel members stressed the need for the new partnership to work with disabled organisations to ensure that all the stations covered within the partnership became DDA compliant, to mitigate the changes to staff duties outlined in agenda item 5.
Council officers noted that proposals stated that there would be no changes to the level of service in the area, and remarked that passengers did wish for changes, namely, improvements to local services. TfL officers stated that the detail of this partnership had not yet been worked through, and would be developed over the next two years. They added that it was hoped the partnership would bring about benefits in terms of accessibility and customer service.
RELIABILITY OF TRAMS AND CAPACITY (PARTICULARLY IN THE EAST)
Panel members reported regular overcrowding in trams in the east of the borough and frequent delays due to traffic lights on Bingham Road. They stated that lights were often red on Bingham Road for no apparent reason and that many cars jumped the lights. They added that performance on the Beckenham Junction and Elmers End lines was very poor. They were advised that four new trams had been commissioned and would be in service after the Easter weekend. Officers stated that performance had been slightly below target for the two previous months but was on course to improve. The TfL representative undertook to investigate the problems with the lights at Bingham Road.
UPDATE ON NIGHT-TIME TUBE SERVICES
Panel members were informed that no start date had been agreed as yet, and that issues with trade unions had not yet been resolved.
PRESENTATION ON BUS SERVICES IN SOUTH NORWOOD
The representative of the East Surrey Transport Committee outlined the problems for the area and possible solutions. Key challenges include:
- the number of times the low bridge is hit by double-decker buses, leading to lengthy disruptions.
- The CCG plan to close minor injury units and provide these services at Croydon University Hospital
- South Norwood is a very large local centre without a night-time bus
He observed that the rebuilding of Tennison Road Bridge offered an opportunity to route bus services along it to improve connectivity in the area.
It was pointed out that the 410 route needed a significant increase in frequency in view of the small size of the buses and that road humps on bus routes should be changed to cushions to facilitate smooth bus journeys.
The TfL representative stated that the proposals set out in the paper produced by the East Surrey Transport Committee could be included in a review meeting if endorsed by officers and councillors.
UPDATE ON CHANGES TO BUS SERVICES IN NEW ADDINGTON
Panel members were advised that the changes were bedding down well in New Addington and that a couple of extra bus stops were yet to be put in on King Henry's Drive. Issues relating to buses on Purley Downs Road had been resolved but it was observed that the relocation of one bus stop at the top of Purley Downs Road would require some civil engineering work, and that bus issues on Vulcan Way still needed to be settled.
UPDATE ON THE REBUILDING OF WEST CROYDON BUS STATION
Panel members were informed that the ground work on the site had been completed, after significant problems with ground stabilisation had been ironed out. Building work had started and was due to come to an end in summer 2016.
UPDATE ON THE REPLACEMENT OF OLD LODGE LANE, SPURGEON'S AND WINDMILL ROAD BRIDGES
Panel members enquired when Network Rail would carry out these works and how long they would last. It was noted that Spurgeon's and Windmill Road bridges had a weight limit, and that the council had asked Network Rail to share their plans with them.
ANY OTHER BUSINESS
- After a brief discussion, it was agreed that meetings of the Public Transport Liaison Panel should continue to start at 9.30am.
- Panel members enquired about proposed changes to the X26 and 154 routes following the closure of the flyover. The TfL representative undertook to make further enquiries.
- Panel members discussed the impact of the closure of Dingwall Road on bus services. They observed that the X26 had been badly affected by the closure, and that this matter had been raised with TfL . It was remarked that it was no longer clear where the X26 stop was following its move from Dingwall Road.
ITEMS FOR NEXT MEETING
The following items were put forward:
- temporary bus stops
- a presentation on rail service performance by Network Rail
- the TfL response to the proposals put forward in agenda item 9 on bus services in South Norwood
DATES OF FUTURE MEETINGS
Tuesday 21 June 2016 at 9.30am in the Council Chamber
Tea and coffee from 9am in room F9
|MINUTES - PART B|