Towards more integrated and more reliable rail services in London ?

  • Updated9 June 2004
  • News

Heavy rail carries 42% of morning peak passengers
into central London; it is a backbone of the
public transport systems of the British capital city.

Surveys show that Londoners make seven times
more rail journeys than people in other UK cities,
and that one third of all rail journeys in the country
are made wholly within London.

And rail travel
is growing more rapidly than other modes.
The Mayor of London thinks that the current rail
network is failing to meet the needs of the population
(which is expected to increase by 800,000 by
2016), due to insufficient financial support and
strategic direction.

London suburban rail services are indeed organised
on a national basis by the Strategic Rail Authority,
that grants licences to operating companies
selected through tendering procedures.

Mayor of London has very little influence on the
way suburban rail services are planned and delivered,
or how rail fares are set. As a consequence,
these services are not integrated with the other
urban transport systems.

Therefore, the Mayor of London is proposing to the
British government to set up a London Regional
Rail Authority under the authority of the Mayor so
as to oversee the integrated planning of the London
suburban rail network alongside the Tube (underground),
bus and road system.

The executive
body of the new Authority would be Transport for
London (TfL), the transport agency of the Mayor of
London. It would cover the London Regional Inner
Suburban area, which contains the natural starting
points of inner suburban train services.

operators’ contracts with the Strategic Rail Authority
would be changed to allow TfL to set fares and
collect ticket revenues.

The Mayor recommends an
early start by setting up the new Regional Rail Authority
on a “shadow” basis.