UTG lays out five support measures needed for transport authorities

The Urban Transport Group (UTG) has updated a COVID-19 Briefing to outline five support measures needed from the government for transport authorities to progress after lockdown restrictions are lifted.

UTG lays out five support measures needed for transport authorities

The Urban Transport Group (UTG), which represents England’s largest transport authorities which between them serve more than 20 million people in London (TfL), West Midlands (TfWM), West Yorkshire (WYCA), South Yorkshire (SYPTE), Tyne and Wear (Nexus), Greater Manchester (TfGM) and the Liverpool City Region (Merseytravel), has updated a COVID-19 briefing to outline what needs to be done for transport authorities to progress as restrictions begin to be lifted.

The Briefing highlighted the following as the primary challenges that transport authorities will face as lockdown restrictions change:

  • Uncertainties over both the timing and the nature of the phasing of the release from lockdown and the extent to which transport authorities will be involved in the government’s decision-making processes
  • How to meet the additional demand for public transport that release from lockdown entails whilst continuing to ensure that staff and passengers are protected, including in relation to social distancing
  • How authorities pay for the running of public transport networks which may be operating at normal, or even enhanced service levels, but with lower patronage (and thus lower income) and higher costs (everything from higher cleaning standards to more staff to regulate access to stations and vehicles).

It stated that, in order to overcome these challenges, authorities need five things from the government:

  • Direct input into the government’s decision-making process on its recovery strategy in order to ensure that it is compatible with what transport authorities can reasonably achieve
  • Clarity on what the strategy is through lockdown and into the recovery phase for PPE in general, and for masks in particular, in relation to both staff and passengers, testing for transport sector staff and the role and extent of social distancing
  • A joint approach to travel demand measures, including coordinated promotion of ongoing home working, management of capacity including through the whole working day (for example, the staggering of working hours, rotations and the phasing of the release of lockdown for different journey purposes and demographics) so that travel demand can be managed in a way which is consistent with protecting the safety of staff and passengers
  • Greater flexibilities for transport authorities outside London to dynamically manage public transport networks as a whole in an agile and integrated manner, in the same way that London already can
  • The outstanding funding needs of TfL and transport authorities outside London during the lockdown phase to be urgently addressed and new and sustainable funding arrangements to be agreed between government and transport authorities to cover the different funding challenges of the recovery phase.