Creating long term value for all stakeholders



Group Q&A continued


An increasing volume of roadworks, public realm and cycle

superhighway improvements in London are causing congestion and

some routes operated on behalf of TfL have slowed considerably.

This has impacted on the number of passengers and our London

bus division’s ability to earn Quality Incentive Contract (QIC)

payments in the past year. The report estimates that for

approximately one third of London’s routes the decline has been

more than five times the 1% UK average in the past year. We have

been working with TfL to address this and towards the end of the

financial year we were pleased to have seen some return of QICs

due to congestion easing on some routes.

Smartcards and m-ticketing (mobile phone app tickets) have a

strong role to play in reducing overall journey times by reducing the

dwell time necessary at bus stops for cash transactions. Research

shows that dwell times can make up to 25 to 30% of total journey

times. With more than 850 thousand smartcards in circulation and

an increasing number of m-tickets being used Go-Ahead has long

led the way to provide customers with easier, more convenient and

flexible ways to pay for and speed up their journeys.

Some parts of Britain’s rail network are

operating at full capacity - what are the

plans to alleviate these limitations?

Every day more than 4.5m journeys are made on UK rail services

with the number of passengers doubling in the last 20 years. On

significant parts of the rail network such as the Southern and

Thameslink routes passenger numbers have risen by 40% and 32%

respectively in the past five years. Additional train services and

longer platforms have been added in a piecemeal fashion to try to

keep up with the growing demand, but due to the lack of

investment in additional infrastructure capacity the punctuality of

services has inevitably declined over the same period. On the

Southeastern network south London services also are constrained

by limited network capacity.

Across the UK the government and rail industry are investing

billions innovating and working to improve reliability, increase

capacity and modernise retailing and information. There are several

major projects coming to completion in the next few years that will

cut delays and congestion.

The recent East Coast £348m Hitchin flyover removing a major

bottleneck for services on the East Coast main line delivers more

than 1.4bn punctual journeys annually compared with up to 600m

in the year 1997/ 98. The government’s Intercity Express

programme on the Great Western line will see new larger trains on

the Great Western line from 2017 and from 2018 on the East

Coast main line.

The Thameslink Programme, underway now, is long overdue, and

the £6.5bn project is transforming one of the busiest stretches of

railway in Europe. New trains will add more than 30,000 seats in

the Thameslink core, between Blackfriars and St Pancras and

passengers departing from Bedford to London will benefit from

2,500 more seats in the morning peak. Journeys will be more

reliable with trains every two to three minutes in each direction

through central London at the busiest times.


From 2018 Thameslink services will also connect with Crossrail

services at Farringdon. Crossrail, Europe’s largest construction

project, will be fully complete by 2020 and will increase central

London rail capacity by 10% as well as reducing journey times.

GTR, which operates the Southern and Thameslink routes, is

strengthening its fleet maintenance and progressing driver

recruitment and training to increase punctuality and meet the huge

driver training requirements arising from the introduction of new

trains. Bringing new trains into service boosting capacity and

improving reliability are all part of a larger modernisation of the

railway that GTR is undertaking. It is organising its people to be

more customer-focused and on-hand when and where passengers

say they need them most. Regrettably this has contributed to union

unrest at the company, impacting on services over the spring and

summer of 2016. It is important to stress the Thameslink

Programme, and the modernisation associated with it, is a

once-in-a-generation scheme addressing the issues of phenomenal

passenger growth and underinvestment in the infrastructure.

How is public transport keeping pace with

technological change and innovation?

The pace of change in the transport sector has increased in recent

times. Innovations and inventions such as automated vehicles that

once seemed a distant possibility are now a tangible reality.

Modernisation is necessary to remain a sustainable and

relevant business.

The transport industry also needs to be ready to respond to

change as well as pre-empt and instigate it. Uber and other ventures

such as BlaBlaCar are challenging the status quo of the transport

industry, and we will continue to partner with technology

companies to develop apps and other services to improve journey

planning and on-the-move information to create a smoother end-to

end journey experience. Go-Ahead continually upgrades and

updates its apps using customer feedback and testing to ensure the

user experience is agile, responsive and intuitive. We are now

focusing on personalisation where the tool recognises the individual

customer’s travel patterns and offers suggestions for the journey

they wish to make.

Similarly, investment in design and manufacture such as self-drive

capability, electrification and greater automation is advancing more

quickly than for larger vehicles such as buses and coaches. The

motor industry is investing heavily in making greener, fuel efficient

vehicles and it is important that bus manufacturers do not lag

behind. We are the first operator in London to introduce a fully

electric fleet at our Waterloo depot supported by TfL. We invest in

low emission buses across all our operating companies and our

average fleet age is 7.8 years, helping to ensure we reduce carbon

emissions and contribute to improving air quality in the

communities we serve.

6 The Go-Ahead Group plc I Annual Report and Accounts 2016

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