To receive a presentation from Mr Lee Robinson, The Development Director for North Wales, Transport for Wales.
The Committee received a presentation from Lee Robinson, the Development Director for North Wales in relation to Transport for Wales.
Members raised the following: –
Councillor Steve Foulkes enquired about ways to improve the working relationship between the City Region and Transport for Wales (TfW) and whether there was any money available from the £40m identified to improve stations between Bidston and Wrexham e.g. Heswall and Upton which were in poor condition.
Lee Robinson informed the Committee that a steering group had already been established working on cross border connectivity with a view to setting a vision for the work that will be identified in the outline business case which is already in progress. Some of the money will be invested in stations, following a recent audit that was conducted by an external party on all stations showing improvements to lighting, cycle storage, CCTV, branding and painting etc.
Councillor Ken McGlashan enquired about the vision and mechanism that would be used to work more closely together with the newly established business unit in Wrexham and the City Region and whether or not consideration would be given to working with the City Region and its train suppliers to have similar trains across the border given the issues experienced by Transport for Wales with its supplier.
Lee Robinson stated that there was well-established relationships already at senior and operational level and he was happy with the communication and dialogue at the moment and would be happy to share procurement channels in relation to the rolling stock.
Councillor John Stockton enquired about the Halton Curve services and how it would be marketed in the future to encourage travel across the region and also how it would link with the John Lennon Airport.
Lee Robinson stated that he had already met with the rail partnership officer and discussed a detailed plan to market the link and that meetings have already taken place with the airport and discussions were underway in relation to ticketing, pricing and flights.
Councillor John Wiseman stated that Newton Le Willows was a key location for growth within the St Helens area and for the journey between Manchester and Llandudno and wanted to know if there were any further plans to improve the service.
Lee Robinson stated that there are no additional plans other than what has been referred to in the presentation and is limited by the network currently. TfW are aware of the issues to increase the connectivity services and to make it more efficient right through to Manchester airport.
Councillor Nina Killen commented that it was positive and encouraging to hear about the increase in Sunday services and enquired about whether it was across the whole network, or just the links between Wales and City Region and if any consideration had been given to peak seasons e.g. Christmas.
Lee Robinson informed the Committee that it was across the whole network and TfW was aware of seasonal issues having responded to Chester Races and the Christmas season with the increase in patronage.
Councillor Gordon Friel enquired about the issues with the bottleneck to Chester for services involving Liverpool, and any plans to address it. He also asked about the lack of connectivity with timetables between London to City Region e.g. first train to airport, do not match with the TfW trains which run later.
Lee Robinson commented that there is work already being undertaken with partners including Chester West and Merseytravel to address the Chester City Gateway to relieve the bottleneck with suggestions submitted to the Department for Transport (DfT). He also stated that they rely on working with the train and bus operators across the board not just Wales to address the issues relating to the timetable.
Councillor Helen Thompson enquired about the accessibility arrangements with the new trains.
Lee Robinson stated that there was a DfT requirement by December 2019 to refurbish trains that are not accessible and to improve accessibility with new trains and rolling stock through “access for all funding” to also improve accessibility with stations.
Councillor Anthony Lavelle enquired about TfW plans for revenue protection.
Lee Robinson stated that there was advertising around ticket purchasing and installing automatic barriers and the deployment of officers along the network to check passenger tickets.
Councillor Pat Cleary enquired about the train improvements to include cycle storage and whether it would include station storage improvements as well for better cycling storage facilities.
Lee Robinson stated that it would include better cycle storage at stations.
Councillor Patrick McKinley enquired about smart ticketing and the “trials” and if it interfaced with the City Region and the wider north projects.
Lee Robinson stated that discussions were underway with TfN and the Liverpool City Region to establish a common ticketing process relating to using the same tickets across the borders, but this is still ongoing.
The Chair, Councillor Liam Robinson enquired about how important park and ride was on the rail network and how it could be improved to get people on the train earlier, rather than driving to destinations.
Lee Robinson stated that discussions were underway and it was about understanding what the journeys were and why people were doing it and addressing the barriers people face by not wanting to take the trains.
The Chair, Councillor Liam Robinson enquired about how TfW could ensure that processes were in place for delivery and avoid future fiascos.
Lee Robinson stated that it was all about detailed planning and working with relevant bodies e.g. DfT etc. to keep the dialogue and pressure going with those partners and working arrangements.
RESOLVED that the Transport Committee notes the contents of the presentation and thanked Lee Robinson for his attendance and for answering the questions and congratulated him for the outstanding work that Transport for Wales were doing in being forward thinking and proactive.