To receive a presentation from Lucja Majewski, Regional Development Manager, Transpennine Express.
The Committee received a presentation from the Regional Development Manager, Ms Lucja Majewski Kent in relation to the TransPennine Express (TPE).
Members raised the following: -
Councillor Ken McGlashan enquired about the TPE rolling stock and its current position and what had been put in place to mitigate any further delays.
Mrs Lucja Majewski informed the Committee that TPE have already accepted about 45% of the new fleet which was about 20 new trains, however, with the delays, the new services won’t be introduced till December 2019.
Councillor Harry Howard commented about the TPE customer services and not having any integration in the North between the bus and train services. He enquired about the differences with First Group in Cornwall and the services in the north and whether any discussions were taking place with operators in the north to better integrate the services.
Mrs Lucja Majewski stated that she agreed that customer services was paramount and that it had been a challenge to integrate the services, but TPE would be open to having those discussions with the bus operators in the City Region to improve and better integrate the services.
Councillor John Stockton commented about the success of the travel schemes and affordability for young people in the City Region and enquired if TPE were introducing any new deals and what had been done to encourage the rail industry to do the same.
Mrs Lucja Majewski informed the Committee that TPE had recently worked with Merseytravel on discounted apprenticeship tickets and was also looking at other age groups including the under 25s. She also spoke about a recent pilot scheme for job seekers in Hull, to have free train travel to attend job interviews and if they were successful in getting the job, the free train travel would continue for the first month and she would be happy to have discussions to try and pilot a similar scheme in the City Region.
Councillor Nathalie Nicholas enquired about rail performance in the north and any steps that may have been taken by TPE and other industry partners e.g. Network Rail to avoid any repeat of the chaos from last autumn.
Mrs Lucja Majewski informed the Committee that a new timetable was introduced in December 2018 which had more contingencies into the service and for the autumn in 2019 Network Rail have already started to treat the tracks. She also spoke about not introducing an autumn timetable this year as a result of the timetable introduced in December 2018 and not expecting any disruptions for 2019.
Councillor Jerry Williams enquired about whether TPE would be interested in looking at the Liverpool to Bradford route and possibly assisting the region with an express service to Manchester in the Huyton area.
Mrs Lucja Majewski informed the Committee that the train services requirements for the franchise are already set out and there were no plans to expand it, but she would be happy to take the information away and see if there was any scope with the TPE train planners.
Councillor John Wiseman enquired about the travel-safe initiatives that were ongoing within the passenger transport executive for 2019/2020 and beyond.
Mrs Lucja Majewski stated that she didn’t have a response for the question, but would take it away and provide a response at a later time.
Councillor Gordon Friel enquired about the autumn timetable and if there was anything in place to provide assurance that there would not be a repeat of last year’s problems.
Mrs Lucja Majewski stated that 15th December 2019 is the scheduled timetable day. In terms of performance there is a lot more due diligence taken and there is focus regarding the services and delivery.
Councillor Ged Philbin enquired about staffing locally for both on and off the trains and the apprenticeship programme of TPE.
Mrs Lucja Majewski spoke about recently employing about 100 drivers with local offices for on board hosts and conductors. The apprenticeship programme is going well with 12 apprentices recently being recruited. The programme at TPE recruits apprentices every 2 years.
Councillor Pat Cleary commented about the TPE bicycle shelters not being fit for purpose in 2019 and a more protective shelter should be considered to encourage bike users on the network similar to that currently installed along the Merseyrail routes. He also enquired about the provisions for bicycles on the new trains.
Mrs Lucja Majewski informed the Committee that she would look at the bike shelters with her colleague and would be happy to look at improving the shelters and checking the shelters currently used by Merseyrail. She stated that there were 4 spaces for bicycles on the new trains with an updated reservation service which allowed for bookings to be made 10 minutes before train journeys via ‘Whats App’.
The Chair, Councillor Robinson enquired about smart ticketing and how it was progressing on the TPE network.
Mrs Lucja Majewski stated that it was going well and tickets can be booked online with about 60% of season ticket holders having smartcards. There is a team working with Transport for the North to make things work better.
The Chair, Councillor Robinson enquired about the progress being made with TPE rail division and why the First bus division was refusing to take up smart ticketing in the North.
Mrs Lucja Majewski stated that she had no explanation but would take it back to the organisation
The Chair, Councillor Robinson thanked Mrs Lucja Majewski for the presentation and requested that if there were any concerns about services or delays in the future it would be helpful if the Combined Authority could be informed as early as possible.
RESOLVED that the Transport Committee notes the contents of the presentation.