News from Britain – James Scannell

November 2019 to January 2020

 Transport for London begins operating services between London Paddington and Reading

On December 15th Transport for London (TfL) rail commenced operating services from London Paddington and Reading as part of the delivery of the Elizabeth line. Passengers at Iver and Taplow stations will now enjoy Sunday service of two trains per hour to London.


TfL to Trial New Bus Sound to Improve Road Safety

In January 2020 an innovative new bus sound will be trialed on London’s electric buses on route 100. It will be played through special speakers inside the front of the bus to ensure that all road users are aware of the presence of electric and hybrid buses. When moving at slow speeds without this sound, these vehicles are almost completely silent and pose a safety risk especially to those who are blind or partially sighted. The trial comes ahead of an artificial sound becoming a regulatory requirement for all new ‘quiet’ running vehicles from 2021. (In the Republic of Ireland from 2020 onwards, all electric vehicles must emit an audible sound and all electric vehicles sold prior to 2020 must be retrofitted by the end of 2021).


TfL Fares Frozen for 2020

All fares set by the Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, will remain frozen for 2020 to encourage more people to use public transport. Bus and tram fares remain at £1.50 (about US$2) with the Lord Mayor’s Hopper Fair allowing unlimited journeys within 60-minutes. Adult off-peak fares for Tube journeys within Zones 2-6 cost about US$2 using ‘pay as you go’. This is the fourth year in a row that all fares set by the Mayor of London have remained unchanged.


London Tube Station Renamed PICARDilly Circus

On January 15th 2020, London’s Piccadilly Circus tube station was renamed ‘PICARDilly Circus’ for 48-hours, in advance of the new Amazon Prime Video original series ‘Star Trek’ being launched on January 24th in more than 200 locations world-wide. Themed signs and posters were erected throughout the station, though staff were on hand to direct passengers confused by the promotional materials to tube trains and other station services.


Decade of Progress for Transport for Greater Manchester

In the decade since 2010 the number of annual passengers on the Metrolink network has more than doubled, rising from 19.2m in 2010 to 45.5m in 2019. The decade also saw a large-scale expansion of the network, known as Phase Three. This boosted track length from 39km in 2010 to 97km in 2019, with the addition of 55 new stops to the existing 38. The number of trams grew from 36 in 2010 to 120 in 2019 with more to come in 2020.

The network has expanded into seven of the Greater Manchester boroughs, serving areas such as Wythenshawe, Didsbury, Oldham, Chorlton-cum-Hardy, Droylsden, Ashton, Rochdale, and MediaCity. There is also now a second city crossing with a new stop in Exchange Square and fully refurbished stops at Deansgate-Castlefield and St. Peter’s Square.

The expansion of Metrolink has been part of a wider development scheme of the public transport system in Greater Manchester which has seen delivery of major components such as the Bus Priority Package, the GM Electric Vehicle scheme, the ‘get-me-there’ smart ticketing scheme and the launch of cycle hubs, interchanges and bus stations.


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Revised: Feb 2020