Top Of The Policies on Transport, Chaired by Maria Eagle MP, Shadow Transport Secretary

TOP POLICY (after dead heat contest with No. 2) was AMANDA RAMSAY – Better Deal on the Buses.

No.2 Policy – FRANCIS PRIDEAUX – Return our railways to public ownership.

No. 3 Policy – JOE FORTUNE – Peoples’ rail – People before profits.


 for kindly sponsoring our refreshments.


Thank you also to  for their sponsorship of the prizes, which was greatly appreciated.

90 second policy ideas, quick-fire questions and debate on the future of

Transport Policy

Chaired by Maria Eagle MP, Shadow Transport Secretary


WHEN? 6.30pm-8.30pm, WEDNESDAY 13 JUNE

WHERE? St Stephen’s Tavern (upstairs restaurant), 10 Bridge Street, Westminster, London, SW1A 2JR (next to Portcullis House)

2 Mins walking distance from Parliament


SPEAKERS: Introduction from PragRad Chair, John Slinger and Shadow Transport Secretary Maria Eagle MP.



To  have the chance to present your 90 second policy idea on the on the night, please send your idea in the following format:

– Headline

– Explanation (1-2 sentences)

– How you wish to be referred to on the night (ie job title, organisation, etc)

Send to PragRad Chair, John Slinger, or use the comment form below. @PragRad @JohnSlinger


Create a scheme to reward workers and employers changing to quieter times of travel, or for using cleaner forms of transport: A mobility incentive policy would establish a link between the cost of travel, time and mode of travel; and provide for reductions in taxation for workers and employers changing use to quieter times and cleaner modes. Commissioners of transport services would be expected to bring forward improvements that allowed for such changes in travel patterns, cutting across traditional organisation boundaries between different modes where necessary. Robert Audsley – CH2M HILL Head of Transport Infrastructure.

London’s transport capacity timebomb: London is facing a timebomb in public transport demand. The next 20 years sees a 14% rise in population, but a 70% rise in total public transport demand (according to TfL). Given how long it takes to build transport investment, the time for action is now. Crossrail 1, at £16bn provides an increase in capacity of just 10%, so I’ll outline some more effective alternative ideas to “just” progressing Crossrail 2. Stephen Colebourne – author UK rail blog

Peoples’ Rail – People before profits: Move train operating companies and the infrastructure manager in to the mutual sector. Give communities, employees and passengers a real say and stake in the way in-which our railways are run. Joe Fortune – SERA Executive member and Parliamentary Officer of the Co-operative Party.

Why don’t people think rail fares are fair: A recent survey by the rail regulators found that over 50% of respondents said getting the best fare was a lottery, 75% did not understand the rules on Off-Peak and 45% said that fares were too complicated. The existing system of mixed distance and market related fares discriminates against those who do not understand it, those who buy a ticket on the day, those who can’t plan a long time ahead, those without the internet, and those who do not have a large station in their area, it also distorts the usage statistics. Solution: return to a simple mileage based system based on so much per mile which tapers as you go longer distances. I would have four national fares types: single and return at twice the single fare; saver single or return at 50% the full fare with the same restrictions to all operator; cheap day returns for shorted distances at 50% the normal peak price; and promotional fares offered by each operator. Charles King – Chair Croydon South Labour Party and chair of a local user group.

A car-free city: Too much of our transport infrastructure is currently based around the interests of motorists. Testing out a car-free city could lead to greater environmentalism and improved public transport in the future. Mike Morgan-Giles currently works in political communications, having previously been an aide and speechwriter to a Member of Parliament. He also writes for a range of websites, including the Huffington Post, Left Foot Forward and Liberal Conspiracy.

Regional Cities’ Railways – Better local services: Our regional cities have very different standards for their local rail services. The Government is consulting on how (much and what) to devolve to new regional local authority groupings. Liverpool has a very good local rail network in Merseyrail. Birmingham and the West Midlands, Greater Glasgow also have good local train service networks, but in other cities the trains are not so good. Manchester’s Metrolink Trams are excellent; frequent and reliable, but why do some local railway stations only have trains stopping every TWO hours. Similarly Newcastle too has an excellent Metro but getting the trains to Blaydon and Dunston, er.. no! There are lots of other examples in the regions. Bristol could have an excellent local rail system, but the DfT is unwilling to electrify branch lines. Trains every 30 minutes are an absolute minimum, and ideally if they are improved to every 15 or 20 minutes, with reasonable fares, punters will flock to them! Richard Pout.

Return our railways to public ownership: It is already the agreed policy of the Labour Party Conference to take back Rail services into public ownership as and when current contracts with the private sector expire. At a time when travellers are being obliged to pay more and more for a declining standard of service, it is more than high time for Labour’s leadership to campaign publicly for a necessary and popular vote-winner. Francis Prideaux – Labour Party Member.

Collective hub for London is the way forward for aviation in South-East: With all the Heathrow-centric discussion of aviation policy in the ES, you would be forgiven for thinking no other airports in London & the South-East exist. The reality is we have much spare capacity between these airports including the reality that Heathrow will be expanding (by passenger numbers not flights) and this calls for a different approach. That approach is better connectivity between our airports. Murad Qureshi AM.

Better Deal on the Buses – bring buses back under local authority control and under a new regulatory framework: Decent, affordable bus services are essential for social mobility, to ease congestion and aid access to services, jobs and leisure activities, but too often now in private hands are too expensive and not efficient enough in routes and regularity. There should be more competition and price controls. Buses in cities like Bristol, Manchester and Glasgow should be overseen by local authority, in a similar style to the way Transport for London runs the UK capital’s buses where the system works well across the whole city.  Amanda Ramsay – Labour Uncut and former Labour Councillor.

The introduction of mandatory use of dipped headlamps during daylight hours by drivers of all vehicles: Following a European directive in 2008, by summer 2012 all new vehicles have to be fitted with dedicated daytime running lamps. About half of EU member states already require this. To reduce deaths and accidents, now is the time to legislate that all motorists have to use daytime running lights, regardless of vehicle modification. Richard Ramsay – Labour Party member.

20mph is the Answer- What’s the Question? 20mph limits for urban areas are popular (70-80% support), reduce casualties and have fantastic rates of return (Warrington found 800% First yearon its pilots), reduce air pollution and fuel use by 12%, increase walking and cycling levels (up to 12% in Bristol). They do not have any noticeable effect on journey times. 8 million people live in authorities with a wide 20 mph limit policy. Anna Semlyen, 20’s Plenty for UsCampaign Manager.

Link Council Tax to Land Values to collect that wealth created by the Transport system: If we collect the portion of land values created by the transport system it could be fiscally neutral. See the effect of the Jubilee Line extension on property values along the route. In London a tube station adds roughly £10k to a property per minute of proximity. Gregory Thompson – Theatre maker and Labour supporter

Give transport authorities across the country franchise powers over bus routes: London is the only part of the country with rising bus use and the only part of the country where the transport authority has franchise powers over bus routes. These powers create competition for markets, not competition within markets, meaning that bus service provision is driven by the social needs enshrined in the franchises that bus operators compete for, not exclusive profit maximisation on the terms of the bus operators. This is a simple change that would retain the disciplines of the market, while putting people before profits and vested interests. Jonathan Todd, Labour activist and freelance economist.

20mph default speed limits on all built up roads: Each year hundreds of children are killed and harmed on the roads where we live and work, and traffic and congestion ensure that millions more are cooped up indoors. Changing the speed limit from 30 to 20 miles per hour is proven to save lives and reduce childhood obesity, and most people in the UK‑including the AA-want 20 miles per hour speed limits so they can enjoy their neighbourhoods and feel safe travelling by bike and on foot.  Joe Williams – Sustrans’ Policy and Media Advisor. 

We need a transport tax to get our cities moving: Those who gain from a good public transport should pay something towards it. As the International Association of Public Transport (UITP) says, “employers and retailers both gain from the provision of public transport services which give them access to a wider labour market and retail market respectively”. The most important source of funding for local public transport projects in France is the versement transport (transport tax), or VT for short. More detail in Guardian article hereRob Williams worked for Labour MP Alan Simpson during 1995 and 1996, he has also worked in public relations and public affairs for organisations including the French government, EPPA and Transport for London. He is currently a freelance writer.

A breath of fresh air for central London: The key idea is to transforming central London by squeezing out the use of the private car through a series of measures and policies favouring other modes. Christian Wolmar – writer and broadcaster on transport matters.



Twitter – @PragRad  #TopOfThePolicies (use this #tag to follow the event/contribute live)

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