pteg responds to Rail Review

Thursday, July 15, 2004

pteg today welcomed Alistair Darling’s announcement that PTEs are to be given more powers over their local rail networks.

Kieran Preston, Director General of Metro, and Chair of pteg said:

‘It makes sense for more decisions about city region rail networks to be taken by the city regions themselves, rather than by civil servants in London. It will bring responsibility for regional networks much closer to the passenger, and it will lead to better integration of rail planning with the regions’ wider economic, environmental and regeneration strategies.

‘We also welcome the flexibility the Government will give us to take decisions about where investment is directed and to specify the transport mode that will ensure a good return on that investment.’

‘The UK’s city regions need modern and efficient commuter networks if they are to begin to match the economic performance both of their European counterparts and of the overheated South East. Powers over regional rail networks are being devolved across Europe, by and large successfully, and today’s announcement brings us one step closer to being able to provide fully integrated public transport networks for the city regions that we serve.’

However, pteg also warned that ‘the money must follow the powers’

Kieran Preston said:

‘Our urban rail networks provide good value for money by taking traffic off congested roads and supporting wider Government economic and social inclusion objectives.

However, the cost of running these networks has soared since privatisation and we will need to be sure that sufficient resources are available to improve services rather than provide a stand-still or deteriorating service.’