A change of direction of the Welsh Government’s youth concessionary bus travel scheme?

13 February 2017

Article by Andrew Minnis, National Assembly for Wales Research Service

Darllenwch yr erthygl yma yn Gymraeg | View this post in Welsh


Image from Flickr by Micolo J. Licensed under Creative Commons

Media reports have suggested that the Welsh Government’s mytravelpass scheme, which offers discounts on Welsh bus travel for 18-16 year olds, is soon to be withdrawn. However, recent statements from the Cabinet Secretary for Economy and Infrastructure indicate that it may not have reached the end of the road just yet.

This blog post explains the background to the scheme and how it operates, along with an update on the most recent statements from the Cabinet Secretary.

Why was the scheme introduced?

In autumn 2014 the Welsh Government reached an agreement with the Liberal Democrats in the Assembly to support the Government’s draft budget. One aspect of the agreement was the introduction of a youth concessionary fares scheme.

Mytravelpass was subsequently launched in September 2015 on an 18 month pilot basis with funding of £15m.

The current pilot ends on 31 March 2017.

How does the scheme currently work?

Mytravelpass offers young people at least a one third discount on equivalent adult bus fares, although some operators may offer additional discounts. This includes local bus services which operate wholly in Wales or where the trip originates or terminates in Wales. The TrawsCymru long distance bus service is also included.

To be eligible for the pass, applicants must:

  • be aged 16 to 18 inclusive; and
  • have their primary residence in Wales (including those studying in Wales, provided they reside here).

The application process is handled by Traveline Cymru, the public transport information service funded by the Welsh Government. Users are issued with a photographic mytravelpass card which they must show when buying their ticket.

Details of how to apply are available on the mytravelpass website. Applications can be made online, by post or over the phone. During the pilot phase, the pass has been provided at no cost to the user, although applicants must provide a passport-sized photo to be included for ID purposes.  No proof of age or address is required with the application, but the details may be verified by third parties on behalf of the Welsh Government.

The mytravelpass website includes frequently asked questions with further information.

So what’s happening to the scheme now?

Uptake of the pass has been low. Despite a total market estimated at about 110,000 young people, by mid-January 2017 the total number of passes issued since the scheme’s launch was around 8,300.

On 18 October 2016, during questions following his Plenary statement on the future of bus services in Wales, the Cabinet Secretary acknowledged the limited uptake of the scheme.  He said “every opportunity—and I think any opportunity—that we get to flag up the existence of the pass we should take”. He also highlighted the role of the bus sector itself in marketing “concessionary travel opportunities”.

Three months later in January 2017 media reports suggested the scheme was being withdrawn at the end of the pilot period.  Welsh Government sources were quoted saying that the decision was based on analysis indicating that pass holders were not using the pass to travel outside their local area.

However, responding to a question in Plenary on 24 January 2017 the Cabinet Secretary said work was underway on a “legacy scheme”:

I remain very keen that there should be a legacy scheme after the current mytravelpass ends on 31 March. My officials have had encouraging discussions with representatives of local authorities and with the confederation of bus operators. I’m optimistic that I will be able to confirm the details of the successor programme very soon.

….this was a pilot scheme, and therefore something that we can learn from. And we have learnt from it. The fact of the matter is that uptake was not as high as we would’ve wished, which is why I’m very keen for the successor programme to reach more young people across Wales. I believe it’s something in the region of 10,000 young people who took advantage of the mytravelpass scheme; I would wish to see that number grow far more with the scheme that will emerge, which I’m hoping to announce within the coming weeks.

Young people in Wales and bus operators alike will await the Cabinet Secretary’s announcement with interest.

Will rail fare and ticketing pilots finally give passengers a break?

09 February 2017

Article by Andrew Minnis, National Assembly for Wales Research Service

Darllenwch yr erthygl yma yn Gymraeg | View this post in Welsh


Image from Flickr Elliot Brown. Licensed under Creative Commons

On 1 February the Rail Delivery Group (RDG), a rail industry body which brings together all British passenger and freight operators, along with Network Rail and HS2, announced a series of rail fare pilots and other improvements. The RDG suggests that these have the potential to “guarantee customers simpler fares and the best possible deal every time they travel”.

This follows the joint publication of an action plan for information on rail fares and ticketing in December 2016    by the Department for Transport, RDG, Which? and Transport Focus (the independent transport user watchdog).

Fares and ticketing issues are a longstanding headache for rail passengers across Britain. Although the pilots themselves may not affect Wales directly, if successful these pilots are likely to lead to future changes across the network as rail franchises are renewed. Improvements to ticket machines and websites are also expected during 2017 which may bring more immediate benefits.

So what’s the problem?

The Secretary of State for Transport has a statutory duty under the Railways Act 1993 to make sure rail fares are reasonable, to protect through ticketing and promote the use of services provided by more than one operator.  This is achieved through “fares regulation” via franchise agreements, and “ticketing regulation” through industrywide agreements enforced by the industry regulator, the Office of Rail and Road (ORR), as a condition of operating licences.

You can find more detail on these arrangements in annex A of the DfT’s 2012 Rail Fares and Ticketing Review: Initial consultation (PDF 695 KB).

The RDG explains how the planned trials will address the effects of these regulations:

The trials will be designed to establish the changes needed to regulation and processes so that train companies can offer customers simpler, easy to use fares. Decades-old government rules covering rail fares, originally intended to protect customers but introduced before the internet and online booking, have prevented train companies from being more flexible in offering tickets that customers want.

The complexity of rail fares and tickets has been causing problems for years. In June 2012 the ORR published fares and ticketing – information and complexity (PDF 1.31 MB). Its findings included the fact that more than half of passengers surveyed believed getting the best value ticket was “a bit of a lottery”, 45% thought the system too difficult to understand, while 41% reported buying tickets only to find later that they could have made the same journey at lower cost.  Nearly three-quarters of all those interviewed were not confident on what ‘off-peak’ times were.

Similarly, qualitative research on ticket vending machine (TVM) usability (PDF 1.47 MB), published by Transport Focus in 2010, found that while the large majority (72%) of passengers “were satisfied with ticket-buying facilities at stations”, passengers continued to experience problems.  These included poor screen layout, confusing and complex screen sequencing, and confusion over ticket validity and restrictions so that passengers are unclear about which options offered them best value ticket.

In October 2016 the House of Commons Transport Select Committee published the future of rail: improving the rail passenger experience, the latest in a series of reports considering fares and ticketing dating back a decade. The report described passengers’ frustrations:

Particular bugbears include use of ambiguous terms such as “London Terminals” and “Any Permitted” in relation to destinations and routes; “split-ticketing”, by which cross-country journeys can often be made more cheaply by purchasing a series of tickets between intermediate stations on the journey; and ticket vending machines that do not always offer the full range of ticketing information or the cheapest available fares.

Successive UK Governments have promised to simplify rail fares. Labour’s July 2007 White Paper delivering a sustainable railway (PDF 2.68 MB) promised to “make it easier for passengers to decide which fare is the right one for the journey, to get a sense of price, and to work out whether or not there is a cheaper option available”.  The last UK Government undertook a fares and ticketing review which published its “next steps” (PDF 0.97 MB) in October 2013.

So what’s happening now?

Three pilots addressing a range of issues have been announced:

  • Split ticketing: the RDG says that “best-priced through fares” will be tested with CrossCountry Trains “who are currently obliged by regulations to price through tickets for very long connecting journeys even where customers can beat that price by combining different types of ticket”. Details of the specific routes included in the trial are being finalised and will be published soon;
  • Single-leg pricing: will be tested on London-Glasgow and London-Edinburgh routes. At present many single fares on these routes cost much more than 50% of a return ticket price. The RDG says the pilot will test single leg pricing “so that customers would always know the cheapest fare for their chosen journey, out and back”; and
  • Routing changes: the London-Sheffield route will be “overhauled to reflect what is actually on offer”, where currently fares which are obviously unsuitable must still be offered creating confusion and offering poor value. The RDG says:

Regulations [on this route] date back to when the direct service was much less frequent and journeys often needed a change of train via a longer route. This means that tickets are required to be available which are not in step with actual options available now.

Trade magazine Passenger Transport recently provided an example of the issues to be addressed by the London-Sheffield pilot in an article on the trials. It pointed out that while Sheffield currently has a direct service from St Pancras station, a service from Kings Cross, changing at Doncaster, can offer an alternative. Yet despite taking longer and requiring a change, fares regulation means the King Cross route is more expensive.

In addition to the three trials, the RDG highlights measures set out in the joint action plan to make TVMs and ticket websites more user friendly by giving “customers better information and [making] it simpler to find the right ticket at the right price”. The action plan explains that changes will include clear ticket names and definitions, an on-line look-up tool to explain restrictions, and options for finding the cheapest fare.

And what happens next?

The three trials will start in May 2017, with a range of improvements to TVMs and websites beginning in spring 2017 and rolled out during the year. A working group will review progress against these actions monthly, with an interim report published in the ORRs July 2017 Annual Consumer Report and a final report in December 2017.

No doubt rail passengers will be hoping for big improvements following the pilots.  After so much discussion over so many years, passengers and the industry alike will be hoping the action plan will make for a happy new year for travellers in 2018.

Proposed toll reductions for the Severn Crossings

20 January 2017

Article by Sean Evans, National Assembly for Wales Research Service

View this post in Welsh | Darllenwch yr erthygl yma yn Gymraeg


Image from Flickr by Ashley Coates. Licensed under Creative Commons.

On 13 January 2017, the UK Department for Transport (DfT) and the Wales Office launched a consultation on proposals to reduce toll prices on the Severn Crossings. The consultation is seeking views on proposals to introduce reduced tolls, regulatory changes, reduced off-peak charges and free-flow charging before the Severn Crossings revert to public ownership sometime in late 2017 or early 2018.

What’s behind these proposals?

A concession agreement was awarded to Severn River Crossing PLC (SRC) in 1990 which commenced in April 1992 and operates subject to the provisions of the Severn Bridges Act 1992. The agreement authorises the collection of tolls by SRC from both Crossings until a “defined amount of revenue” (currently set at £1,029 billion in July 1989 prices) is generated or for a maximum of 30 years (whichever comes sooner). The UK Government has indicated that it expects the defined amount of revenue to be reached in late 2017 or early 2018, at which point the bridges will revert back to public (UK Government) ownership.

What’s being proposed?

Rather than abolish tolling at the end of the concession agreement, the UK Government intends to “abolish the higher price toll category for vans and small buses, and halve the tolls for all vehicles”, a move it suggests will be a “significant step” that will “make a positive difference to commuters, travellers, and to small business owners.”

The consultation proposals (PDF 559KB) include replacing the current toll of £6.70, for cars and other category 1 vehicles, with a charge of £3.00 as well applying this reduced category 1 charge to small buses and vans currently within category 2 and subject to a toll of £13.40. The toll for large vehicles under category 3 is proposed to be reduced from £20.00 to £10.00.

The proposed changes are set out in the following table:


The payment currently required to use the Crossings is a toll which increases annually in line with inflation. The UK Government is proposing to replace this by introducing a Charging Order under the Transport Act 2000 which will “change the legal status of the payment…from a toll to a road user charge”. It suggests that this change of status will enable it to “reduce the amount users pay more easily.” During discussions in Plenary on 17 January 2017, Assembly Members expressed concerns over proposals for road user charging and its legal basis. The Cabinet Secretary for Economy and Infrastructure, Ken States, stated that it is a “very complicated and complex area of legal work” and that the Welsh Government supports abolition of the toll on an economic basis alone.

What are the predicted impacts of the proposals on traffic?

Traffic forecasts commissioned by the DfT and described in the consultation suggest that reducing tolls will increase the amount of traffic using the Crossings up to 17% by 2028.

In response to this, the UK Government is considering measures to reduce the time it takes for tolls to be collected and “ways to manage this effect, including …options for free-flow tolling and day-time only tolling”. Additional considerations include rounding the toll prices down to whole numbers of pounds and continuation of the Severn TAG system at around a 50% price reduction.

The consultation also highlights the UK Governments concerns around the impact of increased traffic congestion in Bristol and along the M4 in Wales but suggests that “reducing the tolls by 50% would allow us to assess the impact… of increased traffic flows.” In Plenary on 17 January 2017, the Cabinet Secretary for the Economy and Infrastructure commented on concerns around modelled traffic impacts noting that “there is a need to ensure that the modelling for traffic flows is accurate” and that his views on the modelling undertaken and wider community impacts will be factored into his consultation response.

What is the UK Government proposing to use Crossing revenue for?

In a letter to Assembly Members and Members of Parliament, the Minister of State for Transport, John Hayes MP, and Secretary of State for Wales, Alun Cairns MP, stated that charges collected under the proposals will not be used for “any purpose other than to support their [the Crossings] operation and maintenance, and to repay the debt incurred by the UK taxpayer to fix latent defects on the Crossings”. The letter contained a further assurance that “the Government will monitor toll prices closely with a view to further reductions if possible in the future.” These sentiments are reiterated in the consultation document which states that toll revenues “will be kept under review to see if they can be reduced further.”

What about talk of abolishing the tolls?

There has been support for abolishing the tolls completely when the Crossings revert to public ownership. A recent Motion, tabled by Mark Reckless AM proposing that the Assembly supports the abolition of tolls, was debated in the Assembly on 16 November 2016 and subsequently agreed as amended with 45 votes for, 0 against and 1 abstention.

The UK Government argues that abolishing the tolls would put the future of the Crossings at risk with estimated annual maintenance and operational costs of around £15 million. However, the proposal to continue tolling has attracted criticism from those seeking the abolition of the tolls who suggest that their continuation represents a tax on Wales that would not be permitted under existing legislation.

The Welsh Government commissioned Arup to conduct research into the impact of the Severn tolls on the Welsh economy. Arup’s report (PDF 3.48MB) (2013), states that economic modelling suggests that removing the tolls could boost the economy of south Wales through increased annual Gross Value Added (GVA) in the order of 0.48% or around £107m. Whilst the report noted that caution should be applied to the precise magnitude of GVA gains, it also indicated that the indirect effects are such that the “overall impact of the toll [suppressed GVA potential] exceeds the direct cost of the toll [maintenance and operational costs]”. However the UK Government suggest that, whilst the “prospect of removing the tolls and funding the operation and maintenance…..through the resultant increases in revenue from general taxation is an attractive theory”, there is “no guarantee that the Government would recoup the equivalent amount of lost toll revenue through general taxation.”

The UK Government also outlines a need to recover costs of £63 million it has incurred during the concession period. In Plenary on 17 January 2017, the Cabinet Secretary expressed disappointment that the UK Government is not considering writing off the debt off, as was the case for the Humber crossing, and stated that the Welsh Government opposes continued tolling. In the debate on the November 2016 Motion, the Cabinet Secretary also stated that “that the tolls should be removed at the earliest opportunity, alleviating the burden on the economy and removing the significant threat they represent to trade in a post-Brexit world.”

Welsh Affairs Select Committee report on the Severn Crossings Toll (2010) suggested that “the toll could be reduced to a fifth of its current level, to approximately £1.50 while allowing the crossings to remain self-financing”. The report recommends that the UK Government “must not be tempted to use the crossings as a ‘cash cow’”. The Welsh Government’s written response to the current Welsh Affairs Select Committee inquiry into the future of the Severn River crossings, states that the tolls should “be in the hands” of the Welsh Government and that charge free passage could provide a potential productivity boost of “over £100 million a year”.

Great Western electrification plans derailed? A National Audit Office report

23 November 2016

Article by Sean Evans, National Assembly for Wales Research Service

Darllenwch yr erthygl yma yn Gymraeg | View this post in Welsh

An image of Swansea train station frontage

Image from Wikimedia Commons by Ruth Sharville. Licenced under the Creative Commons


Modernisation of the Great Western Main Line (PDF, 66.2KB) is seeking to increase capacity and provide faster and more reliable journeys for passengers, primarily by electrifying the lines through to Swansea and procuring new Intercity Express trains.

The modernisation work is made up of several important, interdependent elements known as the Great Western Route Modernisation ‘industry programme’. Route modernisation was first announced in July 2009, but the scope of the programme changed significantly in the years that followed with the addition of elements such as the electrification to Swansea. All elements were only brought together as an integrated programme in 2015.

Network Rail is responsible for delivery of rail infrastructure improvement and maintenance works within five-yearly ‘Control Periods’. The industry programme, planned for delivery between 2014-2019 (‘Control Period 5’), has seen significant delays.

The National Audit Office (NAO) published its report on Modernising the Great Western Railway on 9 November 2016. The report considers the causes of difficulties in delivery of the programme so far. This blog post discusses these, focusing on the implications for Wales.

Further information on the rail infrastructure planning process can be found in our quick guide.

Reviews of Network Rail outputs for Control Period 5

In June 2015, following concerns over escalating costs, affordability and deliverability of all commitments in the Control period 5 (CP5) enhancement portfolio, the Secretary of State for Transport asked Network Rail’s Chair to re-plan CP5 enhancements in a way that would be efficient, deliverable and affordable. Sir Peter Hendy’s review, detailed in Replanning Network Rail’s investment programme: a report from Sir Peter Hendy to the Transport Secretary (PDF, 2.3MB) published in November 2015, systematically examined every element of the enhancement programme.

The report highlighted how the cost and timescales on a small number of significant enhancement projects had increased beyond expectation due to over optimism on initial costs and timescales, inadequate planning processes both within and outside Network Rail, changes in scope during development and delivery and a fundamental change with the reclassification of Network Rail as a public body.

Re-planning resulted in a small number of programme elements being deferred to Control Period 6 (CP6) so that Network Rail could remain within its funding envelope. Electrification of a major section of the route between London and Cardiff is due to be completed by December 2018, however, the delivery of electrification between Cardiff and Swansea has been pushed back to Control Period 6 (2019 to 2024).

Alongside the Hendy review, the UK Government asked for a review of lessons learnt from the planning of the CP5 rail enhancement programme. The Bowe Review, also published in November 2015, concluded that there was no single cause which led to the increases against cost estimates and the delivery delays but instead identified a number of factors including:

  • A lack of clarity of roles and governance among the Department for Transport (the Department), Network Rail and the Office of Rail and Road (ORR);
  • An unusually complex portfolio of schemes, which were subject to poor initial scope definition and ongoing ‘scope creep’ resulting in cost increases; and
  • Costing errors, unanticipated interdependencies, a lack of consideration given to deliverability, engineering issues and poorly managed supply chains.

National Audit Office report

The NAO report further examined the Great Western railway industry programme planning and delivery.

Key areas the report covers are:

  • The Department’s management of Great Western Improvements (Part Two);
  • Network Rail’s management of infrastructure works (Part Three); and
  • The impact of works delays to the electrification (Part Four).

Key findings

The NAO found that the Department did not plan and manage all elements of the industry programme in a sufficiently joined up way and that a schedule prepared for the programme in 2012 was unrealistic. The report also states that cost increases arose due to failings in Network Rail’s approach to planning and delivery, unrealistic assumptions in Network Rails 2014 cost estimate and over optimism about the productivity of new technology. As a result, electrification between Maidenhead and Cardiff is now expected to cost £2.8 billion, an increase of £1.2 billion (70%) against the estimated cost of the programme in 2014.

The report contains a revised benefit–cost ratio of 1.6:1 which, while within the Department’s ‘medium’ value-for-money range (using the Department’s methodology), represents a reduction from the Departments initial ‘high’ value for money ratio of 2.4:1.

Following the Department’s decision in May 2016 to procure all the Intercity Express trains as ‘bi-modes’ (capable of either diesel or electric operation), the NAO report calls into question whether the full extent of electrification under the programme is still value for money.

The NAO report concludes:

The Department’s failure to plan and manage all the projects which now make up the Great Western Route Modernisation industry programme in a sufficiently joined up way, combined with weaknesses in Network Rail’s management of the infrastructure programme, has led to additional costs for the taxpayer. The way in which the programme was delivered before 2015 cannot be said to have best protected value for money.

The modernisation of the route has potential to deliver significant benefits for passengers, but the Department’s assessment of value for money does not reflect recent developments, particularly changes to the train specification, and needs to be revisited. The Department and Network Rail have begun to improve the management of the programme. They have more to do to protect value for money in the future.

Implications for Wales

The NAO report recommended that ‘the Department should assess whether the full extent of electrification, as currently planned, is still value for money’. The implication of this recommendation for electrification west of Cardiff to Swansea, where uncertainty around the exact delivery date remains, is not clear.

The 4th Assembly’s Enterprise and Business Committee held an Inquiry into the Priorities for the future of Welsh Rail Infrastructure earlier this year. In its report (PDF, 898KB), the Committee said it shared the concerns of Professor Stuart Cole and others about the lack of hard dates for completion of the Cardiff to Swansea electrification following the Hendy review which delayed this section into CP6. The report further stated the view of Professor Cole that the benefit cost ratio for electrifying the Great Western Line between Cardiff and Swansea is weak if considered in isolation and that further delays would increase capital costs and could jeopardise the project.

Despite the Department for Transport’s reassurance that the overall commitment (of electrification to Swansea) is undiminished, the Committee heard of the then Minister for Economy, Science and Transport’s disappointment at the delay in electrification west of Cardiff, and the Committee expressed its belief that a ‘firm commitment and delivery date is required urgently’.

In response to the publication of the Enterprise and Business Committee’s report, the Welsh Government confirmed that it has sought assurances ‘from the Chair of Network Rail, the Secretary of State for Transport, and Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for Transport, on the delivery of the electrification of the South Wales Main Line to Swansea’.

Wales and Borders rail franchise: on the right track

19 October 2016

Article by Katy Orford, National Assembly for Wales Research Service

Darllenwch yr erthygl yma yn Gymraeg | View this post in Welsh


On 12 October the Cabinet Secretary for Economy and Infrastructure, Ken Skates, announced four Operator and Development Partner (ODP) bidders for the Wales and Boarders Franchise who have been chosen to progress to the next stage in the selection process.

In November 2014, agreement was reached with the UK Government that powers to award the next Wales and Borders franchise would be transferred to Welsh Ministers. The Welsh Government will become the official rail franchising authority for the Welsh franchise from early next year and preparations have begun for awarding the next franchise, which is due to start in October 2018.

At present, the majority of rail services in Wales are provided under the Wales and Borders franchise operated by Arriva Trains Wales (ATW). The contract was awarded in 2003 and is expected to end in 2018. A franchise agreement (PDF 3.7 MB) sets out the obligations of both ATW and Government. A Joint Parties’ Agreement (PDF 4.89MB) sets out how the Welsh and UK Government’s agreed to divide up responsibility for the franchise when the Welsh Government took over most franchise management obligations in April 2006.

This year, in preparation for the transfer of powers to Wales, the Welsh Government ran a consultation to establish the quality standards the public would wish to see for the next franchise. The 190 responses provided views on areas including reduced overall journey times, increased passenger numbers, reduced costs, capacity improvements, enhanced accessibility, better connectivity and improved punctuality, reliability and quality.

The next step is the procurement of an Operator and Development Partner (ODP) for the next franchise who will also take forward key aspects of the next stage of the metro system.

The selection process for the ODP has begun and is being undertaken by Transport for Wales, a wholly owned, not-for-profit company established by the Welsh Government (detailed below). On 12 October the Cabinet Secretary for Economy and Infrastructure, Ken Skates, announced four ODP bidders who have been chosen to progress to the next stage in the selection process. The four pre-qualified ODP bidders (in alphabetical order) are:

  • Abellio Rail Cymru
  • Arriva Rail Wales/Rheilffyrdd Arriva Cymru Limited
  • KeolisAmey
  • MTR Corporation (Cymru) Ltd

Bidders will now progress to the next competitive stage having demonstrated to the Welsh Government ‘a track record and appetite for providing high quality services as well as the financial standing and expertise to ensure delivery’. In his announcement the Cabinet Secretary stated that:

The priorities for the next franchise will include updated rolling stock, reduced journey times and the use of modern technology and approaches to deliver an improved service for passengers across Wales.

Transport for Wales will be publically consulting on proposals in early 2017, subject to that consultation process, it is anticipated that the final ODP contract will be awarded by January 2018.

This process is part of the Welsh Government’s stated ambition to deliver a new not-for-profit rail model similar to the way in which Transport for London manage public transport services. However, it is clear from the list of ODP bidders that, as in London, the companies delivering the services and Metro infrastructure won’t themselves be not-for-profit companies.

Transport for Wales

The relationship between the Welsh Government and Transport for Wales is governed by the following key documents as outlined in Wales Audit Office’s recent publication Welsh Government investment in rail services and infrastructure:

  • A delegation letter issued by the Permanent Secretary gives the Deputy Permanent Secretary for Economy, Skills and Natural Resources additional accounting officer responsibilities.
  • A Management Agreement between the Welsh Government and the company outlines the purpose of the company, its accountabilities and responsibilities.
  • A remit letter from the Welsh Government outlines the key objectives and outputs the company is expected to deliver (published last week).
  • A business plan, produced by the company, sets out the scope, the organisational structure, deliverables, timescales, costs and procurement programme for the Wales and Boarders franchise and south Wales Metro (published last week).

Transport for Wales’s board currently comprises of eight directors, (including the chair): five non-executive directors covering areas such as HR, finance, infrastructure delivery and governance, all of whom are Welsh Government employees; and three executive directors with expertise specific to their area of responsibility. The key objectives set out in the business plan are to:

  • Plan and propose the right mix of skills, experience and knowledge in the organisation required both to deliver franchise competition and in future to manage the franchise;
  • Develop proposals to enable the delivery of a significantly improved transportation system for the South Wales metro;
  • Advise on suitable and effective mechanisms for maximising the long-term efficiency of rail investment in Wales;
  • Advise on options for the next Wales and Borders franchise, so that the design of rail services better supports the Welsh Government’s economic and social ambitions;
  • Advise on investment options in terms of broader transport integration;
  • Assess the practicalities of a range of medium and long-term rail engineering investment options; and
  • To ensure that Welsh Government is fully informed on the progress against each of the KPIs on a quarterly basis.