Subject: London Transport Users Committee – Update Report Number: Date: 22 July 2004 Report to: Transport Committee Report of: Director, London Transport Users Committee 1. Summary 1.1 This report provides members with an update of recent activities of London Transport Users Committee (LTUC) and its out-turn performance against the targets set in 2003-04 Business Plan, together with a financial report for the 12 months ended the 31st of march 2004. 2. Finance 2.1 LTUC’s budget from the GLA for 2003 - 04 was set at £1,289,000, to which is added an estimated £20,415 as recompense from the Rail Passengers Council (RPC) in respect of work done on rail safety matters for the Rail Passengers Council/Committee network on two days per week by LTUC’s Deputy Director. LTUC budgeted for expenditure totalling £1,310,368, the difference of £953 was to be funded from reserves. 2.2 The actual receipts from the RPC for the year were £26,373. In addition LTUC received £1,037 interest on its Business High Interest Account. 2.3 A summary of LTUC’s income and expenditure for the year can be found in appendix A to this report. The summary shows that as at 31 March 2004, LTUC had spent £1,316,457 compared with income of £1,316,410. LTUC’s Chair’s Panel approves virements as necessary to balance budget heads. The principal variations between budget and out-turn can be found (a) in the pay budget which was under spent because there were periods in the year when LTUC had staff vacancies waiting to be filled, and (b) the accommodation budget which was overspent because LTUC had expected to set the whole of the rent-free period negotiated in respect of the new offices against its 2002-03 and 2003-04 budgets. However, during last year’s audit (after the 2003-04 budget had been agreed) the auditors advised that, under accounting rules, the benefit has to be spread over the length of the lease. 2.4 LTUC’s accounts are about to be audited and full, accruals-based, accounts will be presented to the Committee, probably in mid- September. 2.5 During the year LTUC adopted SAGE as its IT accounting package and its accounts are now fully computerised. 2.6 Following receipt of questions from the GLA’s Head of Core Finance on the Governance Report submitted by LTUC, discussions are taking place with the auditors to consider whether any additional internal procedures need to be put in place to ensure best practice in respect of good governance. Complaints Handling 3.1 During 2003-04 LTUC received 60% more appeals cases than it had received in 2002-03. The increase is almost wholly due to the effects of the Chancery Lane derailment. However, as predicted when LTUC presented its last report to Transport Committee, that was a blip and this year new appeals are running at approximately the same level as was the case in 2002-03. This experience does, however, demonstrate that LTUC’s casework workload is entirely dependent on factors outside its control. New cases received 1.4.02 – 31.3.03 1103 New cases received 1.4.03 – 31.3.04 1762 Actual increase in new cases 2003-04 659 Over 2002-03 % increase 2003-04 over 2002-03 60% Cases finalised 1.4.02 – 31.3.03 1219 Cases finalised 1.4.03 – 31.3.04 1885 Actual increase in cases finalised by LTUC 666 % increase in cases finalised by LTUC 55% 3.2 LTUC is currently checking data to be able to include accurate figures in its annual report as to the amount of money it has secured for complainants in 2003- 04. It will be in excess of £70,000. This compares with a total of £11,212 in 2002-03. In addition, in both years LTUC secured a number of free tickets and other forms of compensation, the value of which is difficult to determine. 2003-04 was an exceptional year because of the Chancery Lane derailment. Nearly £62,000 of the money secured by LTUC related to the Chancery Lane incident and it is unlikely that the same high levels of compensation will be secured in the current year. 3.3 LTUC sets great store in trying to meet complainants aspirations vis-à-vis the handling of complaints. LTUC believes that this is the best measure of its success with transport users and this and future reports will concentrate on this as the measure by which LTUC is judged. Every final reply sent to an appellant is accompanied by a questionnaire and six-monthly reports are prepared for LTUC members analysing the replies received. Two of the questions asked specifically relate to matters within LTUC’s direct control. 3.4 Question 1: How satisfied were you with the way LTUC handled your concerns? Answer on a weighted scale ranging from 100 (= 100% ‘very satisfied’) to 0 (= 100% ‘very dissatisfied) Oct 02 to March 03 April 03 to Sept 03 Oct 03 to March 04 75 74 83 3.5 The figure of 83 is the highest level of satisfaction that LTUC and its predecessor Committee have achieved since records began in October 1993. 3.6 Question 2: How quickly did LTUC deal with your concerns? Answer on a weighted scale where 100 (= 100% ‘very quickly’) to 0 (= 100% ‘much too slowly’) Oct 02 to March 03 April 03 to Sept 03 Oct 03 to March 04 75 57 67 3.7 The score of 67 represents a 10 points increase over the past six months. LTUC has continued to employ a part-time member of staff on a full-time basis for most of this period to deal with the level of casework currently being presented. However, staff sickness has impacted on LTUC’s ability to get back fully to the satisfaction levels that were achieved prior to the Chancery Lane incident. Policy Development 4.1 LTUC completed its planned policy development programme for 2003 – 04 in line with its Business Plan objectives and most of the reports were published by the end of the financial year. The remaining two reports will have been published by the time that Transport Committee meets. 4.2 The report ‘When is a train not a train?’ on rail replacement bus services has resulted in London Underground arranging a seminar later this month to take forward LTUC’s findings. All Train Operating Companies operating in the London area are being invited. 4.3 The report ‘Where is this?’ – an audit of station name signs – has been well received and a number of train operators have approached LTUC to take forward its concerns. 4.4 The reports ‘Whose station am I?’ on the requirements of and problems encountered by passengers at stations jointly served by London Underground and the national railways, and ‘Fare deals for London?’ reviewing the pricing of rail travel in the capital will be published over the coming days. LTUC is confident that the finding in both documents will contribute to changes in transport which will benefit people travelling by rail in and around London. 4.5 One project that LTUC advised in its last report would be carried through to the current year is now making good progress. This relates to problematic bus routes. After consultation with London Assembly members, local authorities and its own members, LTUC has selected routes 123, 263 and the G1 for a study which will involve volunteers being asked to complete a diary of their travel experience, followed by focus groups at locations along the lines of route. The object is to assess the impact of corridors being wholly reliant on the operation of a single bus route. This study results from long-standing complaints about poor performance on route 263, which is the only means of public transport between East and North Finchley and the only bus service between East Finchley and Highgate station. LTUC plans to complete this project in time to publish its report in October in line with its current Business Plan commitment. 4.6 LTUC is in discussions with staff in the Assembly’s Secretariat to consider how its policy development reports might be given a wider airing at City Hall. 4.7 LTUC is actively involved in the rail re-franchising process. It is working jointly with the Rail Passengers Committee for Southern England, the Corporation of London and Transport for London to press for changes to the proposed Integrated Kent franchise. It is working with the Rail Passengers Committee for Scotland, North Eastern England and Eastern England to secure the best deal for the new East Coast Main Line franchise. 4.8 LTUC is actively contributing as a member of the Stakeholder Fora for the Strategic Rail Authority’s (SRA) Regional Planning Assessments for Kent and for Eastern England. It is also providing input to the SRA’s work on Route Utilisation Strategies in and around London. 4.9 LTUC is involved with the London 2012 Olympic Forum pressing for the best possible transport arrangements should that bid be successful. LTUC is also keen to ensure that any transport improvements secured as part of the bid will have a legacy benefit for London. 4.10 LTUC is continuing to lead the work of London Buses ‘Bus Design Forum’. The Chair of LTUC chairs the Forum. 4.11 LTUC’s ‘Station Champions’ are continuing to work with Network Rail to secure improvements to the 11 ‘Major Stations’ in the LTUC area. A process has been put in place to identify common themes which might be taken up with Network Rail centrally. Communications 5.1 LTUC has circulated its new publicity leaflet widely in its area and requests continue to be received for further supplies. It has been well received, for example by MPs’ constituency assistants who have indicated that they will find it a useful tool in dealing with constituents’ complaints about public transport. 5.2 LTUC is nearing completion of work to refresh its web site. 5.3 LTUC is liasing with the Rail Passengers Council on its nationwide proposals to promote the Rail Passengers Committees, including LTUC, as the first port of call for passengers concerns. There are major financial implications for LTUC in being involved in this project, however, there may be implications in the project going ahead with London left out. LTUC understands that both Ministers and the SRA are keen for the project to go ahead. LTUC’s 2005 – 06 Business Plan will provide for its involvement in the project and discussions on the funding implications more properly fit into that forum. 5.4 As part of its continuing work to inform itself about local transport aspirations LTUC members have met with members of the London Forum of Civic and Amenity Societies. 5.5 LTUC members and senior staff continue to play an active role as members of local authority transport consultative committees. 5.6 LTUC’s offices are located in the City of London. LTUC has been invited to serve on the City of London’s Local Strategic Partnership – ‘The City Together’. LTUC’s Director has been elected Vice Chairman of the Partnership. Social Inclusion, transport integration and environmental protection 6.1 LTUC continues to work with transport providers to secure improvements to the transport network to make it more socially inclusive. For example, the Bus Design Forum is specifically looking at the needs of different people when using bus services and, through the Rail Passengers Council and Committee network, LTUC is pressing for improvements to train design to meet the needs of people with differing disabilities. 6.2 LTUC continues to work London Buses to consider the demand for public transport on Christmas Day. 6.3 LTUC’s policy development reports referred to above have addressed a number of integration issues. 6.4 LTUC has installed an induction loop at the reception in its offices and has installed radio hearing assistance in its meeting rooms. Chair of LTUC 7.1 Suzanne May has written to the London Assembly giving three months notice of her intention to resign as Chair from the 17th of September 2004. Suzanne will have served on LTUC and its predecessor body, the London Regional Passengers Committee (LRPC) for 19 years having first been appointed to LRPC in 1985. Suzanne was appointed by Ministers as a Deputy Chair of LRPC in 1990 and remained in that post until the abolition of LRPC in 2000. Suzanne has been Chair of LTUC since its inception. 7.2 Suzanne May was appointed a member of the new British Transport Police Authority on the 1st of July 2004.
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