DfT backs user in­ter­ests in its re­sponse to Pe­ri­odic Re­view

Rail (UK) - - Network News -

The Depart­ment for Trans­port says it “strongly sup­ports” the Of­fice of Rail and Road’s over­all ob­jec­tive for its 2018 Pe­ri­odic Re­view (PR18), par­tic­u­larly the fo­cus on users’ in­ter­ests.

In its re­sponse to a con­sul­ta­tion on the re­view, the DfT says it wants to en­sure the needs of rail­way users “are placed at the heart of the rail­way”, and that it sup­ports prin­ci­ples un­der­ly­ing a move to­wards a route-based reg­u­la­tory regime.

It also says the re­view is likely to re­sult in a much higher-level High Level Out­put Spec­i­fi­ca­tion and State­ment of Funds Avail­able - this will fo­cus on the “steady state” costs of the rail­way, meet­ing gov­ern­ment com­mit­ments to projects in the En­hance­ments De­liv­ery Plan and projects deemed crit­i­cal to pre­vent se­ri­ous de­te­ri­o­ra­tion dis­rup­tion to ser­vices.

Out­puts spec­i­fied by the DfT could also change, with spec­i­fi­ca­tions that em­pha­sise out­comes for users - such as in­creased ca­pac­ity or faster jour­ney times - rather than spe­cific projects. The DfT is also eval­u­at­ing spec­i­fy­ing “per­for­mance tra­jec­to­ries”, rather than spe­cific tar­gets.

How­ever, it adds that it would be “help­ful” if is­sues re­lat­ing to High Speed 2 could be given greater promi­nence within fu­ture ma­te­rial, point­ing out that much of the con­struc­tion for Phase 1 of the route will take place dur­ing Con­trol Pe­riod 6 (2019-24). The DfT would also like the ORR to place a greater em­pha­sis on po­ten­tial op­tions for pri­vate in­vest­ments, and in en­cour­ag­ing innovation in the rail sec­tor.

Other points made about the PR18 process in­clude the im­por­tance of work­ing with stake­hold­ers such as Trans­port Fo­cus, which can pro­vide an in­formed view of user pref­er­ences and be­hav­iour, sup­port­ing in­vest­ment and skills, and station li­cenc­ing and ac­cess charg­ing. The Depart­ment also sug­gests that learn­ing lessons from other util­ity sec­tors can help en­sure “ef­fec­tive route­based reg­u­la­tion and an ef­fec­tive sys­tem oper­a­tor”.

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