London TravelWatch has called on the Government to put passengers at the heart of changes to the rail industry, with more services provided locally by Transport for London (TfL) and an increased focus on multi-modal journeys.

London’s independent passenger watchdog has responded to the Williams Rail Review  commissioned by the Government. One of the key recommendations it makes is to give more input to local communities and transport authorities when planning and providing rail services. In London this means further devolution of rail services to Transport for London (TfL). Other recommendations include:

  • recognising that passengers needs vary greatly depending on whether they are making local, regional, inter-city or urban rail journeys
  • rail needs to be seen as but one mode in a whole transport network, particularly in London where people often use several modes to make a journey
  • improving accountability and clarifying responsibilities so that it is clear to the public and the rail industry what the Department for Transport is trying to achieve
  • taking advantage of opportunities to appeal to those who currently choose not to use the railways, particularly by utilising the railway at non-congested times and on off peak services.

Arthur Leathley, Chair of London TravelWatch commented: ‘It is clear that the needs of passengers vary greatly according to journey type and length and frequency of travel and we hope that this is reflected in this review. We have argued for some time that the best way to provide suburban rail services in the area we represent is to devolve responsibility to Transport for London. London Overground has been extremely successful connecting communities and increasing ridership where it has taken on commuter services. Devolving rail powers to TfL would bring suburban services into a wider, more comprehensive transport and planning policy framework, with consistent fares and more logical services better serving outer London communities. It would also improve accountability and value for money.’