Can I vote for smart ticketing ? – Part II

Yesterday, I looked at the Liberal Democrat manifesto and was surprised to find a series of detailed commitments with respect to transport, including a commitment to both smart and integrated ticketing.

Today, it is the turn of the Labour party. The first thing to note is that the Labour manifesto is a lot shorter than the Liberal Democrat manifesto – it’s almost half the length. Does this mean that there is less depth on transport ? Less detail maybe, but there are some significant themes and a lot of emphasis on the rail industry. Four of their five main pledges are related to the rail !

imageYou can download the Labour manifesto here. You have to click on “more issues” to bring up transport. Labour have five main transport policies. The BBC’s summary’s only draws out four pledges: freezing rail fares, allowing some public sector operation of the railways, support for HS2 & giving London-style powers to the city and county regions.

The actual extract from the manifesto is copied below:

  • Rail fares will be frozen next year to help commuters while we implement reforms. A strict cap will be introduced on every route for any future fare rises and a new legal right for passengers will be created to access the cheapest ticket for their journey.
  • We will legislate so that a public sector operator is allowed to take on rail lines and challenge the private train-operating companies on a level playing field.
  • We will review the franchising process to make sure the Tories’ franchising fiasco is never repeated.
  • We will create a new National Rail body to oversee and plan for the railways and give rail users a greater say in how trains operate.
  • City and county regions will have more control over the way buses are operated in their area. They will be able to decide routes, bear down on fares, drive improvements in services, and bring together trains, buses and trams into a single network with smart ticketing.

Even though this is only a few extra words, Labour’s presentation of their own policies throws up some quite important differences from the BBC summary. At the top-level, HS2 isn’t actually mentioned; but creation of a new National Rail body and reviewing the franchising process (yet again) is. The emphasis seems to be on the strict cap on rail fares and a legal right for the passengers to access the cheapest ticket fare. I’d like to see what this actually means and how different it is to plans already being implemented within the industry.

Also, the rhetoric used to introduce the “public sector operator” suggests that the changes could be rather significant: “Labour will reform our transport system in order to provide more public control and put the public interest first.”

What about smart ticketing ?

Again, I was surprised to see specific mention of smart and integrated ticketing. There appears to be some cross-party consensus between the Labour party and the Liberal Democrats, as Labour are also pushing for integrated transport in city and county regions through the integration into a single network and, again, they select smart ticketing as one of the ways that they want to achieve this.

Perhaps, I’ll struggle not to be able to vote for smart ticketing ??? Find out what the Conservatives have to say tomorrow …

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