Venue: The Council Chamber, County Hall, Wakefield
Apologies for absence
Apologies for absence were received from Councillor Mathew Morley, Public Representatives, Usman Ali and Thomas Randall.
Declarations of Disclosable Pecuniary Interests
Transport Committee members only.
There were no declarations of disclosable pecuniary interests declared by members at the meeting.
Exempt Information - Possible exclusion of the press and public
There we no items requiring the exemption of the press and public.
Open session for members of the public to ask a question, raise a concern or provide feedback.
Baghill Station Pontefract
A request was received from Public Representative David Hogg to raise an issue regarding Baghill Station, at the Open Forum.
The open forum item has been established so that members of the public, in addition those formally appointed to the committees, can come along and raise any transport related issues. The aim for the Open Forum is that officers from the West Yorkshire Combined Authority in attendance can respond to any questions on the day and if that if that is not possible, take them away and provide a response by email.
Mr Hogg raised his concerns and said that calls are being made to upgrade the station and questioned the level of service. A representative from Northern Rail responded to say that the service through the station is growing and feeds stations further up the line and that at present there is no rolling stock or people available to increase the level of service, but said he would feedback the concerns and comments back to Northern Rail.
The platform itself is in a good condition but the station building is now boarded up and has become a magnet for vandals The building is of architectural interest and is cherished by the local community in Pontefract. The building has not had ticket-selling staff for decades and was occupied until recently by the Driving and Vehicle Standards Agency. It was established that Network Rail are the owners and the representative from Northern Rail will provide contact details.
Mr Hogg said he would continue to raise awareness and has close connections with the Rail User Group and Pontefract Civic Society and will pursue with the local council.
The Chair thanked Mr Hogg for bringing his concerns to the District Consultation Sub Committee and said the item will be brought back to the next meeting to be held on 19 March 2020.
(i) Northern Rail to provide Network Rail Contact details re the Building at Baghill Station
(ii) Baghill Station item to be brought back to the next meeting of the District Consultation Sub Committee on 19 March 2020.
(iii) Northern Rail Representation to take back to Northern Rail the comments and feedback provided in connection with the service at Baghill Station.
Appointment of Deputy Chair
Resolved: That the proposal for Usman Ali to continue as Deputy Chair was agreed by the sub-committee.
Resolved: That the minutes of the meeting held on the 14 February 2019 be approved.
The Chair has received a request from public representative Thomas Randall to step down from the District Consultation Sub-Committee.
The Chair also provided updates on devolution and the impact on the operation of bus services, Arriva and First Group
The start and end times of the District Consultation Sub-Committee in Wakefield as Councillor Kim Groves, the Chair of the Transport Committee has asked for feedback from members if it was felt that the efficient running of the meeting was affected.
Operators were invited to give their updates to the Sub-Committee.
· Service 110 – 111 It was confirmed that new buses have now been rolled out and that a further seven are on the way which will improve carbon emissions.
· Service 268 – There are now better connections and with effect from 28 October there are to be service changes.
· Service 481 has been rebranded and the route has been changed slightly.
· Arriva are continuing to improve services 148, 149, 444, 446, and 425.
· An advertising campaign has been launched to encourage travel by bus and a consultation re service provision.
Members asked the following questions with reference to:
· Experimental exercise to Xscape, Castleford
· Diversions and roadworks and the public being alerted of delays to the service.
A representative from Arriva said that there was an incredible amount of roadworks at the moment which is putting pressure on the bus companies.
Performance has not been encouraging but Northern are continuing to work with other operators and Network Rail.
The addition of new trains to the rolling stock have been encouraging and popular and have provided a step up in quality. Drivers and conductors have received training to operate the new trains.
The new trains will mean an end to the Pacer although there will be a short term retention to continue to provide service on lighter used routes and will be used on early and late services as trains have to go to Newcastle for maintenance. All Pacer trains will be removed by May 2020.
The December timetable is going to deliver faster journey times and Network Rail improvements will also help facilitate this.
The Department of Transport scheme for stations is currently running and bids have been submitted by Northern with the Combined Authority.
Network Rail are undertaking heavy maintenance over the Christmas period.
Members raised the following points
· To publicise why there are train delays
· Ticket machines are not working. There is not enough capacity to get tickets
· There are no ticket offices in this part of the region
· Takes too long to obtain tickets and is too complicated.
· Ticket machine will not issue a tickets if the train is due in five minutes
· Difficult for non-rail users
· Queues are too big
· Poor Customer service
· Obtaining a ticket needs to be dramatically simplified.
· Delay pay claims are being submitted due to poor service which is appalling
· Real time app tells when the train has left Doncaster Station
· The doorway area on the new trains is too big
· Nothing to hold on to in the doorway area which is unsafe
· Problems with announcements and platform length
· Cars parked on Monkhill Station access road are having windows broken
· Train information display not working
· Concessionary pass ticket option has disappeared.
· Signal Box at Batley
All the points raised have been noted by the operator and Northern will provide feedback on all the issues raised.
Resolved: That the operator updates and sub-Committee feedback be noted.
Dave Pearson, Director of Transport Services, West Yorkshire Combined Authority, provided a brief presentation on the West Yorkshire Bus Alliance which aims to put customers at the heart of improving services, keeping business moving and developing a sustainable bus network. The Alliance brings together the Combined Authority, the local authorities of West Yorkshire and the bus operators including Arriva, First, Transdev and smaller operators
The Sub-Committee provided feedback as follows:-
· Members expressed broad support with the aims of the Bus Alliance and felt it is going in the right direction
· Concern was raised regarding the impact that congestion could have on the aims of the alliance.
· Members questioned how the success of the Bus Alliance would be measured and were informed that as well as through patronage figures the success would also be monitored through a customer survey.
· Invest in Infrastructure
· That Members would provide further feedback
Resolved: That the Sub-Committee’s feedback be noted.
Members considered a report which gave an update on matters relating to the Wakefield district and also included notes of the joint District Consultation Sub-Committee discussion on bus information and December rail timetable changes.
Resolved: That the information report be noted.