TfL becomes more transparent

TfL is reinforcing its commitment to improve transparency for customers and stakeholders by making a range of previously unpublished information available on its website. More contracts, details of expenditure and ‘most requested’ data is now to be routinely published on TfL’s website. As a result, data will now be presented each quarter on: Oyster card deposits, balances and incomplete journeys; road safety; Congestion Charge payments and penalty charges, including outstanding payments from embassies; Barclays Cycle Hire usage and availability; and performance on responding to FOIA requests. All expenditure of more than £250 will also be published, improving on the previous reporting threshold of £500.


Capital’s cashless payment consultation

TfL has launched a public consultation seeking customers’ views on proposals to withdraw cash fare payments on London buses by 2014. This year cash fares are estimated to make up less than 1% of bus journeys, down from 25% in 2000. Paying with Oyster or a contactless payment card guarantees the cheapest fare, currently £1 less than paying by cash. According to TfL, making this change would benefit all customers by speeding up boarding times at stops and reducing delays. It claims it would also help it deliver up to £24m per annum of savings, which it says would then be reinvested in improving the transport network. The authority cites research that suggests those that do pay by cash on the capital’s buses do so because they have insufficient funds on their Oyster card. TfL is also looking to introduce a new Oyster feature that will allow passengers to make one more bus journey if there are insufficient funds on their smartcard.

MD for TfL Surface Transport, Leon Daniels, said, ‘The proposals we are consulting on reflect the changing way that our customers pay for their journeys, with the vast majority now benefiting from the best possible fares and the convenience that Oyster and contactless payment cards deliver. It costs £24m a year to accept cash on buses and with so few customers paying cash it makes sense for us to consider removing it.’

The consultation closes on 11 October 2013.

Bidders announced for London fare collection

TfL has announced the shortlisted bidders for the contract to supply fare collection to the London transport network. They are: Cubic Transportation Systems Ltd, LG CNS Co CNF and Scheidt & Bachmann GmbH. The winner will be named by October 2014, with the new contract commencing from August 2015 upon the expiry of TfL’s current settlement for ticketing systems. The contract term is for seven years with an early exit option at five years and extension options of up to three years. The contractor will assume responsibility for the provision and maintenance of front and back office revenue collection systems for all of TfL’s services at 400 Tube, DLR and London Overground stations, 250 National Rail stations in London and an off-system retail network of 4,000 Oyster agents. This includes ensuring that all of the gates are maintained and available and that Oyster readers on buses and at stations, platforms and retail outlets are working reliably.

TfL recognises outstanding staff

Outstanding customer service and actions above and beyond the call of duty were celebrated at the London Bus Awards. The awards honour London bus staff who have displayed outstanding commitment and professionalism during the course of their work. Seven awards were presented, recipients including a Barking bus driver who helped a baby who had stopped breathing, a team who provide exceptional engineering performance and the team from Transport for London (TfL) who helped keep buses moving during the Games.
Leon Daniels, TfL’s Managing Director of Surface Transport said: ‘The London Bus Awards are very special to me as they acknowledge the incredible and often unsung hard work of the thousands of bus drivers and support staff that help keep London moving.  London Buses are carrying record numbers of passengers and our staff continue to provide a fabulous service – these awards are celebrating this. This is our way of thanking the drivers and other staff who go above and beyond the call of duty and show true dedication and commitment to their passengers.’
This year’s winners were:
Steve Sobers of Arriva (Barking) actions above and beyond the call of duty. He won the award for He was driving on route 491 to North Middlesex Hospital when he noticed a young mother clearly in distress with a young baby in her arms standing outside the medical health centre. Clearly worried, but unsure what was wrong, Steve stopped his bus to see if could help to find that the baby had stopped breathing. He began administering mouth to mouth to the baby while kicking on the door of the health centre to raise the alarm. Mother and baby are now both well.
Jade Sanfelix of CT Plus (Ash Grove) won the Big Red Book Award for outstanding customer service, which recognises those who excel at all levels of customer service, putting the passenger first at all times in areas such as safety, accessibility and communications.
Stagecoach’s Barking Garage took the Best Vehicle Care category, which recognises those who take pride in the condition of their buses, setting the standard for cleanliness and providing a safe, comfortable, welcoming environment for passengers.
The Bus Operations, TfL Games Time Boarding Team, which is co-ordinated by Peter Skilton, with Gary Cooper, Derek Roberts and Glenn Michaels won the
On the road support for TfL staff category which recognises the achievements of TfL staff who work well with passengers and consistently provide assistance and support.
Euphema Wallace of Metroline (Cricklewood) won the Big Red Book award for an Accessibility Champion who proactively demonstrates that they understand the barriers to travel for older/disabled passengers and ways they can address these to enable them to feel the bus is a reliable, convenient and accessible means of travel.
Nadia Nobrega of Go Ahead (Stockwell) was recognised as the Outstanding Newcomer, an award that recognises those with less than two years experience in the industry who stand out from their peers.
The Environmental Champions were Stagecoach’s Catford Garage Green Team The award recognises those who have made a real change that goes above and beyond the company policy and ‘business as usual’ approach to sustainability and environmental issues within their organisation. Work at Catford has to the led to the initiatives being rolled out to the whole of Stagecoach UK.

TfL’s new framework agreements

TfL is developing a new set of six framework agreements for professional services. They are expected to deliver value for fare and tax payers whilst helping improve the delivery of a multi billion pound transport improvements programme. TfL believes they will enable it to continue delivering its operational goals efficiently, effectively and economically whilst maintaining and improving the delivery of front line services for a capital with a growing population. The current framework agreements have saved TfL £6m in costs over a three and a half year period. It is expected similar if not improved savings will be achieved with the new framework agreements. The new frameworks are also designed to set the standard terms and conditions and to also cap rates which would lead to lowering administration costs across the public sector.

TfL’s new frameworks are expected to enable it to support small to medium sized enterprises (SMEs) through the awarding of contracts, potentially leading to job creation across the supply chain. New figures released by TfL show that it has created 40,000 jobs outside London and 19,000 jobs in the capital through its supply chain. The frameworks can also be used by the GLA groups and London Boroughs and could save the other organisations from going through the same process, through sharing of suppliers thereby delivering better use of public money.

1m contactless payments in London

1m bus journeys in London have now been paid for using contactless debit, credit or charge cards, four months after they were introduced. The number of people paying this way has continued to rise each week. From 2,061 people making 2,586 journeys on the first day on 13 December 2012, up to 10,000 people are now making as many as 16,000 journeys each day. Around 1,000 new contactless payment cards are touched on to the readers on London’s 8,500 buses every day. Daily price capping does not apply to current bus users of contactless payment cards, but once the technology is rolled out to the wider transport network, daily and weekly price capping will be introduced. Plans progress for the roll out of contactless payments on to the Tube, DLR, London Overground and trams at the end of the year.

Over the last eight weeks, the top five bus routes for contactless payments have been route 38 from Clapton Pond to Victoria, route 73 from Victoria to Stoke Newington, route 55 from Leyton to Oxford Circus, route 243 from Wood Green to Waterloo and route 149 from Edmonton Green to London Bridge. The top five bus stops where passengers have boarded and touched in with their contactless payment card over the last eight weeks have been London Bridge/Duke Street Hill, Angel Station/Duncan Street, Tottenham Court Road Station/New Oxford Street, King’s Cross Station/Euston Road and Shoreditch High Street/Bethnal Green Road.

 TfL’s Director of Customer Experience, Shashi Verma, said, ‘Paying for a bus fare should be as easy as buying a sandwich. Enabling customers to use their contactless payment card on the buses removes the inconvenience of needing to top up an Oyster card or dig around for cash before making a journey. It is fantastic that we’ve already seen a million bus journeys made using a contactless payment cards and it’s a great sign that our customers are keen to benefit from this technology. We are now working hard to roll contactless payments out to the rest of the transport network.’