On Thursday 12th December the British people once again took to the polls and excised their political duty, a climax which saw Boris Johnson’s Conservative party clinch a historic victory to retain power in Westminster.
The Conservative manifesto was stacked to the rafters with policies, promises and proposals concerning many different sectors of society. However, with environmental threats becoming ever more present by the day, along with rising congestion and populations projected to increase to around 78 million by 2050, cleaner and more effective transport proposals were high on the agenda.
The Tories have said they are committed to investing £4.32 billion into local transport across England, with local leaders in eight areas deciding how to spend the money and have pledged to invest in more frequent buses with low, flat fares in urban areas. They have also proposed plans to better integrate public transport modes including buses, trains and trams. Expected completion of these proposals is set for after 2040. They also wish to achieve zero-carbon by 2050 in line with the rest of the worlds active attempt to combat climate change.
With the political jousting over, the new Conservative government will look to carry out the following tasks set out in their election manifesto…
- End rail franchising and create a simpler, more effective system – This will have a similar structure to that currently operating in London, whereby Transport for London (TFL) signs management contracts with private sector transport providers, who receive an agreed fee for their services. This model would be rolled out via a series of regional bodies such as Transport for West Midlands.
- Invest £29bn in strategic roads – This is an old investment pledged back in 2018 by the then chancellor, Philip Hammond and has remained on the agenda,
- Build a “northern powerhouse” rail line between Leeds and Manchester,
- Invest in the Midlands, South West and East Anglia rail hubs – Specifically, the Midlands hub will be strengthening links including between Birmingham, Leicester and Nottingham,
- Extend contactless ticketing to 200 more stations – The majority of which will be set up in the south-east,
- Consult on whether to go ahead with HS2 rail project – Their manifesto points out that this will now cost “at least £81bn”,
- £500m allocated to restore many of the rail lines closed down during the Beeching cuts in the 1960s – with the aim of reconnecting small towns,
- £600m for infrastructure to support electric vehicles – Over a six-year period
These proposals seem to highlight at a need for better public transport connectivity across the country although it remains to be seen whether these policies will work their way into fruition.
There is no doubt that new and improving technologies will have their part to play in the changes that are desperately needed in the public transport industry and uTrack as a company will ever seek to be aligned with the continual vision to improve public transport for everyone regardless of political agenda.