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This ere rail strike then.

buz_not_buzz

Occasional Poster
On a general note I see a lot is understandably made of dwindling passenger numbers & revenues largely as a result of the Pandemic but I would say the figures suggest a steady recovery up until the last quarter of the measurement period (Jan/Feb/Mar) [a quarter which showed a small drop though that was in keeping with pre-pandemic patterns] with journeys over the whole year - a year that included only a gradual reopening - of just under 60% of pre-pandemic levels (& back at the levels of circa 2000) & revenues at nearly 55% (when measured at November 2021 prices). A big, big drop for sure but I am less convinced that it is a terminal one (my own experience as a light rail user these days - occasionally for work, mostly for football & other leisure activities - is of packed trains, some very packed).

Changing work patterns are clearly going to have an impact (flexible season ticketing one approach to that one) but I think that this is also an opportunity for the operating companies if it results in extra capacity at what are/were considered peak times. How many people have decided against using the train because of relatively prohibitive costs at the times they want to travel & therefore don't even bother checking now or because their experience is of uncomfortably packed trains because everybody is squeezing onto the first off-peak ones? A number of peak trains on what is now EMR were absolutely rammed with season ticket holders but as the "peak time" period increased it wasn't uncommon for a significant number of trains to be two thirds empty as people were priced off them. I think there is plenty of opportunity there (not least considering other current ongoing factors).

I recognise that the Strike will be a serious setback to recovery & that there is very little incentive for the TOCs in particular to look at more than the short term (i.e. cost reductions) but a nearly a [American] billion rail journeys & growing over the past year suggests the demand is still there and how we invest to meet the full demand (HS2 not withstanding) is at least as an important a discussion to be having as where can costs be reduced.
 

What?

Roofer
Rail Times suggests 72% of commuters have returned and leisure travel is at almost 90%. Every piece of data is suggesting that there is little prospect of moving above 80% of pre pandemic levels for some time to come

The commuters are the ones paying peak fares and buying season tickets, the missing 28% are having a big impact on the viability of the railway.

The problem is it's the last 20% where the break even point is, the railways have already had a vast amount of money to support it through the pandemic and WFH has become the norm (encouraged by many unions) Most of the railway still needs public money to support it so now is hardly the best time to ask for more money to actually carry less passengers.

The railway industry must now make use of modern technology to increase efficiency, unfortunately it will probably mean less people employed, I hope it can be done through natural wastage
 

buz_not_buzz

Occasional Poster
Fire and hire is never acceptable even if it is done through the proper process of redundancies where redundancy pay can be a form of compensation. A lot of the workforce were in place during BR days, when they were "transferred" to their new employers they were able to keep their existing terms and conditions.
It's a very messy situation, it is important that people have the actual facts and not a version of the truth that suits the agenda of either side
Sure, I was interested to understand what your view was given your comment as I am sure that you know that some may take the opposite view. And, yes, it is messy and the whole truth would be nice but I suspect it will remain an absent friend in this situation so we are left with what information is out there as well our beliefs, prejudices & experiences (which is why I am broadly supportive of the action but in terms of the specifics on pay with caution depending on what the union would settle for & I am more concerned with potential conditions attached to such a deal but, again, actual facts are substituted by umbrella terms such as "efficiencies" & "modernisation").
 

buz_not_buzz

Occasional Poster
The commuters are the ones paying peak fares and buying season tickets, the missing 28% are having a big impact on the viability of the railway.
Yes, it is having a big impact which is why I am suggesting TOCs need to look more closely at how they fill the void. Hoping that the demand profile of the travelling public at traditional peak times will return to what it was is doomed to failure I suspect but that doesn't mean people won't want to travel at those times. And as for Season tickets, when I did it they were always effectively discounted which is why people buy them (not that it felt like a great deal as it was substantial sum of money [thankfully had company help for that] it but I was paying 50% of peak fares when I was doing it).
 

buz_not_buzz

Occasional Poster
The railway industry must now make use of modern technology to increase efficiency, unfortunately it will probably mean less people employed, I hope it can be done through natural wastage
By the way, my own comment re: "efficiencies" & "modernisation" was made without reference to this which I hadn't read when I posted. As for natural wastage, isn't that one of the supposed points about the current action? A suggestion by the unions that they have been made aware of an intent to make compulsory redundancies? Are they suggesting absolutely no reduction in workforce will be tolerated? I know they are highly critical of some of the areas where those reductions are to be made (some of which if true I share).
 

What?

Roofer
Less people employed = less union subs so they will never "welcome" a reduction in the workforce.

Modern technology almost always means the most expensive commodity (people) can be dispensed with, if rail is to compete with air it will have to lose some of it's old fashioned custom and practice ways. The ticket office is the classic example where people buy on line or from a machine, the helpful bloke behind the glass is no longer required, a shame (for us ode gits) but a brutal fact.

Who am I to say that people don't deserve a pay rise, I just think their timing is wrong (the telly keeps telling us we're skint) so to ask for more public money right now is not going to be popular, remember most people outside of the big cities don't use trains so being asked to subsidise them is never going to be popular. TfL has had loads of money chucked at it and now the staff are demanding more, it's not a good look.
 
Less people employed = less union subs so they will never "welcome" a reduction in the workforce.

Modern technology almost always means the most expensive commodity (people) can be dispensed with, if rail is to compete with air it will have to lose some of it's old fashioned custom and practice ways. The ticket office is the classic example where people buy on line or from a machine, the helpful bloke behind the glass is no longer required, a shame (for us ode gits) but a brutal fact.

Who am I to say that people don't deserve a pay rise, I just think their timing is wrong (the telly keeps telling us we're skint) so to ask for more public money right now is not going to be popular, remember most people outside of the big cities don't use trains so being asked to subsidise them is never going to be popular. TfL has had loads of money chucked at it and now the staff are demanding more, it's not a good look.
So skint the politicians have given themselves a plus £2k a year pay rise. The same politicians who are telling everyone else to take a real terms pay cut.
 

hackneyfox

Non-Member
HS2 and the increase in local train services will mean a lot more people outside the cities will have a lot more trains to use.

Looking at the queues for info from the helpful bloke/woman tells me that they are clearly still needed. Ticket machines don't tell you what options you have.
 

What?

Roofer
HS2 will go from London to Birmingham non stop - not a lot of use if you live somewhere else, local services have increased but if the train doesn't go to the place you want to be in it's not much use.

Some ticket offices will always be needed but there also loads which do very little trade, the internet has sadly buggered customer service
 

hackneyfox

Non-Member
HS2 will go from London to Birmingham non stop - not a lot of use if you live somewhere else, local services have increased but if the train doesn't go to the place you want to be in it's not much use.

Some ticket offices will always be needed but there also loads which do very little trade, the internet has sadly buggered customer service
If the express trains run on a new track (HS2) then you can now run extra local services from all stations.



Totally agree about customer service
 

buz_not_buzz

Occasional Poster
Less people employed = less union subs so they will never "welcome" a reduction in the workforce.
I didn't say they would "welcome" them though.
remember most people outside of the big cities don't use trains so being asked to subsidise them is never going to be popular
Leaving aside the question of the percentage of people who live outside of a big city who may or may not utilise the rail system and to what extent, whilst I grant you that subsidising the railway network will not be popular especially with those not using it, maybe if those people are drivers they should reflect on the impact on our road network & their experience of it of pushing more traffic onto that through reduced expenditure on rail?
Some ticket offices will always be needed but there also loads which do very little trade, the internet has sadly buggered customer service
It's not really true that the internet has buggered customer service, it's the largely mistaken belief of companies that it has removed the need for customer service - or rather that they don't have to worry about serving those customers who are not online - that is the issue. But that is just semantics. In terms of the railways I would say that it is less about actual trades that are done than the loss of that service point that is the issue. Staffing times feel like they have reduced significantly over the years in those places that still retain ticket offices and I would say the quality of service reduces with it.
 

What?

Roofer
If the express trains run on a new track (HS2) then you can now run extra local services from all stations
What about the express trains to Wolverhampton, Manchester, Liverpool, Carlisle, Glasgow, Edinburgh, Aberdeen & Inverness?

The only benefit maybe more paths for freight trains
 

hackneyfox

Non-Member
What about the express trains to Wolverhampton, Manchester, Liverpool, Carlisle, Glasgow, Edinburgh, Aberdeen & Inverness?

The only benefit maybe more paths for freight trains
Watch the links. At no time has HS2 only been about moving business people quicker from London to Birmingham and increasing freight. Massively increasing the number of local trains and thus capacity has always been a major component of HS2. Unfortunately it was marketed in a way that made it look a if the the most important thing was shaving 20 minutes of a journey.
 

What?

Roofer
I didn't say they would "welcome" them though.

Leaving aside the question of the percentage of people who live outside of a big city who may or may not utilise the rail system and to what extent, whilst I grant you that subsidising the railway network will not be popular especially with those not using it, maybe if those people are drivers they should reflect on the impact on our road network & their experience of it of pushing more traffic onto that through reduced expenditure on rail?

It's not really true that the internet has buggered customer service, it's the largely mistaken belief of companies that it has removed the need for customer service - or rather that they don't have to worry about serving those customers who are not online - that is the issue. But that is just semantics. In terms of the railways I would say that it is less about actual trades that are done than the loss of that service point that is the issue. Staffing times feel like they have reduced significantly over the years in those places that still retain ticket offices and I would say the quality of service reduces with it.
As with all of these things that require people if there is a way to have less of them companies will always utilise technology to do so. Unfortunately because people want holiday pay, sick pay and pensions together with employer National Insurance it makes them unattractive when compared to a machine. Perhaps my ticket office example wasn't great but it applies to station staff that can be replaced by CCTV just the same. Personally I hate it, I'd much rather every station had a manger (station master) a porter, a fierce old lady selling cups of tea and ticket office staff together with a mechanical signal box that operated the level crossing but the reality is we've moved on from all of that and we are always striving for the cheapest whether it's importing stuff from far away lands or cutting down on the cost of rail travel
 

What?

Roofer
Watch the links. At no time has HS2 only been about moving business people quicker from London to Birmingham and increasing freight. Massively increasing the number of local trains and thus capacity has always been a major component of HS2. Unfortunately it was marketed in a way that made it look a if the the most important thing was shaving 20 minutes of a journey.
I read a lot of railway publications and the main issue with the line from Willesden to Rugby is lack of freight paths - trying to fit a 75 mph intermodal trains into 110 mph locals and 125 mph expresses is a major headache and we don't need extra "local trains" between London and Birmingham.

At the moment there are no plans to reduce the conventional trains between Euston and New St because the HS2 service will be a premium (expensive) alternative
 

hackneyfox

Non-Member
HS2 wasn't just about London to Birmingham, it was meant to help with the Northern Powerhouse until Johnson showed his true feelings towards 'levelling up' and removed one of the branches.
 

buz_not_buzz

Occasional Poster
As with all of these things that require people if there is a way to have less of them companies will always utilise technology to do so. Unfortunately because people want holiday pay, sick pay and pensions together with employer National Insurance it makes them unattractive when compared to a machine. Perhaps my ticket office example wasn't great but it applies to station staff that can be replaced by CCTV just the same. Personally I hate it, I'd much rather every station had a manger (station master) a porter, a fierce old lady selling cups of tea and ticket office staff together with a mechanical signal box that operated the level crossing but the reality is we've moved on from all of that and we are always striving for the cheapest whether it's importing stuff from far away lands or cutting down on the cost of rail travel
I get & understand all of that, (well, the first part, I am not partial to fierce old ladies selling tea or mechanical signal boxes for that matter, I am not a rail enthusiast other than it being my preferred way of getting from A to B). I have lived the same thing in my own job (albeit not being replaced by technology but by resources not having the same costs) - as many of us have.

But it is on this that I think the Government potentially does come into the equation: how much of what is being proposed now is because technology can be utilised, how much a cost saving measure to see how much they can get away with (from an operation perspective) and how much is because of any proposed reductions in subsidies? And, yes, I recognise of course that as an industry it is lucky that it has been & continues to be subsidised (something those of us in the private sector generally don't have the comfort of).

There are wider questions here regarding the impact on our society of such an approach generally. But that goes beyond this discussion.
 

What?

Roofer
HS2 wasn't just about London to Birmingham, it was meant to help with the Northern Powerhouse until Johnson showed his true feelings towards 'levelling up' and removed one of the branches.
The original plan was always London to Birmingham, the extension was to placate the great unwashed of Yorkshire. They then realised it was pretty much pointless because the existing rail links were adequate and it was going to cost squillions so they bunged all the spare dough to Sadiq to stop him moaning
 
White collar professionals can just work from home for a week. This won’t affect them it will affect those that rely on it to be at work without the ability to use Teams who it generally affects more and on lower incomes.

The type of taxpayer who bailed out the railways to the tune of £16 billion and on average earn a lot less, arguably in more long term sustainable jobs,than a lot of RMY members.
 

hackneyfox

Non-Member
The original plan was always London to Birmingham, the extension was to placate the great unwashed of Yorkshire. They then realised it was pretty much pointless because the existing rail links were adequate and it was going to cost squillions so they bunged all the spare dough to Sadiq to stop him moaning
Manchester, Liverpool, Edinburgh, Glasgow?
 

buz_not_buzz

Occasional Poster
White collar professionals can just work from home for a week. This won’t affect them it will affect those that rely on it to be at work without the ability to use Teams who it generally affects more and on lower incomes.

The type of taxpayer who bailed out the railways to the tune of £16 billion and on average earn a lot less, arguably in more long term sustainable jobs,than a lot of RMY members.
Essentially true (though of course the gvmnt didn't say "we're just going to use the tax paid by lower owners to support the railways'). All irrelevant. Politics of division.
 
Train drivers aren’t on strike tomorrow.
Take train drivers out the government propaganda and add the cleaners and the median (which isn’t normally used) is around the same as nurses.
Whatever they get paid the fact is that many people have seen their pay drop massively over the last ten years and with inflation running at 11% is it not time people fought back?
Yes. Fight back against inflation caused by all of the usual suspects that you've supported since the Orange Man came on to the scene.
 
How does increasing the cost of public transport fight inflation?
It doesn't. He's confused.
As the Democrats, the usual lot, the guys determined to have non-stop wars, to see normal people killed on front lines, to see economies hit the fan at the lower levels with higher inflation, while all the cronies he supports just carry on with no payback, he thinks he's 'fighting against' inflation, poverty, Nazis, and doing a good job 'standing with' and 'kneeling' against, because that's what he's been told to do.

I ain't saying he's thick as shit. I ain't saying that, but this guy is a super dupe.

His only response will be to say I'm a 'Proud Boy' or a 'Trump Fan' or some other stupid stuff.
 
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