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Response on "Proposals for a Public Transport Users' Committee for Scotland."

The responses below are those of members of The Chartered Institute of Logistics and Transport(UK) Scottish Policy Group who have contributed to the discussion on "Proposals for a Public Transport Users' Committee for Scotland."

Question 1: Which option do you believe would best deliver an effective PTUC?
We consider Option 1 would best deliver an effective PTUC.

Question 2: Do you have any alternative suggestions as to how the PTUC could be structured?
There is no perfect organisation for a body such as the PTUC. It is considered that the advantages outlined in paragraph 37 would be difficult to achieve in any alternative and clearly outweigh the disadvantages outlined in paragraph 38.

Question 3: (as in the Conclusion) In what way do you envisage the PTUC interacting with users' or your organisation?
It is suggested that it would be useful for purposes of co-ordination and exchange of information if the Scottish member(s) of the two national organisations, The Rail Passenger Council (RPC) and The Air Transport Users' Council (ATUC), were made "ex officio" members of the PTUC. In the case of the RPC it would possibly be more effective if their Passenger Link Manager in Scotland is the "ex officio" member. Experience in the Rail Passenger Committees has shown that having the London Transport Users' Committee as part of their meetings and other activities was wholly beneficial.

With regard to interaction with users it will be necessary to ensure that the existence of PTUC and its functions are well publicised. This could be done by posters and leaflets at bus stations, railway stations and airports, information offices etc. Consideration should also be given to holding some of the PTUC's meetings in public in different parts of Scotland.

Question 4: What do you believe should be included in the remit of the PTUC?
It has a fairly wide ranging remit which should keep the Committee busy, however you may wish to consider including an overall remit, "to promote and encourage the use and development of public transport."

Question 5: Should PTUC membership seek to include passenger representatives covering rail, bus, ferry, and air or should the focus be on an individual's ability to contribute at a strategic level?
It is our view that the PTUC needs a mixture of both. It should not become a hangout for "transport buffs" but by the same token it is highly desirable if not essential that members be regular users of at least one form of public transport.

Question 6: What essential skills and knowledge should a member of the PTUC have?
Apart from being regular users of at least one form of public transport there should be adequate representation of women, young people and the retired, all of which groups are significant users of public transport.

With regard to skills and knowledge it would be desirable for potential members to have some awareness of transport issues such as road congestion, emissions, why a good public transport system is not just desirable but becoming increasingly necessary. Basically what is needed is intelligent, articulate, concerned citizens interested in improving services and the quality of life in Scotland - specialist knowledge can be acquired.

Additional Comments
Whilst the CILT(UK) response has tried to answer the specific questions asked in the consultation document there are a number of other points that it is considered should be raised, these follow.

Staff
PTUC will require administrative support staff, it is the CILT(UK) view that these should not be seconded civil servants who as part of their career do time in PTUC but rather should be staff employed by and remaining with the Committee to build up knowledge and expertise and provide continuity.

Research
It would be beneficial if PTUC was allocated a modest research budget for a trial period of say 3 years to do initial research into emerging trends coming to its attention through its constituent members. The purpose of the research would be to establish whether there was sufficient evidence of trends or change affecting users which would cause the Committee to recommend to the Executive that further research was required.

Complaints
It is completely agreed that the handling of individual complaints should remain the responsibility of the individual organisations comprising PTUC, it is however considered essential that PTUC receives reports from its members with information on complaint trends and new issues emerging.

Seeking Outside Views and Opinions
The effectiveness (and knowledge) of the Committee would be improved if it was encouraged to invite representatives from different public transport sectors to attend meetings to give presentations on issues affecting their particular sector, highlight emerging trends etc. The Committee could usefully consult from time to time with the AA and RAC on access to public transport by car users e.g. station car parking and park and ride schemes. The Executive may consider it useful to regularly have an observer at PTUC meetings.

Other Transport
The Executive may wish to consider whether PTUC has a role to play in connection with Demand Responsive Transport (including taxis), walking and cycling.

Advocacy
Whilst it is right that PTUC should not have the powers or ability to apply sanctions to recalcitrant public transport service providers it should have an advocacy role enabling it to highlight shortcomings in service provision to the Executive, ORR, Transport Scotland, the Traffic Commissioner and other appropriate bodies.

Fares
Is there a role for the Committee in commenting on comparative fares levels and fares increases?

Representation of Remote and Rural Areas
It is desirable to ensure that the views of users in these areas are represented and this should be borne in mind when selecting members.

 

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