Val Shawcross – HATF (Chair)
Mark Frost – HATF (Independent Technical Advisor)
Tim Leech – Heathrow Airport Limited (HAL) (Head of Strategy and Sponsorship, Surface Access) Matthew Wooll – HAL (Route Development Lead)
Lucas Taylor – HAL (Sustainable Travel Manager)
Simi Kullar – HAL (Sustainable Travel Manager)
Peter Bradley – UK Coach Operators Association / Secondment at HAL supporting STZ development
Shamal Ratnayaka – Transport for London (Aviation Strategy Lead)
Fergus McGhee – Transport for London (Service Planning Manager)
Tom Cunnington – Transport for London (Head of Bus Business Development) Karen Tiley – Confederation of Passenger Transport (Regional Manager)
Kevin Travers – Thames Valley Berkshire (Transport Lead)
Paul Millin – Surrey County Council (Assistant Director, Strategic Transport) Rupert Zierler – Buckinghamshire Council (Principial Transport Strategy Officer) Robert Heslop – London Borough of Hounslow (Principal Transport Planner) Trevor Brennan – England Economic Heartland (Transport Implementation Lead) Stephen Bennett – Arup (Director, Transport Consulting)
Daniel Philips – Arup (Senior Transport Planner, Transport Consulting)
Sophie Chapman – HAL (Surface Access Director)
1. Welcome and Introductions
The Chair welcomed everyone to the second HATF Bus Special Interest Group in its current incarnation.
Val Shawcross (VS) set out the background to the group and the specific desire to explore the development of a Heathrow Area Bus Service Improvement Plan (BSIP) as a possible way of improving the coordination of bus service planning to the airport, across the various parties involved.
VS confirmed that Heathrow have confirmed support of development of a BSIP for the area and are looking to neighbouring local authorities (and TfL) to help inform the scope of that plan.
2. ULEZ Updates
Heathrow Airport Limited (HAL) ULEZ & STZ Updates
Tim Leech (TL) presented the HAL update on how the airport is looking to develop the bus network to contribute towards mitigating the impact on the Ultra Low Emission Zone (ULEZ) on those with non-compliant vehicles, see slides for further information. Key points discussed:
- ULEZ provides an opportunity to increase sustainable travel mode share. HAL are investing more in sustainable travel options including Team Heathrow wide public transport discounts, colleague car share scheme and ongoing Terminal drop off charge (TDOC) exemption. Car loans, a green car scheme and the cycle to work scheme will be HAL staff only mitigations.
- Looking into implement a time limited park and ride model along key arteries into the airport for both colleagues and passengers. This will depend on planning permission
- Communications are crucial! Over 100+ companies to pass the message on regarding interventions. This is currently ongoing through virtual and in person Way2Go roadshows, including dedicated emails to Heathrow colleagues. HAL have also set up a dedicated website around ULEZ issues for airport workers.
Peter Bradley (PB) provided information on latest HAL Sustainable Travel Zone updates:
- Need to make sure that colleagues can use public transport to get into the airport regardless of shift times. New routes include early journeys before 2am prior to rail and tube starts. Focus includes Thames Valley corridor enhancements.
- There are a number of small but important changes happening – slides provide a useful overview on the detail on STZ enhancements
- Latest STZ Colleague Guide: Colleague guide A6 v5.cdr (heathrow.com)
Val Shawcross (VS): are STZ slides shareable? Matthew Wooll (MW): yes, but donote some routes proposed are subject to final approval
Paul Millin (PM): How long will these route discounts be available for? MW: each route will have a different timescale depending on commercial viability, the pressure to start pre-ULEZ is currently more important
Mark Frost (MF): Are the new bus routes ULEZ compliant? MW: HAL does have a long term vision for some of these new services to become electric, however due to ULEZ start date and long bus wait times, there is a need to start now instead of wait for ULEZ complaint buses to come in. All routes will be Euro 6 as a minimum.
Robert Heslop (RH): Does N30 stop at Hounslow West Station, as it stops at Osterley Station? MW: No, as this is already served by N9.
Transport for London (TFL) ULEZ updates
Shamal Ratnayaka (SR) provided a verbal update on ULEZ from TfL:
- Recognises the specific challenges of ULEZ for HAL and large employment
- Legal challenges are ongoing in courts, however TfL are pressing ahead tobe ready for the advertised start date of 29th August
- Scrappage scheme requirements have increased to include those whoreceive child benefit, increasing the number and range of those eligible.
- Agreement in principle of Elizabeth Line discount for Heathrow staff (thisis only available for those coming in from central London, not from thewest).
- Superloop is ULEZ mitigation in place to provide a bus routing aroundLondon. Branding will be crucial as a way of increasing visibility anddriving patronage.
- X26 bus route increasing in frequent from 2 buses to 4 – should come infor August. These will not have luggage racks due to lack of buses available in the first, however this will be rectified in time.
Tom Cunnington (TC): electrification of bus routes is progressing. Should be moving forward quicker once TfL become aware of next steps and dates
Fergus McGhee (FM): Currently getting costings on 490 late night/early morning service
PM: The new scrappage scheme requirements still do not benefit those living over the border in Surrey, Kent etc. SR: noted this, Mayor has written to government to seek help with those over the border.
3. The National Picture: The BSIP Process to date and what’s next?
Stephen Bennett (SB) and Daniel Phillips (DP) talked through the national picture of BSIP and Arup work with DfT. Please see slides for further detail, key points:
- Arup have provided support to DfT on BSIPs and National Bus Strategy
- Bus Back Better covered England outside London, with the key aim ofincreasing patronage. This will be done by collaboration with LTAs andoperators, increased services and Enhanced Partnerships (EPs)
- What should a BSIP cover? Include key interventions, work incollaboration with stakeholders including community and operators, updated annually. Become a bidding document to get hold of funding, with a long term vision of the sector becoming more financially sustainable.
- Successful BSIPs have included ambitious interventions, data led and collaborative
- In May 2023 DfT provided additional funding (BSIP+) which will continue through to early 2025
- Bus Centre of Excellence has been recently launched to promote best practice in the sector: Bus Centre of Excellence
Enhanced Partnerships (EPs): are a partnership between one or more LTAs and their bus operators to set out how they will work together to deliver BSIP
- Successful EPs have included scope to vary provision, given ongoing change to patronage and funding post pandemic.
DP set out what a Heathrow BSIP should include:
- Wide range of operations – both a benefit and hard to providecoordination between all of them
- Unique challenges and needs e.g. luggage racks requirements forcolleague and passengers, shift patterns
- Feed improvements to local BSIPs
- Capture and monitor (data led) – so can understand what has worked andnot
Key issues specific for Heathrow Airport that BSIP could address:
- Spread of employment sites (such as Cargo, Northern Perimeter Road)
- Ensuring appropriate CTA capacity to meet current and future need
- Multi modal hub
- Fare and ticketing options
What will success look like:
- Not just a study, but sets out viable proposals to implement
- Agreed by LAs
- Delivers actual modal shift
Points to note:
- Carl Sutcliffe (DfT Bus Reform lead) was pleased to hear of theseproposals and has offered to help the team to discuss the best approach
- It will not be recognised as a formal tool for funding from DfT, but couldfrom other agencies (e.g. around decarbonisation).
4. Surrey BSIP
PM provided a case study of implementing a BSIP for Surrey. Slides provide further information on development and process so far:
- BSIP provides document on where to invest in Surrey
- BSIP aims: delivery of new buses, infrastructure – engagement andcollaboration with operators throughout the process
- Got no funding in original BSIP, but recently got £3.9m in BSIP+ funding
Heathrow opportunities include:
- Co-designing improvement across LTAs – do it together
- Joint investment
- Simplify fares, and improving consistency (e.g. a common approach tounder 25s)
- Route enchantments
- DRT – for shift workers attending early morning?
- Data led to provide a steer
PM noted overlap between opportunities he set out and what Arup provided
5. Scoping a Heathrow BSIP
MF led discussion on what should be included within the Heathrow BSIP. Other thoughts and ideas:
- TL: HAL are happy to see this being brought together and seeing a joint up approach on this like we have done so for Local Cycling Walking Infrastructure Plan. Joined up approach will provide the real benefit for this.
- VS: It was notable how interested local authorities were on where local work force live – information and data sharing can be a good first step
- PM: it is slightly complicated due to the amount of operators and LAs.How we frame what the Strategy covers, and that this is a genuinely collaborative document will be important – so it is not just a Heathrow led project. Information, fares and ticketing should be focus
- MW: patronage growth will allow HAL to cover costs of existing and future enhancements to services, which can be done through promotion, bus priority in place for 24 hour s
- SB: there is already a lot of good stuff already happening. Collaboration will be important
- PB: bus priority, capacity at CBS could be more important than fares, given how difficult it would be to navigate different approval processes inside and outside London
- MF: what we need is a clear, focussed document that delivers real change, but aware of practical issues e.g. fares out of London are more expensive. Also need to properly recognise HAL unique requirements.
- Next step will be to set out a clear structure for a document including what are the key issues to focus on
- This will need to be informed by further 1:1 sessions with each key stakeholder, to be programmed into the delivery process
Next meeting of the group to be help in Autumn (date TBC)