Oyster card approach can support growth in UK city regions

Major city regions across the country should be given Transport for London-style powers and funding certainty, says leading think tank Centre for Cities in a new report published today.

Press release published on 1 May 2014

People who live and work in city-regions and cities outside of London depend upon local bus and rail networks to access jobs, shops and services. But fragmented provision and short term funding mean that too often urban transport networks are poorly connected, with big implications for economic growth.

The report Delivering Change: Making transport work for cities, supported by Mace, provides a range of practical lessons for UK cities and Whitehall, drawn from transport systems in the UK and abroad. In particular, it highlights the role that Transport for London has played in supporting growth in the Capital, by offering an expansive, regulated and user-friendly network that residents can use flexibly through the use of an ‘Oyster card’.

The impact of this network has been dramatic – bus passenger journeys alone have increased by 80 per cent between 2000 and 2012 in the capital, despite bus usage across the rest of the country declining.

London’s integrated transport system has increased the ability of people to find work and businesses to reach customers across London, unlocking economic growth and reducing carbon emissions. All while ticket prices have increased at a lower rate than in other cities.

In order to bring these types of benefits to city-regions across the UK, the report recommends that the Government:

  • Gives city-regions like Greater Manchester and the Leeds City Region ‘London-style’ powers over their transport network, so as to allow for the better integration and coordination of services, including Oyster card-style ticketing;
  • Supports all cities to use their existing revenue raising powers—such as fees, parking regulations and procurement rules—to ensure that local transport services meet local needs;
  • Provides minimum 5-year transport funding settlements for all cities to provide certainty for effective planning and capital investment in their transport services.

The report also recommends increasing the suite of revenue raising powers available to the Mayor and Transport for London to ensure that the Capital’s transport network can continue to cope with increased demand in the years ahead.

Alexandra Jones, Chief Executive of Centre for Cities said: “Getting to work or school can be a daily slog, especially when the bus, train and road networks are congested or poorly linked together. Too much transport is designed without thinking about how people live their lives. Cities outside London don’t have enough control over local transport to bring together all the local services, and this affects the economy because of the difficulties it creates in people getting to work or businesses trading. To help our cities grow, Government should give city regions more power to integrate and coordinate buses, trains and traffic, and they should give longer-term funding commitments so city regions can invest and plan for a better transport system – road, rail and buses – over the long-term.”

Mace’s Chief Operating Officer for Major Programmes and Infrastructure, Jason Millett, said: “Cities via LEPs have an increasing arsenal of tools and mechanisms that they can use to improve transport in their region to further development and economic growth.  This report is important as it shares best practice and practical ways in which cities, LEPs and regional transport providers can make a difference now to transport in their region. The onus can’t just be on central government. Cities need to seize the initiative and make positive changes now utilising existing powers and approaches that have worked elsewhere.”


For further information or to request a copy of the report please contact Rita Beden, External Affairs Manager at Centre for Cities: r.beden@centreforcities.org / 020 7803 4303.

A copy of the report will be available here at 00.01, 1 May 2014.

Notes to editors:

This research was supported by Mace.

Mace is an international consultancy and construction company employing over 4,000 people, across five continents with a turnover in excess of £1bn. Mace’s business is programme and project management, cost consultancy, construction delivery and facilities management and is truly multi-disciplinary with services spanning the entire property and infrastructure lifecycle.

Mace has three strategic sectors serving clients in the private, public and infrastructure sectors and five strategic hubs in Europe, Middle East & North Africa, the Americas, Asia Pacific and Sub-Sahara Africa that service over 70 countries.  For more information visit: www.macegroup.com