The GLA’s Transport Committee meeting held on Tuesday 2nd March posed some serious questions to the senior managers of Transport for London
Transport for All Director, Faryal Velmi was invited to sit on a panel alongside Dame Tanni Grey-Thompson OBE, TFL Board Member; David Brown, Managing Director, Surface Transport, TfL; Nick Lester, Corporate Director, Services, London Councils and Nic Daw, Head of Patient Transport Service Performance and Modernisation, London Ambulance Service.
The questioning was led by the Transport Committee chair Cllr Caroline Pidgeon AM, with leading members of the Committee including Val Shawcross and Jenny Jones also asking questions.
The panel kicked off with a question directed at David Brown, who was asked about the failure of Dial-a-Ride to fulfill its pledge to carry out 1.4 million Journeys. Brown responded saying that whilst the target has been missed, there had been an increase in trips and a number of other improvements had been carried through since the Committees last investigation in March 2009. These included bringing more localised knowledge to the Call Centre as well bringing in taxi firm Computer Cab (who also run the Taxicard scheme) as a ’Consolidator’ – which offers Taxis to those who have been put on the waiting list.
However serious questions were asked of the statistics provided by Dial-A-Ride – and in particular the fact that stats had not been recently available for those members only offered ‘one way’ trips and also ‘dropped calls’ – which are the number of callers who could not get through to the Call Centre.
A number of users present recounted some of their own experiences and issues when using Dial-A-Ride; and these included being let down when trips had been booked as well as not being able to get through to the Call Centre.
Faryal told the meeting that TfA has been very disappointed that the recent Mayors Transport Strategy had contained little detail in regards to the future of Dial-A-Ride – except for saying that the free fares were unsustainable. She also said that Dial-A-Ride should not be seen as the ’poor family relation in the TfL family’
Indeed whilst quarterly meetings have been instigated between TfA and Dial-A-Ride management, it was unfortunate that the improvements to the Telephony system that were mentioned at the last TfA/Dial-A-Ride meeting were not mentioned by David Brown.
This is a cause of concern and TfA will be contacting Dial-A-Ride management in regards this issues – as getting through to the Call Centre is one of the biggest concerns that users have expressed.
Part of the Transport Committee was given to a discussion on the future of Door to Door Transport in London – with Nick Lester from London Councils speaking about the LC initiative to conduct a high level into what services currently exist and how integration between Dial-A-Ride, Taxicard, Community Transport, Patient Transport and other Local Authority run transport schemes.
A project board has been set up consisting of LC, TfL, TfA and Local authority representatives to commission further research work into this area and come up with recommendations. At the Committee TfA spoke about the ideal situation of having one number to call, one set of elegibility criterion and the option to use a number of integrated joined up transport schemes. TfA pointed out that a levelling up of services was needed, as currently a post code lottery exists across London when it comes to the level and quality of services available.
The Commitee will be reviewing all the information they have gathered and will be publishing a report of their findings some time after the general election.
Further information on the meeting and the proposals can be found here:
The following link gives more information on the Committee and its terms of reference: