MACS response to consultation - Williams-Shapps Plan for Rail: legislative changes to implement rail reform

Personal details

Q1. Your

  • Name: Simon Watkins
  • email:

Q2. Are you responding:

  • on behalf of an organisation?

Organisation details

Q3. Your organisation's name is?

  • Mobility and Access Committee for Scotland

Q4. Your organisation is:

  • an accessibility body or interest group?

Q5. Describe what your organisation does.

  • MACS advises the Minister for Transport for Scotland on matters relation to accessibility to transport for disabled people.

Q6. Your location is:

  • Scotland?

Q7. Your size of organisation is:

  • 1 to 25 employees?

Core functions of Great British Railways

Q8. In your view does the proposed role of Great British Railways appropriately capture what you would expect to be delivered by an effective guiding mind for the railways?

  • Yes, I agree with the proposed core functions listed but think additional functions are needed

Additional core functions

Q10. What other functions do you think are needed?

  • It should have a duty to serve all passengers, i.e. including disabled passengers.

Proposed factors for Public Interest Duty

Q13. Do you agree with the proposed factors that Great British Railways must consider as part of its public interest duty?

  • Yes, I agree with the proposed factors completely Option to delegate devolved contracting authority to Great British Railways

Q18. Do you support including a primary legislation power to enable:

  • Scottish ministers to delegate their contracting authority to Great British Railways? Yes
  • Welsh ministers to delegate their contracting authority to Great British Railways? Yes

Direct award to public sector operator

Q19. What, if any, views do you have on allowing appointment of a public sector operator by Great British Railways by direct award?

  • Does not cover Scotland, so no view.

Facilitating passenger service contracts (by amending EU Regulation 1370)

Q20. Do you support the proposed amendments to Regulation 1370/2007, which are:

  • reducing the limitation period for the challenge remedy? Yes
  • introducing a remedy of recovery to accord with the new UK subsidy regime? Yes
  • clarifying who may bring a claim? Yes
  • retaining the ability to make direct awards under Article 5(6)? Yes
  • clarifying the PIN notice period? Yes

Office of Rail and Road duty to facilitate the furtherance of Great British Railways’ policies on matters of access to and use of the railway where these have received Secretary of State approval?

Q21. Do you support the proposed statutory duty on ORR to facilitate the furtherance of Great British Railways’ policies on matters of access to and use of the railway where these policies have received Secretary of State approval?

  • Yes

Proposed statutory duty on ORR reasoning

Q22. Why?

  • ORR is well-placed to undertake the accessibility role.

Widening the scope of ORR’s duty to promote competition

Q24. Do you agree with the proposed recasting of ORR’s competition duty to better reflect public sector funding?

  • Don't know

Removing barriers to collaboration between Great British Railways contracted operators

Q26. What do you think of the proposal to include in legislation, a power for Great British Railways to issue directions to its contracted operators to collaborate with one another?

  • We support this. Sharing figures on use by disabled passengers e.g. will be useful.

Q27. In your view would train operating companies be willing to share information and collaborate in the way envisaged without the proposed legislative provisions?

  • No

Risks to train operating companies

Q29. In your view do the proposed measures help to resolve these risks?

  • Don't know

Customer offer

Q31. How, in your view, can we ensure that Great British Railways is able to fulfil its accountability for the customer offer while also giving independent retailers confidence they will be treated fairly?

  • Great British Railways customer offer must be industry-leading in terms of ticket purchase being accessible for all through the full range of disabilities - visual, physical, mental.

Governance framework

Q32. In your view does the proposed governance framework give Great British Railways sufficient ability to act as a guiding mind for the railways while ensuring appropriate accountability?

  • Yes

Great British Railways duties in licence

Q34. Do you agree with the proposal for Great British Railways’ new duties to be captured in the statutory licence and that primary legislation should require the licence to include specific duties in relation to accessibility, freight and the environment?

  • Yes

Not imposing financial penalties on Great British Railways in the event of a licence breach

Q36. Do you support the proposal to amend ORR’s powers so as exempt Great British Railways from financial penalty in the event of a licence breach?

  • No

Against Great British Railways financial penalty exemption

Q37. Why not?

  • A financial penalty will still provide an incentive to Great British Railways, if not the wider public sector.

Great British Railways business planning and funding

Q38. What feedback, if any, do you have on the proposed business planning arrangements for Great British Railways?

  • None

Independent scrutiny and challenge

Q39. In your view will the proposed approach to independent scrutiny and challenge provide sufficient:

  • transparency? Yes
  • assurance that Great British Railways can be held to account? Yes

Great British Railways fee to cover the cost of ORR functions currently funded by the Network Rail licence fee

Q40. Do you support the proposal to give ORR a statutory power to levy a fee on Great British Railways?

  • Yes

Independent passenger champion

Q42. In your view will the proposed change to the railways act enable Transport Focus to effectively undertake the role of independent passenger champion in the new rail industry structure?

  • Yes

Improving accessibility

Q44. In your view how do we ensure that accessibility is integral to Great British Railways’ decision making?

  • Make sure it is included in the legislation and the license. Include it in the sub-contracting arrangements. Include mandatory reporting requirements on accessibility improvements/ progress on GBR and operators. Give Transport Focus and DPTAC a specific role in monitoring level of service, e.g. in Passenger Assist, and infrastructure improvements.

DPTAC's remit

Q45. Do you support the proposal to expand DPTAC’s remit to become a statutory advisor to Great British Railways as well as to the Secretary of State on matters relating to disability and transport?

  • Yes

Promoting open data

Q47. In your view are further legal changes necessary to ensure data is open by default?

  • Don't know

Luxembourg Rail Protocol

Q50. Do you support the proposal to include a power in primary legislation to enable the ratification of the Luxembourg Rail Protocol?

  • Yes

Impact assessments

Q52. Do you have evidence relating to the impacts and risks identified discussed within the impact assessments?

  • No

Q54. Are there, in your view, impacts or risks of the policies proposed which have not been covered by the impact assessments?

  • Don't know

Final comments

Q56. Any other comments?

  • MACS supports the proposed role for DPTAC as an adviser to GBR, provided that a Memorandum of Understanding is drawn up between MACS and DPTAC which would cover impact on railways in Scotland. The two organisations are currently in the process of drawing this up.