One of the essential features of a properly integrated public transport network is integrated ticketing. It's been talked about for some time now and was indeed part of the One Wales Agreement:

• We will create a new all-Wales Traws Cambria transport network integrating long distance rail and coach routes with electronic cross-ticketing by 2011.

One Wales Agreement, page 19

So it's good to see that this is has been included in the National Transport Plan. But this is what it says:

We will work to improve interchange and co-ordination across the bus and rail network to ensure greater integration of service provision, including the development of integrated ticketing.


We will ... introduce a Welsh Transport Entitlement card for bus and rail services, which would include integrated ticketing, to allow ‘seamless’ transfer between services and operators, by 2014.

The National Transport Plan, page 12

So there's been a three year slip in the timetable. The obvious question to ask is why.

I don't know the full answer, but I strongly suspect that it has to do with the more general question of being able to regulate bus services. The model that we are likely to follow is that of London's Oyster Card, but that requires similar powers to those exercised by London's Assembly and Mayor.

The Welsh Assembly doesn't have those powers.

In April of last year, Huw Lewis introduced a Member-proposed LCO that would have given the Assembly powers to legislate in this area.

     Bid for powers over bus services - BBC, 30 April 2008

It was broadly supported by all parties, and went out for consultation. But since the consultation closed in September, nothing further has happened.

This is almost certainly because the Welsh Affairs Select Committee in the Commons chose that September to throw what I can only describe as a hissy fit about the LCO process, in a memo in which they claimed that they were unable to handle more than four or five of them a year. At that time there were already 11 LCOs in the system (which they had made no previous objection to, even most were first proposed in 2007) but their memo marked the point where it was clear that any LCO that did make it through would only make it through slowly and with the maximum amount of fuss.

The WASC were particularly savage about Member-proposed LCOs (which in itself is unfortunate, as these were intended to be one of the good features of the GoWA 2006 ... a vast improvement on the system in Westminster under which only a tiny handful of non-government introduced legislation gets anywhere). So our MPs effectively kicked that LCO into the long grass ... and that is almost certainly why the commitment on integrated ticketing is going to be delivered three years later than planned.

It is yet another example of Westminster doing all they can to delay an LCO that was so non-contentious that it had the support of all parties in the Assembly. It should act as a sobering reminder about why we need to have primary lawmaking powers.


I suppose the most important thing now is to decide what to call it. In last week's debate David Melding sheepishly suggested we should call it the "Laverbread Card" ... no comments necessary!


If London has Oyster, it's only right that we should have a version that gets us around more quickly.

So there is only one thing we can call it: Cyflymarch.

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Anonymous said...

OK, I give up. What does "Cyflymarch" mean?

david h jones said...

Cylfymarch - would be 'quick/fast stallion'. A bit too obscure.

I'd prefer something simpler like 'milgi' (greyhound) or gwennol (swallow - the bird).

oh, and have them all livery painted orange - a good distinctive colour!

MH said...

Llymarch means oyster.

But it is a registered trademark of Oyster Ltd., which of course would be Llymarch Cyf. ... but that's another story.

Cyflymach (without the r) means faster or more quickly.

Those were the associations foremost in my mind ... which just goes to show that my mind orbits in a peculiar way!


But Cyflymarch works on another level too, as David says, for cyflym means fast and march means stallion.

And FastStallion is the "typical" sort of name the advertising Mad Men would choose for something to do with transport.

Anyway David, the Americans have already got there first with Greyhound for buses. And the Welsh for Space Shuttle is Gwennol Ofod. Sure, Gwennol means shuttle too, but I always thought of it as the Space Swallow ... and that of course explains why it's painted black and white. Doesn't it?

As for what colour to paint the Welsh fleet; if we stick with the Llymarch/Oyster theme, there's one obvious choice: Pearl.

david h jones said...

still like 'milgi' ... but could be persuaded with 'perl'!

it would be a change from the late Traws Cambria which was christened 'Traws Crwban' (trans tortoise!) for obvious reasons.

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