2 Lord Udny-Lister debates involving the Department for Transport

Railway Station Ticket Offices

Lord Udny-Lister Excerpts
Tuesday 13th December 2022

(1 year, 7 months ago)

Lords Chamber
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Baroness Vere of Norbiton Portrait Baroness Vere of Norbiton (Con)
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My Lords, driver-only operations have been around since about the 1980s. It is certainly not a new concept. Over half of passengers who use the railways are on trains where driver-only operations are in place and have been accepted by train drivers. If we are able to change arrangements at ticket offices in some locations, that will mean that more people will be out and about in stations, providing the eyes and ears that we need to keep passengers safe. The Government are very conscious of more vulnerable adults and how they travel. We work very closely with the police and the Rail Delivery Group.

Lord Udny-Lister Portrait Lord Udny-Lister (Con)
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My Lords, will the Minister comment on the fact that, in 2015-16, Transport for London closed all ticket offices on the Underground to free staff to be available for helping passengers and providing information? Why has it taken Network Rail all these years to get round to this particular modernisation? Indeed, what is happening with all the other modernisations? After all, this is fairly low-hanging fruit.

Baroness Vere of Norbiton Portrait Baroness Vere of Norbiton (Con)
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It is up to the train operating companies, which operate the ticket offices, to think about the best way to manage their resources—including people—to serve customers better. I accept that TfL is often ahead of the game in many areas. Noble Lords will recall a time when you could pay by cash for a bus ticket in London; that is the case no longer. There are ticket offices across the country where less than one ticket an hour is sold. I put it to noble Lords that the person behind that glass screen could be doing other things.

International Travel

Lord Udny-Lister Excerpts
Thursday 1st July 2021

(3 years ago)

Lords Chamber
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Baroness Vere of Norbiton Portrait Baroness Vere of Norbiton (Con)
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I hope that I can provide some reassurance, although we accept and have been very clear that wait times at the border may be extended due to biosecurity checks. However, the PLF system—the passenger locator form—has now been further automated such that you cannot submit it until you have fully completed it, which makes it easier for carriers and Border Force. Secondly, we are rolling out an upgrade to the e-gates; they will be able to recognise the PLF once it is completed. We reckon that 51% of e-gates will be updated by the end of July.

Lord Udny-Lister Portrait Lord Udny-Lister (Con)
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My Lords, we have witnessed the chaos of the red, amber and green light system, with the lights changing quicker than any set of traffic lights ever has. We know that there will be variants. We know that, as we and the rest of the world vaccinates more, there will be even more variants coming through, so at some point we have to trust the vaccines. Will the Minister assure the House that she is going to get some stability into the system so that both tourists and, perhaps more importantly, businessmen can plan? Having seen what has happened in Malta in the last few days, will she also ensure that we can get something that is recognised as a vaccine certificate around the world?

Baroness Vere of Norbiton Portrait Baroness Vere of Norbiton (Con)
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I am delighted to tell my noble friend that Malta is now accepting the NHS app via a verification system, so it has gone digital. Therefore, I hope that people will look forward to travelling to Malta. As the Roads Minister, I know that what he says is not quite true—traffic lights do change quite quickly—but he does have a point: we need to provide stability. This is what we have done with the traffic light system, because we have to recognise that, like it or not, things will change. Things will change in other countries; they are beyond our control. They will also have their own issues with vaccination, whether it is successful or not, and they will have their own categories for the types of people that can arrive. I believe that our traffic light system is absolutely appropriate. It provides clarity, although I accept that it may change over time.