Miguel Moya, graduate transport planner at mode transport planning, has written this piece on the upcoming Crossrail opening.
Many Londoners are excited for the imminent opening of the long-awaited Crossrail (the Elizabeth Line), with Transport for London commissioner Andy Byford stating that he is committed to ensuring that the new rail lines are operational before June 30th this year.
The new line, which will stop at 41 accessible stations (including ten newly built and 31 upgraded), will serve areas such as Reading to the West and Shenfield to the East and connect lesser services areas within the City of London.
Stations located along the Elizabeth Line will benefit from 240-metre-long platforms and will be completely step-free to allow for ease of travel for people from all walks of life. It is envisaged that up to 200 million people will utilise the Elizabeth Line every year. The opening of the Elizabeth Line could prove to be pivotal in opening up the otherwise less connected/visited places, with better transport connections driving the demand for better facilities along the line.
The question remains how commuters will engage with the new line, with many of us still choosing to work flexibly from home as a pose to the previous five days working in the office. In fact, it is expected that income from Crossrail fares will be at just 60% of the usual levels this year.
Perhaps introducing a flexible season ticket would encourage commuters to utilise the new line as opposed to other rail options that offer the Flexi ticket scheme.
Crossrail will come at a cost, with the current funding package for the project being £18.8 billion. While it may seem that the new line would only benefit commuters near new and upgraded stations, I would be cautious in ruling out a future increase in fare costs as TfL continues to battle with the Government over more funding.
While it is of no doubt that commuters will benefit from the additional services provided as part of Crossrail, it could be the same commuters who end up paying off the new Line through increased fare rates, as TfL have proven as recently as the March 1st by increasing fares by an overall average of 4.8 per cent.
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