Tif Manchester – Flaws in the figures.







I have been churning through some of the Greater Manchester TIF submission document. Being a (slightly manic) Beancounter, I delved into the cost areas.


There are two flaws I would like to concentrate on.


Adding extra tram lines decreases peak time passengers


The adding of tram lines East Disdbury, Rochdale (via Oldham) and to Ashton-under-Lyne lines, will mean 1200 less passengers at peak time of 8 to 9am crossing the Inner Charging Ring using the metrolink per hour than if it they were not added. So the GMPTA own models are saying that adding the extra lines will lead less people to travel on the whole tram system. Please go to pages 241 & 242 of part 7.  

I replicate the figures below (except my spreadsheet sums -1700, 1400 and 4000 to 3700, whereas their expensive transport model makes it 3600)


Figure 71 – Reference case:Difference in peple Cossing the inner ring (2005 to 2016) p.241
Highway Bus Rail Metrolink Total Pt
Entering Regional centre 2,300 -1,300 1,300 4,000 4,000
Crossing Inner Charging Ring 8,400 -1,700 1,400 4,000 3,700
Figure 72 – TIF Package:Difference in peple Cossing the inner ring (2005 to 2016) p.242
Highway Bus Rail Metrolink Total Pt
Entering reginal centre -3,300 5,800 2,100 2,400 10,300
Crossing Inner Charging Ring -6,400 7,200 2,300 2,800 12,300




The Conjestion Charge is too low.


TIF does a good job of shifting the balance of costs for those who run  a older budget car. At the moment, it is slightly cheaper to run such a car than leave it at home for both 8km journey and a 5km journey






Reference Case – No rise in fares
8km journey 5km journey
Car Costs      
Petrol at £1.25 litre and 37mpg £0.76   £0.48
Other marginal car costs 10p mile =  £0.50   £0.31
Toll Charge £0.00   £0.00
Total Car Costs £1.26 £0.79
Bus Costs      
Fare (tenth of weekly ticket) £1.60   £1.60
Total Bus Costs £1.60 £1.60
Savings -£0.34 -£0.81
Extra time for bus 15 minutes   15 minutes
Time Cost Per hour -£1.36   -£2.44
Car Comfort Premium p/w -£3.40   -£8.13
Car Comfort Premium per annum -£156.40 46 weeks -£373.75
Time savings for car hours per annum 115 hrs 115



For the longer journey you save £156 per year and 115 hours. For the shorter journey the cost saving is greater, as there is a fixed cost of a weekly bus ticket.



With TIF – No rise in Fares
8km journey 5km journey
Car Costs (budget)      
Petrol at £1.25 litre and 40mpg £0.71   £0.44
Other marginal car costs @ 10p mile =  £0.50   £0.31
Toll Charge £1.00   £1.00
Total Car Costs £2.21 £1.75
Bus Costs      
Fare (tenth of weekly ticket) £1.60   £1.60
Total Bus Costs £1.60 £1.60
Net Savings £0.61 £0.15
Extra time 28 minutes   20 minutes
Time Cost Per hour saved £1.30   £0.46
Car Comfort Premium p/w £6.05   £1.53
Car Comfort Premium per annum £278.30 46 weeks £70.44
Time savings for car hours per annum 215 hrs 153





With the TIF you have the conjestion charge. So the using the budget car now becomes a cost. The net change is £435 for the 8km journey and £444 for the 5km journey. The changes are from the conjestion charge, less slightly better fuel economy through travelling faster. However the time advantage over the bus is increased. The reason is simple. With less cars projected on the roads, average vehicle speeds have increased. It is not assumed that folks walk any faster to the bus stop, nor will their wait time be much changed.


Will folks afford the extra expense to travel quicker? If they pay the full charge, it will be £1200 per year. Can people afford this?


I believe they can, as most people already afford much more in paying for a mid-range car, rather than an older small budget car.


Consider some typical figures for car ownership over three years. I have assumed that they travel the average 7000 miles per year of a city dweller.




Compare a 5 year old Budget Car to a new Mondeo or a sporty small hatch.
Picanto Mondeo Clio sport
Purchase Cost £3,000 £18,000 £13,000
Trade-in after 3 years -£1,000 -£8,000 -£7,000
Cost of Borrowing, with £3000 deposit   £2,250 £1,500
Net Cost £2,000 £12,250 £7,500
Costs over 3 years      
Insurance £750 £1,800 £1,800
Fuel – 7000 miles per annum      
Petrol at 45mpg, £1.25 per litre £3,000    
Diesel at 35mpg, £1.35 per litre   £3,700  
Petrol at 35mpg, £1.25 per litre     £3,400
Servicing / MOT £1,000 £500 £1,000
Tax £360 £495 £495
Full cost of ownership £7,110 £18,745 £14,195
Savings on bus fares -£2,208 -£2,208 -£2,208
Net Cost of Ownership £4,902 £16,537 £11,987
Premium Per mile   £0.55 £0.34
Premium Per Annum   £3,878 £2,362



My estimates are very subjective. Some car magazines give better estimates (though on higher annual mileages). But all will say it is the depreciation on a new car that is the biggest cost of a new car.

So put it bluntly, when you are shelling out £2000 to £4000 per year to keep you nice middle-class car on the road, will you shell out another £400 to £1200 per year to travel cocooned in the the car, are save the money to walk through the rain, and stand in the wind, wasting 2 to 4 hours a week in the process? My reckoning is that people will initially flood the new buses in droves. Then they will realise how much time they are wasting, and envy the cars speeding past. After a couple of times waiting twenty or thirty minutes in the cold and wet for that bus every five minutes, they will bin the bus ticket and jump back into the cars. The cost they will absorb by keeping their cars for a couple more years. Then the traffic will be even slower than before the conjestion charge, as there will be more bus lanes.


The only way out of this impass is to push the conjestion charge to a point where, for many people it is greater than the difference between there current car and the cheapest old car that they can tolerate. For many, that may around the £10-£25 mark. But, as there have been commitments on the charges, then there have to other ways to drive folks onto public transport.

  1. One way to help keep the numbers down might be to get Jeremy Clarkson to hold a competition to highlight the scruffiest cars on Manchester’s roads, to embaress folks onto buses.
  2. Reduce the entry points to the zone, so people drive further.
  3. Build unecessary bus lanes, cycle lanes and chicanes to further slow the traffic down.
  4. Make it difficult to buy the permits, so people regularly pay the fines.


The Conjestion Charge is not extensive enough.


The claim is made that Fewer than 20% of Greater Manchester’s weekday peak-time drivers would pay a charge. The average daily charge is estimated to be less than £3 (at 2007 prices).” Come on chaps, if traffic speeds are to increase by 33%, whilst reducing the road space available then you must shift significant volumes of vehicles off the road. But if only 20% (or 10% as according to Lord Peter Smith claims) of drivers that will incur the charge, then a large percentage of those who pay the would pay the charge must be shifted from the roads to pay for this. Above I claim that most those crossing the boundaries would end up swallowing the charge, and they can well afford to do so. If only 10% to 20% will pay, then for every person paying there must be at least one switching.








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