Driving To Deliver Your Business


Wessex Business Bytesize – Issue 185 – Neil Robb & Friends

Saturday 12 March, 2.30pm, Winchester Club, SO23 7AB Public meeting about Wessex Area Rail Services

The Wessex Branch of Railfuture has arranged a public meeting to be addressed by Chris Loder, South West Trains Head of Pricing and Strategy. The meeting will provide an opportunity for an update about the South Western Rail franchise which is due to be replaced in 2017. Railfuture has provided a substantial response to the Department of Transport consultation for the South Western rail franchise, a copy of which may be obtained from Railfuture Wessex Branch Secretary by

FSB members are invited to a networking event to be held at the Apollo Hotel in Basingstoke on Wednesday 16 March starting at 5.00pm and continuing until around 7.00pm. There is a good turnout expected with 4N, Basingstoke Business and Chamber members attending along with FSB members. FSB members can attend at the reduced rate of 15 incl. VAT (please select the member button when booking). Light refreshments will be served. Follow this link to book.

Thursday 17 March, 3.00 5.00pm Enterprise Hub, Bournemouth, BH5 2AY Ask the Expert: Crowdfunding

Run by Get Set for Growth and taking place in Bournemouth this is a session on crowdfunding and how can I use it to secure funding for my business? Follow the link for more information.


Thursday 17 March, 7.30 9.00am, Superior Seals Ltd, Trade Pk Wimborne BH21 7SH Everything you ever wanted to know about Apprenticeships but were afraid to ask

An event specifically for engineering and manufacturing businesses that are not currently involved with Apprenticeships or would like to make the most of a current apprenticeship programme.

It will provide the opportunity to find out how Apprenticeships can really benefit your business and also explore some of the common misconceptions about Apprenticeships. Refreshments included. The event is free but booking is essential. Follow the link[5] to confirm your attendance.

Thursday 17 March, 12.15 2.30pm, Rushmore Borough Council Offices, Farnborough Enterprise M3 (North Hampshire) Travel Plan Network

A newly established forum aimed at encouraging more sustainable and active travel, particularly for those working in the region. Follow the link[6] for more information and to book.

Shape the future of the Island s health and care services

My Life A Full Life will soon launch an Island-wide conversation into how the Isle of Wight s health and care services can be shaped around people s needs. There are two forthcoming public events and an open invitation to attend to discuss how the Island s health and care services can be reshaped, and to also tell them what you want from health and care services.

Monday 21 March at 5.00pm Landguard Manor, Shanklin
Tuesday 22 March at 5.00pm Quay Arts, Newport

Refreshments from 5.00pm for a 5.30pm start for both events. To RSVP, or if you have any questions, please

An opportunity to engage, network and hear about exciting plans for the College, and with lunch provided. Follow the link[11] to confirm your interest in attending.

Southern Entrepreneur networking events taking place at various locations

Follow the link for details and booking.

Grants for rural projects

Do you have a project idea that will create jobs and boost the local economy? Farmers, foresters, growers, small businesses and rural communities can now bid for a share of a 1.6million fund across East Hampshire, as well as Havant, Eastleigh and Winchester.

Follow the link for more information. The grants are available as part of Defra s Rural Development Programme for England and LEADER is the method of delivering funding to projects through Local Action Groups, ensuring that individuals with local knowledge are involved in key decisions about how funds are spent. Further details about Fieldfare LEADER can be found at www.Fieldfareleader.org.uk.


Update on business crime in Hampshire and IoW

Follow the link[15] to read an update from Simon Hayes, Police and Crime Commissioner, highlighting activity to tackle business crime within Hampshire and the Isle of Wight.


Courtesy of Federation of Small Business UK[16]


  1. ^

If we lowered transit construction costs, we could build more transit …


by John Ricco January 5, 2016[2]

US transit projects are way more expensive than those in similar countries. Addressing the reasons why could help us build more transit.

The chart below, created using cost figures from transportation blogger Alon Levy’s compilation[4], illustrates just how bad the problem is. Estimating conservatively, New York City’s price for one kilometer of subway or commuter rail tunnel is about five times more expensive than Tokyo’s, eight times more expensive than Berlin’s or Paris’s, and twelve times more expensive than Barcelona’s. While New York City is the US’s worst offender, other American cities perform dismally too. Take WMATA’s Silver Line, for example. Phase 1 of the project, which is almost entirely above-ground and isn’t located in a dense city center, clocked in at over $150 million per kilometer. In many developed European and Asian countries, this kind of money would be enough to build a fully underground subway line in a dense urban core.

Amtrak also seems to have serious cost problems. Its Gateway project, the sorely-needed plan to increase rail capacity under the Hudson, is estimated to cost $25 billion[5]. And its most ambitious plan for high speed rail on the Northeast Corridor would costnearly $300 billion. On a per-kilometer basis, this is about twice as expensive as the considerably more complex magnetic levitation bullet train[6] that Japan is building.

No one’s really sure why we’re so inefficient at building transit

It’s clear that we have a problem with transit costs. It’s less clear, however, why this is the case. Some people have[7] offered[8] their[9] theories[10], but none stand out as being obvious:

  • Perhaps high land acquisition costs play a role, especially in New York City. This can’t explain why other high rent cities like Tokyo and Paris don’t share our problems, however.

  • Stringent, inefficient union work rules could be a problem. Yet we see union friendly-countries like France and Sweden building transit cheaply.

  • Consultants might face the wrong set of incentives. Public agencies overseeing the contractors might lack the design/engineering/construction expertise required to know if they’re being ripped off.

  • Lawsuits probably contribute to the problem. Countries with a common law tradition one that encourages suing for nuisances seem to experience unusually high infrastructure costs.

  • Organizational fragmentation might incentivize building redundant infrastructure, as is the case in New York City, where two commuter railroads couldn’t agree to share tracks at Grand Central so they are building an expensive second terminal beneath the existing one.

  • It could just be plain old over-engineering. Instead of focusing on the purely functional aspects of transit that get us from point A to point B, we sometimes spend big bucks on lavish[11] architecture[12] or inessential station elements[13].

There are no self-evident answers here. Unfortunately, no one has studied this in detail perhaps because our leaders seem unaware that we even have a problem[14] in the first place.

Fixing the problem is critical for the future of transit in America

One major downside to having a cost problem is that it can be used as an ad-hoc justification to kill transit projects. Maryland’s Purple Line is a recent example. After nearly cancelling the project altogether, Governor Larry Hogan approved a watered-down version of the light rail line, citing the project’s hefty price tag. We see a similar scenario play out across the country: a light rail line is cancelled for lower-cost bus alternatives. Then BRT creep[15] sets in. And before you know it, we’re left with hardly any transit improvements all because the public thought the initial price tag was too expensive. But worrying about high costs doesn’t have to be inherently anti-transit. The opposite is possible: transit advocates should be concerned about high costs because lowering them would open up the possibility of building even more and higher-quality transit.

If your costs are five times higher than what they should be, that means you’re potentially getting five times less transit than what’s possible. If the Silver Line’s costs were more in line with international standards, we’d have billions left over that could be spent on improving Metro. Maybe we could afford the capital upgrades[16] required to run all 8-car trains, ora second Rosslyn station[17], or even a new tunnel through downtown[18].

As others have pointed out, the first step to fixing this problem is raising awareness. Talking to our leaders and asking questions about costs might be a good place to start.


  1. ^ Transit (greatergreaterwashington.org)
  2. ^ John Ricco (greatergreaterwashington.org)
  3. ^ general revenue on highways (cityobservatory.org)
  4. ^ transportation blogger Alon Levy’s compilation (pedestrianobservations.wordpress.com)
  5. ^ $25 billion (nypost.com)
  6. ^ magnetic levitation bullet train (www.apt-newschannel.com)
  7. ^ have (letsgola.wordpress.com)
  8. ^ offered (www.urban.org)
  9. ^ their (transportationist.org)
  10. ^ theories (transportationist.org)
  11. ^ lavish (greatergreaterwashington.org)
  12. ^ architecture (greatergreaterwashington.org)
  13. ^ inessential station elements (twitter.com)
  14. ^ seem unaware that we even have a problem (nextcity.org)
  15. ^ BRT creep (beyonddc.com)
  16. ^ the capital upgrades (www.wmata.com)
  17. ^ a second Rosslyn station (greatergreaterwashington.org)
  18. ^ a new tunnel through downtown (planitmetro.com)

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