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Profile: passenger manager for Great Western Railway

Nina Howe - web.jpgI’m Nina Howe and I’m a passenger manager at Transport Focus, focusing on the Great Western Railway.

Before I joined Transport Focus in 2014, I was a policy manager at BskyB, looking at issues including broadband, advertising and even gambling regulation. While I did my best to be ‘on brand’ and cycle to work I spent a lot of time travelling on South West Trains between Putney and the Sky studio so overcrowding issues were already on my mind!

I now live in the south west and I am lucky enough to frequently travel from Frome to Bath, one of many beautiful parts of the line – it’s stunning first thing in the morning, lifts the spirits.

However I am one of the many affected by disruption on this and other parts of the network, so I suppose it makes it a bit more personal as I try to help GWR improve its passenger information during planned and unplanned disruption.

I don’t have a typical day as this job is so varied and I can cover quite a bit of ground. Recently, I had meetings at Paddington in the morning and Exeter in the afternoon.

The Paddington meeting was with our chief executive Anthony Smith and GWR managing director Mark Hopwood, talking about the new franchise and how the company was tackling performance and disruption issues.

I then had to jump on a train to Exeter to meet the customer panel and share some of the work we had done on passenger experiences during the summer engineering works near Bath.

Back home late – but I was up early to head to Manchester for a meeting with the other passenger managers and our policy team colleagues to share key info and lessons picked up during our work round the network

We are all passengers and road users ourselves, and this job involves a fair bit of travel, so it helps us keep transport users front of mind.

I have to say though, my worst ever transport experience was actually by air – I nearly spent Christmas sleeping on an airport floor. I did make it to my destination after all, sadly my clothes took a couple of days longer. It certainly proved that customer information can be an issue no matter how you plan to travel!

Click here to keep up to date with our work on the Great Western franchise.

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