Arriva Trains Wales – moving in the right direction?

12 November 2013

Passenger Focus is holding a conference, public board meeting and stakeholder reception in Cardiff this week. A good time to pause and reflect, with the new franchise coming up in 2018.

Buoyed up by government investment Arriva Trains Wales is doing okay. In our last rail National Passenger Survey overall satisfaction reached its highest – 88 per cent. Big improvements in staff availability, ticket facilities (lots of new machines) and information were also recorded. Our work, and the work of others, with the British Transport Police also drove change in scores both on trains and at stations.

However, value for money has dipped – the minister’s announcement today about fares in the New Year should help with that. Also, news on integrated ticketing (which we have done a lot of work on) should also be welcomed by passengers.

I suspect the main discussion this week will be around the new franchise. How will passenger views be taken into account? And how will passenger-focused incentives and targets be built in? Adding a new franchise to the already announced electrification and new trains for Great Western routes mean railways in Wales seem to have a positive future.

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