Passenger Power! Give passengers the vote?

06 June 2013

Good launch yesterday for our Passenger Power! campaign.

We introduced our latest research on passenger involvement in the railways. It is an interesting read: very little information reaches passengers about their trains, the media fill the void and passengers are astounded when a new train company turns up one day.

What happened to the old company? Who are this new lot? What have they promised? Passengers want to have more of a say on who runs their trains and how they are performing.

With some passengers using train services 450 times a year, and with passengers now putting in around two thirds of the railway’s funding, it is time their voice is boosted.

Passenger Focus has three recommendations:

  •  tell passengers when a franchise replacement is underway. Give us an opportunity to put in our views
  • when a franchise is awarded set out, in a clear concise way, what has been promised and when
  • finally, really involve passengers in the monitoring of performance. This can be done by boosting the use of our rail National Passenger Survey and more active passenger involvement.

We have floated the idea of passengers having a vote when an extension to an existing franchise contract is awarded. How better to judge performance or take the risk on a new provider?

For far too long passengers have been the passive recipients of decisions made on their behalf. It is time to correct that.

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