Rail commuters feel the pressure: passenger verdict in
27 January 2016
28,000 rail passengers recently gave us their views on the journey they had just completed: the results are out today and are published on this website.
The National Rail Passenger Survey provides valuable benchmarking of how Britain’s rail passengers are being served by train companies and Network Rail. The message is clear: commuters, in London and the South East in particular, are feeling the strain.
While longer distance and regional rail passengers have seen some improvements the overall change has been dragged down by the sheer weight of passenger numbers in the South East. Spiralling passenger numbers are making day to day operation and re-building difficult. Welcome and necessary long-term investment from Government (alongside the £8bn odd we passengers are putting in every year!) to cope with this growth is proving painful, in places, to dig in.
We think it’s time the industry gave passengers some meaningful promises about when performance will stabilise and hopefully improve. In addition to that, say sorry! A fares reduction or free tickets might go some way to helping rebuilding some trust.
Future big schemes, such as at Waterloo and Euston – as well as longer term planning for investment for the whole industry – must engage passengers much more closely in the planning stages. They must include realistic expectations about performance, with price freezes built in from the start. The deserved credit for the investment will be much harder to claim otherwise.