Rail strikes: passenger information leaves room for improvement

18 March 2023

We’ve been following up to see if earlier suggestions to make rail strikes information clearer for passengers have been taken on board. There’s been action in some places, but we found there was still room for improvement:

  • Our suggestion to use graphics more, making things easier to see ‘at a glance’ have been acted on. Since we looked ahead of Thursday’s strike, there are clearer summaries from Avanti West Coast, Chiltern Railways, CrossCountry, Greater Anglia and West Midlands Trains.
  • Regarding making information prominent on websites, while there has been improvement there is room to be better still, particularly where multiple banners might make the strike information easy to miss.
  • Where an operator is not affected, they seem to assume everybody knows that – we’re not so sure. ScotRail added additional information to help clarify this, but it’s an area for other operators to think about.
  • We pushed on why websites were not always clear about when strike timetables will be showing in journey planners. This has been picked up and acted on by some, but others are still asking passengers to keep checking and revisiting. Is that reasonable when others are able to give a specific date?

  • We highlighted that some passengers have no option but to make a trip somehow, so pointing out alternatives is important. This needs to be the norm for operators and some are listening. TransPennine Express is looking at how it can best make this work and West Midlands Trains is grappling with this too. Elsewhere, signposting options continues to be conspicuously absent.
  • Refund information is generally good, but it could still be easier to access and use. Take a leaf from the book of operators who are managing to take as much pain out of the process as possible. Hopefully there won’t be more strikes at the end of March, but if there are the industry should really focus on sharpening up information about the things passengers need to know.

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