Brown review into franchising – Passenger Focus response
10 January 2013
Anthony Smith, chief executive of Passenger Focus, said:
“Passengers will welcome the beginning of the end of uncertainty. Delays to franchise replacement are postponing much-needed improvements to rail services. Refocusing the purpose of franchising will make sense to passengers who want reliable and value for money rail services.
“Setting out clear objectives and incentives for each franchise will help passengers understand what has been secured on their behalf. Managing franchises as a partnership between government and the industry should also help ensure they can adapt as circumstances change. Ditching longer franchises in favour of extensions will help boost passenger confidence
“The review recommendation that the passenger voice in the award and running of franchises should be boosted is good news. Expanding the rail National Passenger Survey will ensure the views of more passengers are taken account of when franchises are awarded and in operation. Using the survey to help benchmark and incentivise improvements should help train companies focus on passenger needs.
“Encouraging franchisees to focus on staff development is good news. Passengers rely on staff for information, reassurance and safety. Staff form a key part of the passenger experience.
“However, looser specification of franchises to encourage innovation will require careful handling to make sure passenger interests are protected. Encouraging cost reduction is welcome but not at any price – these should be delivered through efficiencies rather than reducing the quality of service.”
For any media enquiries regarding this statement, please contact:
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