Improving passenger experience of essential maintenance works

15 December 2017

Maintaining the railway is critical – without regular maintenance, things will not run properly.

Passengers say they will be understanding about routine railway maintenance even though it causes disruption – as long as they are given the right help and information. This came out of today’s report from independent watchdog Transport Focus, Routine railway maintenance: passenger perspectives and priorities.

Transport Focus chief executive Anthony Smith said:
“Passengers tell us that they will tolerate a certain level of disruption knowing it helps keep the railway running in the long term. But they expect to be kept well informed and helped to make alternative plans where needed. However, as we saw earlier this week, this doesn’t always happen.”

Transport Focus is now calling on industry to:
Tell passengers why the work is happening – support for routine maintenance is stronger when passengers understand why the work is necessary.
Give passengers accurate, timely and reliable information at least 12 weeks in advance so they can plan journeys and book tickets with confidence.
Help passengers with plan B options – these should be communicated clearly, and help provided both in person at stations, and online.

Read the full report here.

Network Rail, Southeastern and Govia Thameslink Railway have signed up to a working group, chaired by Transport Focus, to tackle the issues highlighted in this research and so improve the passenger experience during disruption caused by routine maintenance work.

John Halsall, Network Rail’s route managing director for the South East, said:
“The railway in the South East is the most intensively used part of our national network and requires regular maintenance to keep trains running safely and reliably. Understanding what passengers want means we can put their needs at the heart of how we manage the railway, which is why this research is so valuable to us as we develop our plans for the next few years.”

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