Passenger Voice February 2016: Anthony Smith’s editorial

29 January 2016

Rail commuters feel the pressure: passenger verdict in

A big thank you to the 28,000 rail passengers who recently gave us their views on the journey they had just completed. 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 dampened down by the sheer weight of passenger numbers in the South East. As passenger numbers increase the welcome and necessary long term investment from Government to deal with this growth is proving painful, in places, to dig in. Performance and crowding dominate passenger views of the railway.

We think it’s time the industry gave passengers some meaningful promises about when performance will stabilise and hopefully improve. In addition to that a fares reduction might go some way to helping rebuilding trust.

As the squeeze on local authority budgets continues so does the knock on effect on some subsidised local bus services. The consultation on such changes is really important but patchy: some councils really good, some just paying lip service. We are going to look at boosting and refreshing our work on good practice in consultation, check out our toolkit here if you haven’t already seen it.

Invites will soon be going out for our Manchester event, is bus the missing link in delivering a northern powerhouse?, where you will be able to hear about our latest Bus Passenger Survey results and work on priorities for improvement and trust. If you are interested in attending further details can be found here.

Over the next few months Transport Focus will be publishing lots of new research into passengers’ experiences across rail, road, bus and tram. For more detail on what we are doing check out the ‘coming soon’ section of our website.


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