Passenger Voice July 2015: Anthony Smith’s editorial

06 July 2015

Rail passengers and long term plans…

The recent announcements about the rewriting of the five-year rail investment plan will probably mean little to many passengers more focused on waiting for the next train. However, important decisions are going to be made soon about new priorities. Clearly the five-year plan needs to be reset around an agreed understanding of the resources available, the cumulative impact of various schemes and how much rebuilding passengers can bear! The industry needs to develop measurements of its own performance that more clearly reflect the passenger experience.

The pass/fail of the abstract Public Performance Measure (which measures trains within five or ten minute arrivals at final destinations) has the twin effect of not meaning anything to passengers and painting a very unrealistic picture of what is actually happening on the ground.

We will be adding to this debate by soon publishing new work on how passengers view train performance and balance between the number of trains, the number of seats and reliability. It seems crucial to inform the debate about future planning and performance reporting. If you do not start the discussion from this viewpoint you have little hope of ending up with happier passengers. The welcome effects of having a long-term plan and serious investment to back it up will not be appreciated for a very long time otherwise.


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