“Technology is great – we still want friendly staff though.”

12 February 2018

Passengers are excited to think technology can solve their travel concerns, but still keen to have friendly staff on hand.

Independent watchdog Transport Focus has been exploring how the railway of the future should look, in partnership with HS2 Ltd. It has worked with a ‘customer community’ to set out what future railways – such as HS2 – should offer.

Today it publishes passenger thoughts on three key areas: payment and ticketing, luggage, and catering.

Chief executive Anthony Smith said:

“Passengers tell us that they want a stress-free experience. They hope new technology will let them take more control of, and personalise, their journey experience. It’s important that the railway builds trust in its passengers by considering what they want right from the planning stages. We’ve been pleased to see findings from this work pop up in HS2’s plans.”

HS2 Ltd director of railway operations Ben Rule said:

“HS2 will rebalance the economy by connecting eight out of our 10 biggest cities, increasing rail capacity and reducing journey times, while also creating thousands of jobs across the UK.

“I welcome Transport Focus’s work gathering passenger expectations of HS2.

“HS2 is the first mainline railway built north of London in more than100 years. Therefore, it presents a huge opportunity to develop the network in a way that meets passenger expectations and is able to flex with changing technology in the century ahead. We will work with the future West Coast Partner to deliver a brilliant passenger experience and a railway that works for everyone.”

What the group wanted from railways of the future:
• a ‘travel wallet’ where ticketing is paperless and passengers have everything they need for their journey (for example, tickets, maps and timetables) in one digital location
• greater flexibility, for example being able to switch to another service without penalty
• information on luggage facilities before you travel
• stations facilities that consider the needs of those with luggage, such as large toilet cubicles
• a ticketing system that directs passengers to the best place to board
• friendly staff who can help with getting on and off the train
• secure storage space on the train with nearby seats so luggage can be easily accessed or checked on
• good food quality and customer service.

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