Train company transparency welcomed by passengers

27 March 2015

Passengers have reacted positively to train companies clearly setting out their plans and commitments to passengers.

The Government now requires new franchisees to produce a ‘Customer Report’ at the beginning of its contract and to provide updates at least once a year.

These ‘Customer Reports’ should detail what has been achieved to date, plans for the franchise and the performance targets against which progress can be measured.

Passengers said that the ultimate ‘test’ was how hard train companies would try to deliver their commitments and if they would honestly report on the promises they have not kept and the reasons why.

These findings are part of the independent watchdog’s research into ‘Customer Reports’. The research was carried out to get a better understanding of how these reports might best meet passengers’ needs and to identify examples of good practice.

Sharon Hedges, Passenger Focus manager, said:
“Customer reports are a welcome additional channel for passenger engagement. The clear statement of promises addresses passengers’ desire to understand what a new franchise is expected to deliver*.
“The reports should focus on passengers’ key concerns, provide a commentary on progress, and explain why if promises are not being kept.
“The Government should carefully consider these research findings and see how they can be reflected in future franchises.”

Other findings of this research include:

  • reports should be succinct and clearly laid out
  • details should be available for specific areas, stations or routes
  • reports should be promoted widely using different methods such as posters at the station and on trains, and emails

Click the links below to download the summary research report and individual train company reports.

Passenger Focus’s research on Passenger Power! demonstrated that rail passengers want a greater voice in franchising decisions and more information about what winning bidders have promised. 

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