Transport User Voice – August 2018 – Chief executive’s editorial

30 July 2018

As timetable problems continued through July we have continued to be both active and vocal about information, compensation, re-building trust and stabilising the timetables.

It’s good to see Liverpool Lime Street reopened on time following the long closure to upgrade the platforms and signalling. Passengers may not immediately notice a huge difference on the station concourse, but the infrastructure improvements will allow faster and more frequent services in future.

This month it was the turn of South West Railway and Network Rail to attend our Board meeting in public. We quizzed them about how far their performance has now stabilised and efforts to improve further. Thameslink, Great Northern and Network Rail will come to a Board meeting in September, to answer passengers’ questions on recent disruption and their ongoing plans to improve performance and reliability.

Meanwhile, drivers are taking part in our new Strategic Roads User Survey which is currently at the ‘in field’ stage and early progress is looking good. First results out in the autumn. Meanwhile, we are urging Highways England to hit its current customer satisfaction target – performance has slipped recently.

We published our latest Motorway Service Users Survey on 24 July with substantial media coverage, including across one third of the BBC local radio network. User ratings are remarkably high for locations where operators get the basics right – clean toilets and decent refreshments served by friendly staff – but there’s still scope for improvement.

Our work on behalf of disabled motorists was also rewarded with a clear reference in the Government’s new Integrated Transport Strategy (page 52) pledging £2m for motorway service areas to help put in ‘changing places’ toilets. On a related theme we publish results of research into the experiences of people with disability using the Strategic Roads Network later this year.

On buses we are working up some new insight work on the user experience of ‘on demand’ services. So, taxis, private hire, Dial a Ride, door-to-door small bus and others. There will be more on this later in the year too; it should provide an interesting snapshot of how users view these booming services.

Finally, our next major event is a conference on 4 September being held jointly with Heathrow Airport that brings together a raft of thought leaders in the field of consumer insight to examine the future of measuring transport user experience. Places are by invitation and really limited, but register your interest here.

In the meantime, pleasant and safe travels during you summer get aways!

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