Transport User Voice – Chief executive’s editorial October 2017

29 September 2017

Good wins for transport users this month that Transport Focus has secured. Here are some of the highlights:

  • Virgin Trains has now changed its policy so passengers no longer have to have both ticket and seat reservation to prove they have a ‘valid’ ticket
  • Highways England is now using signs, following our research and advocacy, setting out more clearly why road works are being done
  • improved and more useful signage at Waterloo during re-building following our observations and the passenger feedback we pulled together
  • we have secured better bus and car park information at the new Cambridge North station
  • Merseytravel is using the research into new trains that we carried out, to inform the design process in detail
  • more than 500 more rail passengers have asked us for help with their complaints – Virgin Trains, Greater Western Railway and Northern still top our league

The Liverpool City Region Bus Alliance has been relaunched. David Sidebottom, Transport Focus’s director based in Manchester, chaired the event. The Alliance has been a success. Using our Bus Passenger Survey as a key success measure the Alliance has driven up youth passenger numbers, improvements to ticketing, fresh approaches to driver training and better information. Is the template for the possible post Bus Services Act enhanced partnerships?

Road users have been caught in major tailbacks on the M1 and M3 recently following what was thought might be terrorist incidents. Of course, anything terror related must be treated seriously. However, 11 hours trapped on a motorway, with little or no information and no welfare help, is also serious.

Highways England, the Police and local authorities have a duty of care to those trapped road users. Following the M1 incident we wrote again to Highways England to ask what their plans are for improving information for those trapped, helping drivers the problems in the first place and boosting welfare arrangements when these incidents happen.

It may be that this type of problem may become more common. Winter is coming. We have to do better than this. See my blog for more information.

Glad that transport minister John Hayes is launching our Motorway Services User Survey at Beaconsfield services in October. A research launch at a service area – is this a first?! Hope we might see some of you there or at our public board meeting and stakeholder event in Manchester on 13 November.

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