Transport User Voice – December 2016 – Chief executive’s editorial

29 November 2016

The scale of the accident in Croydon still seems hard to come to terms with. Seven dead, many injured. Obviously, everyone’s thoughts are with those individuals and families affected.

Our sister organisation, London TravelWatch, will take the lead in monitoring the recommendations, and their likely impact on the Croydon tram system, coming out of the various inquiries and reports into the accident. We will take a close interest in how these recommendations might affect passengers using other tram systems in Great Britain.

The investments in transport announced in the Autumn Statement are welcome, including the East West Rail and the Oxford and Cambridge Expressway. Developing digital signalling should result in a more punctual and reliable railway – addressing passengers’ top concerns. Investment in motorways and major ‘A’ roads is also welcome as road surfaces and capacity are key user issues. All such investment and long-term planning must put the user at its heart and reflect their priorities and experiences.

This month also saw the millionth passenger take and fill in one of our National Rail Passenger Survey questionnaires (since it began in 1999). Matthew Barker, who commutes from Euston to Milton Keynes said: “My daily commute to Milton Keynes needs to be as easy and as stress free as possible. I’m glad my train looks to be on time today. It’s great that I’ve had the opportunity to have my say on my train journey to help improve future services.”

Few other industries have access to such a wealth of benchmarked information about their customers. We are now making the survey even more robust and useful by shortening the questionnaire, offering online completion, adding questions on how the journey made you feel and trust.

We are also now in the testing phase of our new Strategic Roads User Survey, continuing to develop our emotional tracker and now using our new online panel. Understanding what transport users want will always be a mixture of insight work, talking to individuals and guessing what they might want in future. Our insight work will enable us and the transport industry to talk to more users in future.

Meanwhile Southern passengers continue to hit by strikes and performance issues. We continue to assess the impact of timetable and other changes. Little festive cheer there yet.

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