Transport User Voice – February 2017 – Chief executive’s editorial

30 January 2017

Under pressure: passenger verdict in

The new National Rail Passenger Survey shows satisfaction with peak time performance is waning badly in some places. Some commuters in London and the South East are getting a raw deal. ScotRail, long a star performer, has faltered.

The timetable on parts of the network is becoming increasingly brittle. As passenger numbers rise the ability of parts of the rail network to cope, until welcome improvements are in and working, will remain strained. Improvement works often make things even more difficult in the short term. As ever performance is a mixed picture. Some train companies and Network Rail have stabilised performance – Virgin West Coast for example.

Bus passengers will probably be further confused by the recent court ruling on the perennial wheelchair versus buggy case. Drivers, who already do a pretty difficult job, now have to be more assertive in getting other users – not just buggies by the way – out of the central space on buses if a wheelchair user wants to get on. Court rulings on how to arbitrate delicate, difficult and divisive social issues rarely help. More likely the pressure and help from other passengers will be more effective.

Really good to hear about Highways England’s plans to improve signs on the A20 in Kent on the approaches to Dover. Good for locals currently stuck with a permanent speed restriction just in case ‘TAP’ (the on/off lorry queue system for the port) is turned on. Good for HGV drivers who encounter temporary, confusing signs.

This follows our recent report into this issue and driver’s views on what facilities should be at the proposed lorry holding area in Kent. Good to have views aired on the issue, that is both very local and very national, at our recent seminar in Dover.

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