Transport User Voice February 2024 – Chief executive’s editorial
31 January 2024
It’s all about passengers
A few observations from me about the articles in this edition of Transport User Voice. It doesn’t matter which mode you look at, reliability and value for money always seem to be at, or near, the top of the list for passenger priorities. We’ve known this for a long time with rail and our latest passenger satisfaction figures in January show a bounce back from lower figures in November and December.
In November and December, we had strikes, bad weather and a lot of train cancellations. Our latest Rail Survey landed during a brief period of relative calm in January. If you want happy passengers, run a service that people can rely on. With more strikes to come we’re still in a position where the railway feels fragile.
What was interesting to see is the same things matter for people using Electric Vehicle (EV) charging at motorway service stations. It’s early days in our research, but value for money and reliability of charging facilities seem to be key concerns. It’s going to be a hard sell – aside from the cost of a new vehicle – if you worry there won’t be a convenient, affordable charging point on your route each time you go on a longer journey. You don’t often worry about finding a petrol station to fill your car, how long before it will be the same for electric vehicles?
Finally, we’ve had the news that LNER are trialling demand-based pricing. It’s come in for a fair bit of a criticism since its launch, some of which might have been helped by better communication and tweaks to how it’s implemented. The key test will be how passengers respond in practise.
Nobody who ends up paying more for less flexibility is going to be happy. What we don’t know yet and seems to be missing from LNER’s communication is how many fares will be cheaper than before? It’s also important not to forget only 11 per cent of journeys in the pilot were made with off-peak fares, so any lessons are unlikely to be applicable on routes where more passengers pay on the day. We’ll be watching with interest.
Enjoy the read.
Back to newsletter