Transport User Voice – January 2021 – Chief executive’s editorial

17 December 2020

An uncertain Christmas but we’re still working for you

Our insight, drawn from our weekly 2000 strong travel survey and our online communities, shows that around one in three people are still thinking about travelling around Christmas. However, much of the planned travel is local, maybe on Christmas day itself, and most people are driving. The recent announcement from the Prime Minister about keeping safe over Christmas by limiting contact and avoiding travelling to and from places where the tiers differ may well suppress these figures even further.

So, it looks like the major roads will cope with what is always a relatively busier time. Long-distance rail, apart from some busy trains on December 23 and 27, has space to cope. The very sensible decision from the Government to fund some extra capacity on coach services should help smooth out any problems. We have been pressing the industry to make sure sufficient staff are on hand to help out. We’ve also been checking the websites of all providers, including motorway service areas, to make sure the information on there is accurate and useful. Quite a few changes have flowed from this already.

Meanwhile we are starting to take a look at 2021. The Department for Transport has announced that fares will be going up by an above-inflation rate from March which will make our work on fares reform ever more important. The industry must be able to attract people back by offering fares that match how we know people hope to live, work and travel in future. Our key priority is to help people travel confidently again – especially on public transport.

Rebuilding all our major ‘tracker’ satisfaction surveys to be more digital, ‘always on’ and representative is also crucial. Feedback loops from users will be more important than ever in the inevitably messy period of vaccines, ongoing lockdowns and false alarms that will no doubt characterise next year.

We are currently working on an accessibility work strand and also ensuring the passenger voice is heard in inevitable changes to service levels next year. All this work will be done with our partners at London TravelWatch.

So, whether you are travelling or not, stay safe and see you all next year.


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