Transport User Voice July 2024 – Rail news roundup

05 July 2024

Our work on the ground

It’s been a busy month on the rails for Transport Focus. We’ve been out and about on the network working with passengers and operators across a variety of areas and issues:

  • Testing rail replacement services
    Work continues on the TransPennine Route Upgrade, and we have been out testing the organisation and delivery of rail replacement services. The team were recently in West Yorkshire during weekday engineering works in the Morley area, to speak to colleagues and passengers about their experiences. We highlighted the importance of colleague visibility and support, especially around busy stations such as Leeds, Huddersfield and Dewsbury. When staff are unable to be present, we emphasised how vital accurate and clear information at rail replacement bus stops are for passengers.
  • Stranded trains publication
    We are working with the Office of Rail and Road (ORR) on research that looks at the impacts of stranded trains on passengers. We are preparing the summary of the findings for publication which will be shared shortly after the General Election. We’ll be organising an event later in the year for train operating companies and ORR to develop some common and deliverable changes for passengers for when they are stranded.
  • Passenger experiences of information during disruption
    Disruption on the railways and how it is managed is one of the biggest complaints from passengers. We are currently commissioning a new piece of research that will ask passengers more about their current experience of information during disruption, and what their desired experience of passenger information would be. The work will explore why the information provided currently falls short of passenger expectations.
  • Responding to changes for mobility scooter users
    Transport Focus has recently responded to a consultation from East Midlands Trains about changes to its mobility scooter permit scheme. The changes will broaden the eligibility criteria for permits, but some of the changes could mean existing permit holders will no longer be eligible. This eligibility relates to a new requirement that scooters have an anti-tip device in place. We suggested that the reasons for the changes should be clearly explained and communicated to passengers. We also raised questions about how assessments for those who needed to travel at short notice without a permit could be done over the phone and then communicated to the team at the station.
  • Feeding back on the removal of luggage trolleys
    Network Rail have made a change proposal for the removal of all passenger luggage trolleys from the station and platforms at London Euston station. We had some concerns about the proposal and requested some information about the reason for the change, a confirmation that an Equalities Impact Assessment had been conducted, and what will happen for people who need extra help with their luggage – as this was missing from the proposal.Network Rail had indicated initially that the trolleys were being removed due to capacity constraints, and later that the trolleys were repeatedly stolen and expensive to replace. As there is a low awareness of the Passenger Assist provision, many passengers do not think they are eligible to utilise the service – or know that help with luggage is included. We will continue to engage with Network Rail to try and ensure that passengers have access to support with luggage.


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