Transport User Voice – June 2023 – Around Great Britain
31 May 2023
An update on our work
Transport for Wales performance
Last month Transport Focus wrote to Transport for Wales (TfW) about its performance and impacts on passengers. TfW has responded and you can read both letters here. We’re looking for TfW to:
- restore service performance and reliability as a priority
- improve information provision via a range of channels, not just digital, with honest and transparent communications when things do not go to plan
- monitor and improve the experience of replacement services
- have a greater focus on complaint handling quality.
We’ll continue to monitor the issues we have raised and ensure that passengers are central to the improvements and changes needed.
Ten years of the Active Travel Act
Transport Focus joined Sustrans and other organisations at the Senedd on 9 May to mark ten years of the Active Travel Act in Wales. Deputy minister for climate change Lee Waters MS spoke about the work done to deliver the Act and the success in making cycling, walking and wheeling more mainstream. Active travel is the highest priority in the Wales transport strategy and is key in making it a successful multimodal network.
The panel of speakers highlighted benefits of active travel especially for children. With the development of safer outdoor play contributing to a better sense of wellbeing, schoolchildren now enjoy cycling to school. However more work is needed to overcome barriers – providing safe and accessible walking and cycle routes and loan schemes to help with the cost of the purchase of bikes. Transport Focus will continue to share our research and evidence of good practice to inform and encourage active travel.
New timetables are now in place for West Midlands Trains, with the bulk of the changes being on the Snow Hill line including the introduction of additional new trains, and the removal of First Class on its services. The timetable is designed to deliver more robust and reliable services for passengers the line and is a result of feedback including input from Transport Focus.
The new Wolverhampton Interchange is one step closer to being fully open for passengers with a new cycle hub and completion of the tram line. West Midlands Metro are currently testing the final section of the route to Wolverhampton railway station and it’s expected that full services will be introduced in the coming months.
As a part of the Grand Railway Collaboration we were pleased to be part of the second annual customer experience day that saw more than 80 managers, leaders and frontline staff including our chief executive, Anthony Smith came together to collaborate on improving the passenger experience in the West Midlands. Anthony shared some insight about what matters most to West Midlands passengers highlighting some of the findings from our Britain’s railway – What matters to passengers research.
The sudden closure in April of the railway line between Oxford and Didcot, due to concerns about the structural integrity of the Nuneham Viaduct has caused significant disruption to passengers. Network Rail is dealing with the complex job of repairing the bridge between Culham and Radley and it is unlikely to reopen until June.
Transport Focus has been monitoring how the industry has responded to the needs of passengers – keeping them informed and moving during this unplanned event. A range of rail replacement bus and coach services have been put in place for passengers.
We’ve been checking on the quality and consistency of the passenger experience on the route and crowding has been an issue at times. Operators have had feedback about improving the numbers and size of buses and coaches at certain times of the day and ensuring that there is accurate information on websites and journey planners.
Despite the challenges, the industry has come together to provide a fairly seamless service including Chiltern Railways lengthening some of its trains where it can. Passengers will undoubtedly be relieved when rail services are restored on 10 June.
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