Transport User Voice March 2024 – Around Great Britain

29 February 2024

A round up of our work


Reporting on the passenger experience

Our team have been out on the Swansea to Birmingham route via Shrewsbury to see what the experience is like for passengers. We saw some good practice and areas for improvement:

  • On the way into Birmingham four carriages were reduced to two due to the other carriages having to cover a broken-down service elsewhere. This led to overcrowding and is indicative of some of the train fleet issues over recent months. It was good to see the conductor supporting passengers by highlighting alternative services.
  • Staff visibility was generally good and trains were clean.
  • We noticed some out-of-date station posters which were immediately removed and replaced.
  • There were issues with the tool which helps passengers find less crowded trains, which is showing no data for some services. This is being worked on and is something we are actively monitoring.

The main issues remain consistency of service and the quality of passenger information. We have fed back a formal report to Transport for Wales and are working together to secure improvements for passengers.

Exploring free travel for young people

Transport Focus joined other key stakeholders for a discussion with the Senedd petitions committee about the feasibility of free transport for young people in Wales. The committee wanted to look into the benefits, barriers and learnings from schemes elsewhere.

The topic has been raised in a number of petitions and a report from the Welsh Youth Parliament. We know from our research that young people find bus fares confusing and inconsistent. Services should be easy and intuitive to encourage greater use and make them an affordable option.

The committee is continuing to explore the issue before making recommendations to Welsh Government.


Transport Focus wants to provide recommendations to the rail industry on how to manage the impact on passengers when weather causes disruption.

To better understand how decisions are made, we joined Scotland’s Railway for a visit to its Integrated Control Room in Glasgow. It was valuable to learn about the management of weather-related incidents and the profiling of risk associated with weather events.

To ensure this is an evidence-based approach, seven metrologists have been employed as Weather Operations Delivery Managers who provide Scotland’s Railway with professional meteorological advice. They focus particularly on vulnerable earthworks, with constant detailed monitoring of weather patterns and forecasts to assist decision making.

Our learnings from the day will inform our work on when and how passengers are informed about weather related disruption, enabling them to make informed decisions about their journeys.

Transpennine Route Upgrade

February saw significant engineering work taking place as part of the Transpennine Route Upgrade to transform the line between Manchester, Huddersfield, Leeds and York.

In what will be a busy year for the upgrade, diversions and rail replacement services will be in place to keep passengers moving whilst work continues.

Our report Transpennine Route Upgrade – what do passengers want? showed that although engineering work can mean disruption to passengers, there is less of a negative impact if clear, timely information is available. Our research shows passengers also appreciate regular updates – both on individual journeys and the progress of the project itself.

Our team have been out in the field – giving feedback that has led to improvements in the information being shared online and at stations, and wayfinding signage for rail replacement services and at interchanges. We are still pressing for improved signage on rail replacement services to enable passengers to identify their bus or coach easily, especially in those locations where staff are not available to assist.

As a key partner in the Transpennine Route Upgrade team, we will continue to feedback on where improvements can be made to drive the passenger experience, while also encouraging good practice to be shared with the rail industry.


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