Transport User Voice – May 2019 – Barriers to rail travel
29 April 2019
How to make rail more attractive to infrequent and non-users
Much of the focus of the Rail Review so far has rightly been on existing passengers. Meeting their needs and ensuring they are at the heart of the railway is a key requirement. However, all businesses need to keep one eye on developing the market and attracting future customers.
Over the past 20 years, rail passenger journeys in Great Britain have more than doubled. Despite this, and as stated by the Rail Review team, rail still accounts for only 2 per cent of all trips made and 8 per cent of distance travelled in England. So, there is still a considerable potential market that remains untapped.
All of this gives new impetus to understanding the barriers to using rail. Using its research and some information from the Department for Transport, Transport Focus has prepared a response to the review that looks closely at why people do not use rail – or only do so infrequently. Even more importantly, it suggests what might persuade these travellers to change their habits and give rail a go.
Transport Focus has now made three submissions to the review. The first set out what passengers have said they want, how they want to be involved in the running of the railway and which characteristics passengers believe can, and should, be applied to whatever future structure is selected. The second submission, published in March 2019, looked at what passengers think about the current structure of the railways. A fourth submission will be made later in the spring. This will look at what we know about public trust in the rail system from the results of four waves of the National Rail Passenger Survey.