Transport User Voice May 2024 – Around Great Britain

01 May 2024

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 Timetable changes 

As part of LNER’s consultation on their proposed changes and impacts passengers travelling to/from Glasgow and Stirling, we have submitted a response detailing the impacts on passengers travelling to/from Glasgow and Stirling. Read our consultation response here.

We noted that: 

  • having access to direct services is a high priority for potential train users who want them to be as easy and convenient as using the car  
  • we recommended that consideration is given to improving the experience of passengers who have to change trains at interchange stations. 

 Fair Fares Review 

 The Scottish Government recently published their Fair Fares Review which will be debated in Parliament in the next few months. We have recently issued a briefing note to our stakeholders and passenger groups advising that passengers need a fares system that offers affordable flexibility, an easier to understand structure and easy ways to buy.  


 Chief executive meets key stakeholders 

Meeting with key stakeholders across Great Britain as part of his new role our Chief Executive Alex Robertson met with Carolyn Thomas MS, Chair of the Senedd cross party group on public transport, about issues facing bus passengers.  

He also met with Network Rail, the Confederation of Passenger Transport and Transport for Wales and heard about a range of issues, including the huge transformation that is needed for local railways in relation to weather resilience. Passengers will also benefit from improvements with delay repay and complaint handling across the railway.  

Another key part of the discussion were proposals for bus reform in Wales and what this might mean for passengers. Alex was keen to discuss working together on shared interests and outlined some of the highlights from our business plan for the coming year. 

Seeing the passenger experience 

We have been out on the Maesteg to Cheltenham rail route to look at the passenger experience, following some recent performance issues. The outward leg of the trip was really pleasant, with plenty of capacity on board, and new trains were bright, airy, and immaculately clean and Wi-Fi and sockets were in working order 

On the return trip, passengers had to change trains at Cardiff Central at the last minute which was not ideal, and support for passengers fell well below our expectations including issues with on-board screens. 

Inconsistencies in the information and poor Wi-Fi on the replacement service coupled with no apology or announcements about Delay Repay meant support for passengers was lacking on the return journey. We’ll be feeding back to Transport for Wales and will continue to work with them to implement improvements. 

During one of the recent strikes, we travelled with Great Western Railway on the Swansea to Bridgend service. This was an exceptionally busy day with numerous public events in the area and the outgoing train was very full, with standing room only. Despite very challenging circumstances, there was excellent customer service by staff on-board and at Bridgend station. Staff were genuinely apologetic about the crowding, provided information offering passengers alternative trains, and were also ‘queue-busting’ and supporting passengers using ticket machines. 

South West and South East England 

Contributing to customer satisfaction 

We recently took part in the inaugural South Western Railway’s (SWR’s) customer and innovation showcase. The event centred on the key drivers of customer satisfaction by SWR’s research and insight team. We were pleased to be part of the production of a video of the event and contributed a piece to camera on the development of the new customer strategy – and how Transport Focus passenger insight supported key areas. These included on-board environment, on-board Wi-Fi, guard visibility, punctuality, passenger information during disruption and station environment 

The SWR team presented the changes and new initiatives that have been implemented to improve passenger satisfaction in these key areas. We were able to discuss existing projects and explore potential future opportunities as part of a supplier marketplace and share good practice with operators through workshops activities. 

Welcome update for disabled passengers 

Southeastern has announced some welcome news for disabled passengers. Its improved and updated journey planner is now on the Southeastern website and app. It includes the ability to identify lift availability and step free information as part of its journey planner. Passengers can now see if the lifts are out of order at any of the stations they’re planning to travel to and see what level of step free access the stations provide. All the information is provided in the same place as the train times and fares. 


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