Transport User Voice – February 2018 – Transport Focus calls in South Western Railway and Network Rail

31 January 2018

Rail bosses vowed improvements after the watchdog called them in over declining performance.

After months of disruption across the network, South Western Railway (SWR) and Network Rail were called into a special meeting by the Transport Focus Board to explain how they will improve their service.

The Board asked the managing director of SWR and Network Rail Wessex route managing director to explain recent poor performance, their approach to managing disruption and investment plans.

Anthony Smith, chief executive of Transport Focus, said: “We urge every passenger affected to claim compensation. Send a clear message to the industry and make sure your voice is heard. And we will keep pressing industry to make this process easier and more automated.”

How delays are dealt with is a key driver of trust. Six of the top 10 passenger priorities for improvement on South Western Railway are performance based – clearly emphasising the importance of delivering a good, reliable core service. Improving disruption management for passengers is going to be a key issue in 2018.

Following calls from Transport Focus for a clearer and more automated compensation process
SWR told the Board that it would be introducing online accounts imminently and it also hopes to introduce automated payments in early 2019.

Passengers want a more reliable service and better information when things go wrong. While welcome investment is being made in South Western Railway, passengers need to be able to rely on the trains today.

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