Transport User Voice – June 2018 – Chief executive’s editorial

23 May 2018

Some good wins for users this month:

  • Our suggestions of Facebook signs on the M5 Oldbury roadworks has boosted engagement with drivers and new signs with Twitter addresses in the North East have flagged how to get more information and why work is happening
  • In 2016 our Bus Passenger survey results for bus company Xplore Dundee showed satisfaction of passengers with a disability at 85 per cent. It started disability awareness training for their drivers and satisfaction is now at 94 per cent
  • Highways England, following our advocacy is introducing improved signs to help stop drivers going the wrong way down slip roads – already on the A47 at Castor, near Peterborough
  • Our work for Strathclyde Partnership for Transport (SPT) with Glasgow Subway passengers produced great results. Based on feedback SPT is looking at improving the comfort of seats on old stock ahead of new trains coming in and better value for money season tickets.

Passengers and East Coast

What are us passengers meant to make of all the goings on around the East Coast franchise?

Whichever organisation runs East Coast services, under whatever new arrangements, passengers will be looking for the quality of current services to be maintained and built on. East Coast is currently the top-rated franchised train service in Great Britain – with 92 per cent overall satisfaction with the last journey in the latest National Rail Passenger Survey.

While reliability must continue to improve, and new investments made, passengers will continue to judge services by the performance on the day. Value for money, cleanliness of the train and crowding levels amongst other factors will be used to judge the success of the franchise.

Having more stability in the underlying relationship between Government and the train company will help achieve these things that matter most to passengers. Having that train company under Government control just might make some things happen a bit quicker. And, of course, new arrangements for the East Coast might be a blueprint for the rest of the country.

End of the line for baffling rail fares?

Transport Focus has long called for a thorough reform of Britain’s complex rail fares and ticketing structure. Passengers tell us they want to see a simpler, more understandable and trustworthy system. Working in partnership with the Rail Delivery Group on its planned consultation on reform we will seek passenger views on what a fairer system might look like.

We are conscious that any reform and its implementation might well affect some passengers more than others. We are keen to ensure the overall passenger voice is heard in these debates and that any proposed options for change clearly identify the ‘winners and losers’.

The consultation opens on 4 June. You can sign up to have your say here.

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