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

22 February 2018

Improving compensation for passengers

Transport Focus’s 2018-21 and one year 2018-19 workplans will be published towards the end of March. We plan to make more use of our unique multi-modal and door-to-door insight on the user experience. Combining bus, road and rail in regional reports will help devolved authorities and Mayors make better transport decisions.

We continue to focus on performance and disruption. We will be asking South Western Railway and Network Rail back to update our Board on progress with stabilising performance and handling disruption better. We have been working with Brighton & Hove Buses on how to handle the new ‘normal’ disruption better – some good ideas emerging on getting information to drivers more quickly and giving out more understandable information about diversions. Good progress with Highways England on our campaign to improve the communication and welfare for drivers stuck in major tailbacks – we will give an update at our March public board meeting.

Complaints, compensation and redress will feature large in our 2018-19 workplan. At the moment Virgin Trains West Coast, CrossCountry/Northern and Great Western Railway top our rail complaints league. We are working closely with all of them to reduce backlogs, improve complaints handling and deal with the root causes of complaints. Meanwhile the Rail Passenger Ombudsman Scheme looms later this year. We are helping the rail industry make this work for passengers.

We are pushing the rail industry hard for improved compensation for passengers affected by the delayed Manchester to Preston electrification scheme, working with the Greater Manchester mayor Andy Burnham.

We will soon return to the subject of rail fares reform – there appears to be little appetite for fundamental change with reliance on technology seemingly providing the only solutions. This will help but won’t cure the root problems!

Good progress on getting the user voice heard at the highest levels. Our Using the bus: what young people think report is causing a stir in the bus industry – these are the passengers of the future! Keep them on board!

The next wave of the Bus Passenger Survey is out on March 15 – will congestion continue to depress scores?

The next stage of discussions about the Road Investment Strategy for 2020-25 feature much of our work on behalf of road users – we will keep up the pressure here. Meanwhile we are now represented on all the Network Rail Route Supervisory Boards across England and Wales advancing the passenger cause. We have made our detailed submissions on the Wales and Border rail franchise replacement bids.

Accessibility work continues with the near conclusion of our groundbreaking work on disabled motorists’ experiences of England’s Strategic Road Network.

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