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

26 April 2018

Good wins for Transport Focus this month include:

  • Southeastern and South Western Railway both heeded our call for a minimum £100 compensation for passengers trapped for long times during the snow.
  • Bus company Xplore Dundee used our Bus Passenger Survey as a benchmark for driver disability awareness training, boosting satisfaction from 85 to 94 per cent.
  • We have been pressing Highways England to think more about helping drivers not to go the wrong way down slip roads. New signs now on an A47 junction at Castor near Peterborough and more to come.
  • Improvements to disruption information following our suggestions to, among others, Arriva Trains Wales, better Penalty Fare info from Northern and Super Off-Peak ticket restrictions from Greater Anglia.

Over the years we have done a lot of work on fares and ticketing, including how passengers without a ‘valid’ ticket are treated by the rail industry.

It is good to see the Government introducing a greater level of protection for rail passengers issued with a penalty fare, this month. Our work on industry procedures and with individual train companies has brought about improvements. The new independent third stage appeals panel, recruited by Transport Focus, will help ensure people are not unfairly penalised.

This new welcome safety net should help resolve the kind of cases we have been highlighting through our Ticket to Ride work, where passengers making an innocent mistake have been treated like fare-dodgers. The key thing now will be for the rail industry to empower its front-line staff to use more discretion right from the start.

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