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

29 October 2018

Bus open data, the Rail Review and a huge boost to the driver voice

Governments everywhere, as I discovered when we recently met the new Scottish transport minister Michael Matheson MSP, are grappling with how to improve information to help people choose more sustainable forms of transport. As the air quality debate heats up this is becoming ever more pressing.

If you travel around London Google, Citymapper and others provide a flow of useful and seemingly accurate information about all forms of transport. This sort of information needs to be spread more widely – our young people and bus research showed that friends, family and Google are the go to places for information.

Making bus performance data more public in England and Scotland is also on the agenda. Detailed discussions, which we are part of, are taking place. Operators have understandable questions they want answered, about the role of the performance regulators the Traffic Commissioners in particular.

However, given this is all going to happen and works in London already can we get on and start to release data as soon as possible? App developers are keen to get their hands on it to start to feed it through to passengers. Bring it on!

We have had our first meeting with Keith Williams who is heading up the Governments Rail Review. Really positive: keen to put users first, no pre-conceptions, enough transport experience to ask the right questions and forthright. Passengers will be watching carefully. We need some meaningful reform this time around to boost value for money, improve punctuality and co-ordinate change better. Rail passenger numbers are picking up again – this is a golden opportunity to get the structure of the rail industry more user focused. It is now 25 years since the law changed to bring in the new railway structure – reform is overdue.

On the roads some big pieces of work are coming on line – literally given our new, soon to be unveiled data hub. Our new Strategic Roads User Survey, the soon to be published Logistics and Coach Manager Survey and our recently published report on cyclists, pedestrians and equestrians (of which more elsewhere in this edition of Transport User Voice) also make a powerful trio of benchmarking reports. The road user voice is finally arriving.

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