Transport User Voice – November 2018 – Transport for Wales – a new operator arrives

29 October 2018

Welsh passengers have high expectations for their new rail service

The early hours of Sunday 14 October saw Transport for Wales take over as the new operator of the Wales and Borders rail network. Starting amid stormy weather and severe flooding, Transport for Wales had its work cut out – as it will continue to do if it is to meet passenger expectations.

Our research on The future of the Wales and Borders rail service: what passengers want shows the key priorities for improvement are:

  • capacity and overcrowding
  • punctuality, reliability and dealing with disruption
  • replacing trains and improving stations
  • tickets, retailing and value for money
  • staffing and passengers’ relationship with the operator.

Passengers will have a sense of expectation, having seen the ambitious plans for investment in Wales and the Borders in the franchise bid. Initially, these include Delay Repay compensation, improvements to Sunday timetables, station improvements and a new ticketing app. Promised future improvements include track upgrades, better journey times, smart ticketing, new trains and better fare offers for 16-18 year-olds, as well as new jobs, community engagement and delivery of the South Wales Metro.

Passengers will look forward to seeing the benefits of greater investment in their train service – not least, all Pacer trains being removed from the network by December 2019. However, the key to building passengers’ trust will be the delivery of reliable journeys on a daily basis. Transport for Wales must also provide clear communication to explain when these improvements will be delivered and how passengers might be disrupted by any necessary changes over the coming years.

We will now work with Transport for Wales to highlight passenger priorities and other issues, to help the new operator deliver a service with passengers’ interests at its heart.

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