Watchdog continues to challenge Transport for Wales over poor performance

03 August 2023

Disruption to services has caused more pain for rail passengers in Wales.

Transport Focus put the spotlight on poor services and disruption in our letter in April, challenging Transport for Wales to make improvements and we continue to press for action.

We’ve been challenging senior leaders at Transport for Wales to ensure the voice of transport users is being heard, keep performance on the agenda and pressed for the actions we have asked for to be taken on board.

We are sharing details of what we’re seeing with the Office of Rail and Road, to give it a full picture to make any formal decisions. This is also shared with Network Rail, to highlight where improvements are needed and to encourage working jointly towards the best outcome for passengers.

Transport Focus is out about on trains and at stations to speak to passengers and experience what they are going through. We gain crucial understanding and first-hand evidence that enables us to report back on what we find – both good and not so good – and to follow up with recommendations of good practice and areas of focus.

Transport for Wales is working to improve the reliability of services, with an improvement plan for the Wrexham-Bidston line. The operator also plans to introduce more new trains for the North Wales service and on the Manchester-Cardiff route to give passengers more seats.

However, we are still seeing examples of when information and support for passengers during disruption is falling way behind expected standards. We know from our research that this is a key priority for passengers. While we have found improvements with the delay repay process, more proactive pushing of the scheme is needed when passengers are delayed, so they know what compensation they are entitled to and how to go about it.

Whilst we know there is still much work to be done, we have seen some clear improvements to rail replacement services, with new branding and improved signage. Transport for Wales is now inviting feedback from passengers through a new survey to get the rail replacement service even better.

In Transport Focus’s last Rail User Survey, passengers rated Transport for Wales in joint bottom place for overall satisfaction. We’ll be looking to see improvements for passengers in our next survey in September. We will continue to raise issues and work closely with Transport for Wales to make sure the situation improves.

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