Lost property: a briefing

15 July 2015

Passengers’ property needn’t be lost and gone forever – the independent watchdog, Transport Focus, is calling for a centralised national database for dealing with lost property.

Passengers lose thousands of items of property each year, some of which never finds its way back to them. This call follows Transport Focus’s investigation into how train companies and the wider rail industry handles lost property and treats passengers looking for their belongings.

23 train companies operate on Britain’s national rail network. Each one has a different way of dealing with lost property. Transport Focus’s investigation found that none of the systems each company uses ‘talks’ to the systems of other companies.

Other findings include:
• Reporting the loss of property is not always straightforward. In some cases passengers were unable, despite repeated attempts by telephone and email, to make contact with the company which the train operator had outsourced its lost property service to.
• Lost property going missing after being handed into the train company.
• Some train companies are decidedly better than others at getting property back to its owners.

Jocelyn Pearson, the Transport Focus issues manager who carried out this investigation, said:

“The current systems in place are, in many cases, not fit for purpose for reuniting lost property with rightful owners.

“A centralised national database, as well as sensible rules for dealing with lost property across the country’s rail network, would make a huge difference to passengers.

“The rail industry has recognised this issue and we’re working with them to set up a better system. Some train companies have already reviewed and improved their own processes.”

Lost property July 2015.pdf
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