Passenger Focus response to ORR regulating passenger franchisees in England and Wales consultation

16 March 2012

A greater role for ORR regulating passenger franchisees in England & Wales Passenger Focus welcomes the opportunity to comment on the above consultation document. We support the proposals regarding complaint handling, disabled persons? protection policies and performance monitoring. However, we have serious concerns about the way ORR propose to measure and monitor service quality via a licence provision. Our detailed comments are structured around the specific questions you ask. Question 1. May we publish your response? Yes. Question 2: Please comment on the general principles against which changes in responsibility for regulation of passenger franchises should be assessed. From a passenger perspective it is important that adequate safeguards and protections exist. There is little in the way of direct competition between most train companies and where a market cannot regulate itself through competition it is right and proper that regulation is provided from outside. Passengers are not conscious of whether something is required via a franchise or a licence ? the important thing to them is that the protection exists. So, to passengers, the question of who regulates (or enforces a regulation) and where the protections ?sit? is something of a secondary issue. However, we fully accept the importance of having a clear and efficient process of regulation ? a more streamlined and efficient system in theory allows for quicker and better targeted protection for passengers. Our starting point for any review is to focus on the passenger. Internal efficiency is a worthy aim but the key question that must be asked throughout this process and against which we believe each change must be measured is: what impact will this change have on passengers? We believe this should be an explicit criteria for assessing any potential changes to regulation.

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