Passenger Focus response to the rail industry’s Initial Industry Plan For England and Wales in Control Period 5, 2014-2019
09 December 2011
This document provides Passenger Focus’s response to the rail industry’s Initial Industry Plan (IIP) for England and Wales in Control Period 5 (CP5), 2014-19, while the appendix reproduces our submission to the rail industry’s Planning Oversight Group during that body’s development of the IIP. Passenger Focus welcomes publication of the rail industry’s IIP for England and Wales for CP5, and is supportive of what it would deliver for passengers on top of the much-needed investment already announced in terms of Crossrail,Thameslink Programme, the Intercity Express Programme and electrification of the Great Western and routes in North West England. The very fact that the IIP represents the rail industry planning together, rather than separately as individual businesses, is a welcome advance on planning for Control Period 4. It must be noted, however, that the IIP is predicated on the industry achieving the efficiencies identified in Sir Roy McNulty’s Rail Value for Money Study , continuing above-inflation fare increases, a more liberal franchising model and a £260 million increase (over what would otherwise be required) in government funding for the railway. These cannot be taken as read and passengers must expect these plans to change. While acknowledging the wider economic and financial situation, Passenger Focus is concerned about its assumption of continuing above-inflation fare increases and significant reductions in the number of passenger-facing staff. Neither of these will be popular with passengers and we comment further about them in this document. While acknowledging the challenge of costing a specific target for a measure based on passenger perception, Passenger Focus is disappointed that the IIP talks only of an ‘ambition to achieve 90% customer satisfaction in the longer term’, but is then unambitious about improving punctuality – the very thing that would do most to increase passenger satisfaction.