West Coast trains – what passengers want
05 February 2016
When new franchise deals are let we want to see passenger views at the heart of decisions about their services. That’s why we carry out bespoke research into the passenger perspective.
The InterCity West Coast franchise, currently operated by Virgin Trains, ends in April 2018 and the Department for Transport (DfT) is running a competition to find an operator for the next franchise. As part of the consultation process DfT asked Transport Focus to carry out research to understand passengers’ current experiences and explore their needs and aspirations for future West Coast services.
We found that passengers are generally happy with value for money, journey experience, and reliability and punctuality. They want to see these good points at least maintained, if not improved. However, there are some key areas identified for improvement within the next franchise:
• a fare structure that is transparent and easy to understand
• a simple, seamless ticketing process
• on-board enhancements to luggage storage, Wi-Fi and toilets
• increased staff visibility and a proactive approach to customer service
• overcrowding of concourse and train boarding issues at Euston Station
• customer recognition and reward.
We are now working with the DfT to highlight these and other issues, and to seek a franchise specification that reflects passenger needs and provides a framework for prospective bidders to propose ambitious and high-quality proposals.
This document summarises the research findings and recommendations for future services. For more detail, you can download the research agency reports as a zip file here.