Responding to the ORR’s proposed licence change on passenger information, Michael Roberts, Chief Executive of the Association of Train Operating Companies (ATOC) said:
“Significant progress has been made in recent years and the industry is investing millions of pounds to provide better, more consistent information to passengers when there is disruption.
“We know we need to do more – that’s why we’re working with the rest of the industry to improve now and over the next few years how we communicate with passengers, including the introduction of the most up to date technology and special training courses for staff.
“We are therefore disappointed that despite acknowledging positive improvements to the quality of passenger information during disruption, the ORR is proposing new licence obligations for the rail industry.
“The Rail Delivery Group, recommended by the McNulty report, has been set up to strengthen industry leadership in tackling these sorts of issues. We hope the Government’s upcoming Command Paper will support an industry-led approach especially at a time when ministers are seeking to reduce the burden of red tape on businesses.”
Improvements train companies have introduced to provide better information to passengers during disruption:
- Live departure boards on train company websites and detailed information about disruption
- The world’s first real time journey planner on the National Rail Enquiries (NRE) website
- Significantly enhanced capacity on the NRE website to ensure it can deal with any surges in demand
- Almost all train companies now have their own Twitter feeds to provide passengers with up to the minute information about services
- Many staff have access to smart phones to ensure that they are up to date with changes to services and that they can share information quickly and effectively
- Customer information staff now sit in rail control centres to make sure that the key decisions made by controllers are relayed to customers.