Rail service improvements and disruptions

16.05.18

Industry must act now to keep passengers aware of ‘inaccurate’ timetables

Transport Focus has pressed the rail industry to do more to warn passengers when timetable changes and engineering works will affect their journeys.

At a special public meeting, called by the board of Transport Focus, senior representatives from Network Rail and the Rail Delivery Group were told to explain the steps that were being taken to keep passengers informed.

The watchdog also invited The Trainline to present at the meeting, but the invitation was declined.

Recently, the industry announced that not all timetables would be correct 12 weeks in advance and that a temporary six-week target to get timetables right by will apply instead, meaning that passengers will not know for certain if their journey will be affected by engineering works until just over a month prior to their trip.

It may also mean that cheaper advance tickets go on sale later than usual.

The meeting probed the slow recovery back to the normal 12-week timetable by Christmas and a long-term solution to keep the problem from happening again.

Transport Focus is now calling on train companies and ticket websites to do more to warn passengers about timetable inaccuracies.

Anthony Smith, its chief executive, said: “The rail industry must do more to warn passengers about inaccurate timetables on all websites, including National Rail Enquiries, Trainline and others.

“We’re calling on the rail industry to act now to stop websites selling tickets for trains that they know won’t run.”

The director of Transport Focus, David Sidebottom, recently wrote about the problems this poses for passengers in RTM.

In his piece, he argued that customers have been “badly let down” by these timetable changes and will be “deeply frustrated” that they can’t make plans with certainty.

“We pressed for, and were pleased to see, a no-quibble refund promise. Now we will monitor whether this is delivered,” Sidebottom added.

Top image: VictorHuang

 

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