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Less than one in 10 London and south east passengers told about disruption

New research by Transport Focus has found that the vast majority of rail passengers in London and the south east are insufficiently informed about disruption before they arrive for their journey.

The independent watchdog’s survey of over 2,000 Southern, Thameslink, Gatwick Express and Southeastern passengers last month found that less than one in 10 rail passengers found out about delayed or cancelled services before they arrived at their departure station.

The survey also revealed that over 60% of passengers who were delayed for half an hour or more have submitted a claim for compensation.

“Southern passengers have suffered months of delays and cancellations,” said Anthony Smith, chief executive of Transport Focus.

“Continuing poor performance for passengers in London and the south east has eroded their trust in the railway.”

Southern passengers have found regular service hard to come by recently, as the franchise’s ongoing industrial dispute with drivers’ unions Aslef and RMT has aggravated the effects of improvement works and trains in the track.

Transport Focus has called on the industry to manage planned and unplanned disruption better by getting services back to normal where possible, and sufficiently informing passengers of problems and how to claim compensation if not.

“Passengers want to see a return to normal services as soon as possible. In the meantime train operators’ information about delays and cancellations need to be consistent,” Smith added.

“Transport Focus is working actively with Govia Thameslink Railway and Southeastern to improve the information available to passengers.”

The transport watchdog’s survey also revealed a clear desire from passengers for better wi-fi on trains. While more than three in five passengers said that they can connect to the internet on the platform, only one in five said that they can get a decent internet connection throughout their train journey.

Last month, digital policy minister Matt Hancock told the House of Commons that the minimum free-wifi speed that operators are obliged to offer to passengers as part of their future franchise bids is currently 1MB, but this will be increased by 25% a year.

The government forecasts that more than 90% of train passengers will have access to wi-fi by the end of 2018, rising to almost 100% by 2020.

(Image c. c. Gareth Fuller PA Wire)

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Jimbo   09/12/2016 at 11:55

There are plenty of sources of information about disruption - NR website, Twitter, Facebook, a variety of timetable websites - so surely the headline should really be "Less than 1 in 10 passengers bother to use readily available sources of information about disruption" !!! Whilst the current sources of information could be improved, it is unclear what sort of notification Transport Focus are expecting. The question they should be asking is why don't more people use the existing sources of information ? That would then identify to blockages and enable more usage, rather than just issue vague suggestions about "getting services back to normal where possible" and "sufficiently informing passengers of problems".

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