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Majority of passengers prefer to wait on train than take replacement buses

Passengers would rather wait on a train for 40 minutes than be forced to take a replacement bus service, research has found - even if this means a longer journey.

Independent watchdog, Transport Focus has updated its 2012 research, ‘Passenger priorities during disruption'.

The latest report, ‘Rail passengers’ experiences and priorities during engineering works,’ revealed that passengers’ perceptions and expectations of railway engineering works have changed very little since 2012.

Experiences during planned disruption are varied, as they were during 2012. Many passengers follow the industry’s ‘Check before you travel’ guidance, with no clear evidence of passengers simply choosing to avoid travelling at weekends.

Should the journey require a replacement bus service, an overwhelmingly large proportion of passengers (85%) felt that this warranted a discount off the normal fare.

Chief executive of Transport Focus, Anthony Smith, said: “Welcome investment in the rail network does mean that there will be short-term disruption for some passengers.

“But there are ways of reducing its impact. There have been some improvements in this area but we urge industry to continue putting passengers at the heart of planning for all new engineering works.”

As a result of these findings, the watchdog has recommended that replacement buses only be implemented as a last resort.

Should it be necessary to use a replacement bus service, it has recommended that this should be made clearer when booking, and that train companies should provide better customer service when passengers transfer from train to bus.

Top image: william87

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Billd   27/10/2017 at 13:06

If TOCs resort to bus replacements, this should trigger fare refunds even if the work has been planned in advance. In my opinion, buses are not an adequate stand-in for a train otherwise trains would be empty and buses full. On a recent replacement bus service, I could have reached my destination quicker using a different route - but that would have meant using another operators trains. It should be a priority to keep passengers on the rails and hefty compensation to inconvenienced passengers and fines to the culprit may help to concentrate minds in this matter. Even if the delay to the scheduled service is caused by an accident on the track, it must not be allowed to descend into a farce with the police/RAIB closing the scene to investigate a "possible crime'. This doesn't happen on the motorways of the land and it should not happen on the railway. The first priority must be to inconvenience the travelling public as far as possible.

Pdeaves   27/10/2017 at 13:27

Statement of the bloomin' obvious. I hope Transport Focus didn't spend much on finding this out. And Billd: I trust you meant "The first priority must be to inconvenience the travelling public as *little* as possible"!

Adrian N   27/10/2017 at 14:45

Billd, sadly shutting motorways to investigate a possible crime does happen, e.g. the M1 near Milton Keynes a few weeks ago.

Mark Hare   27/10/2017 at 15:51

@Billd even if the line is not closed by the police after a fatality, as far as I understand it the line will remain closed until a coroner has declared life extinct, even if that is patently obvious. And if local police are on the scene before the BTP arrive then there is often a lack of understanding of railway procedures and requirements and often a 'crime scene' is declared, leading to much unnecessary delay in reopening the line.

David   27/10/2017 at 17:00

Good on you for mentioning it Adrian. I was caught up in the gnarl for a long long while.

Manchester Mike   27/10/2017 at 22:25

Bustitution sucketh. As Billd says, keep us passengers on the rail network.

Peter Jarvis   29/10/2017 at 16:49

Mark Hare, the coroner cannot declare life extinct unless he is a registered medical practitioner. Occasionally, doctors may be coroners, but most are lawyers. Would you care to have your death certified by a lawyer?

Andrew JG   08/11/2017 at 03:50

Don’t forget Greater Anglia? They always have replacement buses no matter if there are engineering works taking place at weekends.

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