The Office of Rail and Road (ORR) and the rail industry are working together to develop passenger information.
Following ORR’s call earlier this year for the rail industry to improve passenger information, particularly during disruption, the industry has formulated a strategy in response.
The regulator is trialling a new Customer Information Measure to look at in detail the management of passenger information in train companies and drive forward improvement.
Following their own independent research, ORR have said passengers need to have effective advice and reassurance during disruption, with clear and reliable information, which is consistent across the network.
In the current climate, timetables and travel advice are changing more than usual, meaning the importance of clear and consistent information for passengers has been crucial so they can travel with confidence.
ORR have said they are pleased the industry’s response recognises the need to make improvements. Its ‘Passenger Information Improvement Plan’ comprises 13 work packages designed to provide passengers and staff alike with timely, accurate and more complete information.
Significant progress has been made on those commitments, such as an agreed £7m funding to redevelop and redesign the National Rail Enquires website to enhance the quality of information provided, and the development of a personalised information tool, to provide proactive alerts about crowding and information about social distancing.
ORR is also working with the industry to develop a new way to drive continuous improvement in delivering customer information. A Customer Information Measure (CIM) will now allow management of passenger information by individual train companies to be assessed, identify areas for improvement and provide a benchmark for comparison.
Train operators Cross Country and LNER are working alongside Network Rail to shortly begin a pilot assessment using CIM.
John Larkinson, ORR Chief Executive, said: “Passengers must have the information they need to plan and make their journey, especially when there is disruption. While improvements have been made in recent years, more still needs to be done to meet passenger expectations.
“The industry strategy and our Customer Information Measure are crucial to driving change. I am keen that this work progresses quickly so that passengers can start realising the benefits as soon as possible.”