New regulatory powers to underpin the rail industry’s drive to deliver improved passenger information have today been proposed by the Office of Rail Regulation (ORR).
ORR proposes to clarify and consolidate accountability for passenger information between train operators and Network Rail, with standards subject to its independent regulation. The new obligations would come into force in Autumn 2011.
ORR chair Anna Walker said:
“Passengers need reliable information to make and plan their journeys and, with the strides made in communication technology in the 21st Century, Britain’s rail industry can and must deliver.
“We are all agreed that delivery of accurate and timely passenger information is crucial – particularly so during times of disruption, such as were experienced last winter when passengers were let down again.
“The rail industry has reacted positively to Passenger Focus’ National Passenger Survey which shows only two in five passengers are satisfied with information provided during delays – setting in place agreements, introducing new technology, and developing tailored training aimed at delivering better passenger information. Success requires the active cooperation of Network Rail and all train operators.
“However, industry-wide efforts would be helped by clear lines of accountability amongst train operators and between operators and Network Rail.
“The consultation launched today underpins the rail industry’s drive to deliver improved passenger information – clarifying responsibilities and making delivery of plans already in place a requirement, with the independent regulator able to take action against any poor performers who let the side down.”
Supporting industry-led technological developments and other initiatives aimed at providing correct and consistent information to passengers, new and amended licence conditions will:
- Make it clear that train operators have lead responsibility for getting appropriate, accurate, timely information to passengers
- Confirm Network Rail’s lead role in planning services, creating timetables and providing vital information about planned and unplanned disruption on the rail network to train operators
- Require all parties to work together to deliver improved passenger information
- Commit station operators to play their part in delivering good information through their customer information systems and staff
- Require train operators to publish their plans for improving passenger information
- Ensure that the regulator is able to hold operators and Network Rail to account for the delivery of their plans