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Tuesday, June 18, 2024

Passenger Focus welcomes ‘Initial Industry Plans’

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Passenger Focus has welcomed the publication of the first all rail industry ‘Initial Industry Plans’– the first step in working out what governments might buy and passengers might expect from 2014 to 2019.

This document highlights the prospects for ongoing investment in Britain’s railway.

Anthony Smith, Passenger Focus chief executive, said:

“Passengers want value for money fares and a reliable, frequent service with a good chance of getting a seat. An industry plan is welcome but what passengers will want to be clear about is what is the passenger plan?

“What does this all mean for train performance, the ability to get a seat and fares? Passenger Focus will read this plan carefully and respond on behalf of passengers, based on the extensive research we undertake.”

Passenger Focus said that any attempt to cut rail industry costs should keep the focus on improving passenger satisfaction and keeping the pressure off future fare rises.

Simply reducing visible staff or cutting train lengths will save money, but ‘will put off future passengers – the costs reductions must be genuine’.

Anthony Smith, Passenger Focus chief executive, said:

“Us passengers are already doing our bit. Some of the highest rail fares in Europe, inflation busting rises for the next three years and passengers already investing over six and a half billion pounds into the railways every year.

“Now it is over to the rail industry and Government. Passengers cannot keep subsidising industry inefficiency.”

While any plan must start with high level aims ‘many passengers will be wondering what this means for their train, their service, their route’.

Greater breakdowns of ‘investment, performance improvements and train performance data will all help passengers understands what this might mean for them’.

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