Train companies brought to task almost 40 times
13 July 2020
THIS YEAR the Office of Rail and Road (ORR) has identified and responded to almost 40 cases where the conduct of a train company in Great Britain was potentially harming the interests of passengers.
The Annual Rail Consumer report illustrates the breadth and depth of ORR’s work to support better rail customer service by highlighting where train companies have made progress, where action has been necessary, and provides a summary of future planned activities.
In 2019-20 ORR’s work included steps to:
- Improve the information provided on websites to ensure it is clear and easily understood so that passengers can purchase the best ticket for their journey, including the messaging available where the train timetable has yet to be confirmed, as well as where there may be rail replacement services;
- Challenge the industry to work together to publish a Passenger Information Improvement Plan. We are pleased to have received a draft of this plan and it shows the industry is committed to making enduring network wide improvements so that passengers can get timely, accurate and complete information, including during disruption;
- Push forward changes to Accessible Travel Policies that are designed to bring greater quality, consistency and reliability to the experience of passengers that require additional assistance to plan and make journeys with confidence. Most companies have now revised their policies in line with this guidance; and
- Intervene and improve performance where companies failed to respond to complaints within 20 working days.
We also received almost 55,000 responses to our survey on passenger satisfaction with train companies’ complaints handling. This will enable ORR to comprehensively review complaints handling in the coming months, highlighting the best and weakest performing train companies and drive companies to deliver improvements where necessary.
Stephanie Tobyn, deputy director for Consumers at ORR said, "Train companies have responded well to the unparalleled challenges brought by covid-19 and while we have remained pragmatic in our approach during this time we have also been clear that companies must ensure that meeting passengers’ needs remains at the forefront of their thinking.
"We have challenged weaknesses in processes, operational practices and in staff training to bring about improvements in all areas of the passengers’ journey and where we have taken action, it has brought immediate benefits for passengers and has also helped shape our future decisions.
"We remain as focused as ever to bring about change in 2020-21 and work is already underway to introduce a delay compensation licence condition, and alongside this report today we have published a review of the Rail Ombudsman scheme after 12 months of its commencement which provides a clear pathway for improving those arrangements for passengers."