HS2 should provide travellers with on-board GPs, shops and gyms and smart ticketing on the line could even extend to retina and fingerprint scanning, according to a passenger ‘wish list’.
Released by the passenger watchdog Transport Focus today, the research is the first set of findings from discussions with a panel of 40 people across all ages, backgrounds and travel needs to help inform design around the planned North South railway.
The report states that ‘as a minimum, they [the panel] expect free Wi-Fi and plug points’ while others raised the idea of on-board GPs, shops and gyms and called for integrated electronic ticketing purchased and stored on their smart phone.
‘New technologies may further streamline the [ticketing] process via simply ‘tapping in’ with their mobile, using a HS2 “Oyster” card, or even retina and fingerprint scanning,’ the report states, with the panel expecting the latest technology to be introduced.
Anthony Smith, Transport Focus’s chief executive, said: ‘HS2 has the potential to transform travel between our major cities, but this can only be achieved by really understanding the needs of passengers. To build greater trust with passengers, it is important not only to deliver a punctual and reliable service but, a service with passengers at its heart.’
The research also raised the point that more people work part-time or from home and season tickets could reflect this with ‘100 journey’ bundles rather than tickets with fixed time periods.
Enough seating for all passengers even in peak hours is expected however the panel also suggested that at a lower cost for some short-distances ‘commuters would be willing to stand in a designated, safe standing area with plenty of bars or straps to hold’.
There was also a strong call for HS2 to be step-free with wider doors and walkways and affordable ticket pricing so that it is accessible for all.
Professor Andrew McNaughton, HS2 Technical Director said: ‘HS2 will transform long-distance rail travel in the UK and create a step change in passenger experience. Not just faster journeys but easy to use, designed for everyone and utterly dependable. Building from scratch, we can design a railway fit for the twenty-first century. That’s why it’s so important that we listen to what passengers want.'
He added that the panel research would be used to feed into ‘our design work and rolling stock procurement and, ultimately, help us build a better railway’.
The research is ongoing and the panel will run until March 2016.