The rail regulator has said its insistence on better passenger information has prompted industry to develop a new strategy overseen by a new assessment process.
Earlier this year, the Office of Rail and Road (ORR) called for passengers to have effective advice and reassurances during disruption, with clear and reliable information, consistent across the network.
It followed independent research showing that while there have been improvements in recent years there was no clear industry strategy in place for delivering improvements.
The regulator said that in response the rail industry has created a strategy and plan to improve information.
The ORR is trialling a new Customer Information Measure (CIM) to assess the management of passenger information in train companies and drive forward improvement.
Chief executive John Larkinson 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.’
The ORR said it was pleased that the industry’s response recognised the need to make improvements. Its Passenger Information Improvement Plan comprises 13 work packages designed to provide passengers and staff with timely, accurate and more complete information.
Progress includes agreed funding of £7m to redevelop the National Rail Enquiries website to improve the quality of information provided, and the enhancement of a personalised information tool, to provide proactive alerts about crowding and information about social distancing.
The regulator said the CIM will now allow individual train companies’ management of passenger information to be assessed, and will identify areas for improvement and provide a benchmark for comparison.
Two firms – Cross Country and LNER – working with Network Rail, will shortly begin pilot assessments using the CIM.