Rail firms react to new regulations

 


Train companies - heavily criticised over the quality of passenger information during last winter's disruption - have expressed "disappointment" at the rail regulator's decision to tighteninformation regulations.

New obligations on train companies to provide appropriate, accurate and timely information for passengers were announced today by the Office of Rail Regulation (ORR).

The ORR said it would take action against any company that failed to meet its information commitments.

Association of Train Operating Companies chief executive Michael Roberts admitted companies needed to do more.

But he added that millions were being spent to improve things.

He went on: "We are therefore disappointed that despite acknowledging positive improvements to the quality of passenger information during disruption, the ORR is proposing new licence obligations for the rail industry.

"The rail delivery group, recommended by the (Sir Roy) McNulty report (on rail costs), has been set up to strengthen industry leadership in tackling these sorts of issues.

"We hope the Government's upcoming (rail) command paper will support an industry-led approach, especially at a time when ministers are seeking to reduce the burden of red tape on businesses."

Transport Secretary Justine Greening said: "The failure to provide information to passengers during last year's winter's disruption made a bad situation worse for so many passengers.

"I want to see the industry working together and taking all reasonable steps to prevent this from happening again.

"As part of that, I want to see train companies working with ORR on how the new licence obligation can best be delivered on the ground, rather than dispute its need.

"The travelling public has a right to see rail services provided by competent operators who are committed to great passenger service.

"Operators who also believe in great passenger service have nothing to fear from the new licence condition."

ORR chief executive Richard Price said: "Rail passengers in Britain today rightly expect to receive reliable information so that they can plan their journeys and make sensible decisions when services are disrupted.

"This is a fundamental requirement, not an optional 'add on', and we need to do all we can to make sure the railways deliver."

He went on: "I welcome the rail industry's leadership in developing its code of practice for improving passenger information.

"The code sets out standards for the provision of consistent information at regular intervals, as well as investing in staff training and communications technology.

"But challenges still remain - only one third of passengers think delays are handled well."

Mr Price continued: "Providing appropriate, accurate and timely information for passengers requires every train company, every station operator, and NR to work consistently and co-operatively together. If one side fails, it can have a significant impact on passengers.

"The new passenger information obligations we propose will allow the regulator to take action against any organisation consistently failing to meet commitments under the industry's own code. Good performers have nothing to fear.

"This greater accountability will ensure that poor performers are not allowed to undermine the industry as a whole."

Mr Price went on: "It is time for passengers to have certainty that, at all times and across the whole network, all parts of the industry are working together to deliver the best information that can reasonably be provided.

"We look forward to working with the rail industry in their push for further improvements on passenger information."

Mr Roberts said: "Significant progress has been made in recent years and the industry is investing millions of pounds to provide better, more consistent information to passengers when there is disruption.

"We know we need to do more. That's why we're working with the rest of the industry to improve, now and over the next few years, how we communicate with passengers, including the introduction of the most up-to-date technology and special training courses for staff."

Anthony Smith, chief executive of rail customer watchdog, Passenger Focus, said: "Passengers need accurate, consistent and timely information to help them plan their journeys - particularly when services are disrupted.

"Our research has made the ORR and wider rail industry aware of the problem and making passenger information part of a train company's licence should ensure greater focus on gettinginformation right.

"We will continue to work with all parts of the industry to encourage good practice, that should drive up passenger satisfaction with information, particularly during service disruption."

PA

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Sport
Tim Sherwood raises his hand after the 1-0 victory over Stoke
footballFormer Tottenham boss leads list of candidates to replace Neil Warnock
Arts and Entertainment
L to R: Hawkeye (Jeremy Renner), Captain America (Chris Evans) & Black Widow (Scarlett Johansson) in Avengers Assemble
film
News
Nigel Farage celebrates with a pint after early local election results in the Hoy and Helmet pub in South Benfleet in Essex
peopleHe has shaped British politics 'for good or ill'
News
news
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooks
ebooksA year of political gossip, levity and intrigue from the sharpest pen in Westminster
Sport
Adnan Januzaj and Gareth Bale
footballManchester United set to loan out Januzaj to make room for Bale - if a move for the Welshman firms up
News
i100
Travel
Suite dreams: the JW Marriott in Venice
travelChic new hotels in 2015
Arts and Entertainment
Sink the Pink's 2013 New Year's Eve party
musicFour of Britain's top DJs give their verdict on how to party into 2015
Sport
Yaya Sanogo, Mats Hummels, Troy Deeney and Adnan Januzaj
footballMost Premier League sides are after a striker, but here's a full run down of the ins and outs that could happen over the next month
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Selby Jennings: VP/SVP Credit Quant- NY- Investment Bank

Not specified: Selby Jennings: VP/SVP Credit Quant Top tier investment bank i...

Ashdown Group: Senior Marketing Executive- City of London, Old Street

£40000 - £43000 per annum + benefits: Ashdown Group: Senior Marketing Executiv...

Ashdown Group: Marketing Manager

£40000 - £43000 per annum + benefits: Ashdown Group: An international organisa...

Ashdown Group: Internal Recruiter -Rugby, Warwickshire

£25000 - £30000 per annum: Ashdown Group: Internal Recruiter -Rugby, Warwicksh...

Day In a Page

Transfer guide: From Arsenal to West Ham - what does your club need in the January transfer window?

Who does your club need in the transfer window?

Most Premier League sides are after a striker, but here's a full run down of the ins and outs that could happen over the next month
The Last Word: From aliens at FA to yak’s milk in the Tour, here’s to 2015

Michael Calvin's Last Word

From aliens at FA to yak’s milk in the Tour, here’s to 2015
Aren’t you glad you didn’t say that? The worst wince-and-look-away quotes of the year

Aren’t you glad you didn’t say that?

The worst wince-and-look-away quotes of the year
Hollande's vanity project is on a high-speed track to the middle of nowhere

Vanity project on a high-speed track to nowhere

France’s TGV network has become mired in controversy
Sports Quiz of the Year

Sports Quiz of the Year

So, how closely were you paying attention during 2014?
Alexander Armstrong on insulting Mary Berry, his love of 'Bargain Hunt', and life as a llama farmer

Alexander Armstrong on insulting Mary Berry and his love of 'Bargain Hunt'

From Armstrong and Miller to Pointless
Sanchez helps Gunners hold on after Giroud's moment of madness

Sanchez helps Gunners hold on

Olivier Giroud's moment of madness nearly costs them
A Christmas without hope: Fears grow in Gaza that the conflict with Israel will soon reignite

Christmas without hope

Gaza fears grow that conflict with Israel will soon reignite
After 150 years, you can finally visit the grisliest museum in the country

The 'Black Museum'

After 150 years, you can finally visit Britain's grisliest museum
No ho-ho-hos with Nick Frost's badass Santa

No ho-ho-hos with Nick Frost's badass Santa

Doctor Who Christmas Special TV review
Chilly Christmas: Swimmers take festive dip for charity

Chilly Christmas

Swimmers dive into freezing British waters for charity
Veterans' hostel 'overwhelmed by kindness' for festive dinner

Homeless Veterans appeal

In 2010, Sgt Gary Jamieson stepped on an IED in Afghanistan and lost his legs and an arm. He reveals what, and who, helped him to make a remarkable recovery
Isis in Iraq: Yazidi girls killing themselves to escape rape and imprisonment by militants

'Jilan killed herself in the bathroom. She cut her wrists and hanged herself'

Yazidi girls killing themselves to escape rape and imprisonment
Ed Balls interview: 'If I think about the deficit when I'm playing the piano, it all goes wrong'

Ed Balls interview

'If I think about the deficit when I'm playing the piano, it all goes wrong'
He's behind you, dude!

US stars in UK panto

From David Hasselhoff to Jerry Hall