A £50bn investment plan to change Britain’s railways has been unveiled with proposals to improve customer representation. So how would you want your voice heard?
Every day, millions up and down the country travel on Britain’s trains. While some may be happy with their service, we know there are thousands, at the very least almost 100,000 who have added their name to our rail campaign, that all-together really aren’t that happy.
Well today, train companies, suppliers and Network Rail have joined together and laid out their plans to invest and improve our railways. And one way that better rail experience will be delivered is through improved customer representation. So how would you want to be represented?
The industry’s trade association, the Rail Delivery Group, announced the ‘In Partnership for Britain’s Prosperity’ plan today. This plan includes a proposal for a ‘stronger voice for customers in England and Wales with customer representation on joint supervisory boards, or an equivalent – a partnership between the rail industry and customer groups’.
The full details of what this really means aren’t yet clear. While we’re keen to hear more, we want it to be clear that if this is going to have any meaningful impact then passengers need to be put first in these plans.
As a commuter, I vary in the opinion of my train operator. I regularly get a seat on the way into London, it’s often on time and overall it’s a pretty quick service with regular trains.
However, I rarely get a seat on the way home as platforms are announced a few minutes before departure, so I’m often the one crammed into the doorway with my head awkwardly positioned dangerously close to someone else’s armpit; quite a few of the trains are pretty grotty and one train has an odd cheesy smell; when the service goes down it’s total pandemonium and as though they’ve never dealt with such a situation before; and I pay a small fortune for my ticket, which also seems to go up in price at every opportunity.
Overall, I’m not terribly happy with my train company but it seems I should be because it’s not the worst… Currently, my frustrations with the service are directed at its Twitter handle. I also make sure that I claim for a delay and cancellation even though it often works out as just a few quid.
I complain and claim simply because I want my train company to know I’m not that happy with the service and I do think they could do better. But in truth, I don’t think the message gets through as nothing changes.
The industry’s proposal to give customers a stronger voice is to have some sort of customer representation on boards.
And while we’re keen to see what this proposal actually means and what it looks like, we certainly think that consumers represented on boards are a good idea in general.
But how do you think this could make a difference for you? How would you want your views heard? Do you think there’s more that your train company could be doing to deliver a better service?