Rail industry responds to regulator's call for improvements to passenger information

30 January 2020

The Office of Rail and Road (ORR) has today published the rail industry’s next steps to deliver substantive improvements to the provision of information to passengers, including during disruption.

Whilst there have been improvements in recent years to passenger information systems, evidence from research commissioned by ORR showed that providing information, particularly during disruption, remains a challenge. The research indicated that there was no clear industry strategy for delivering improvements to providing passenger information, no agreed understanding of what good information looks like and a lack of customisation for the needs of different customer groups.

As a result ORR called on Network Rail and train and station operators to come together and to work under the governance of the Rail Delivery Group (RDG) to establish a Passenger Information Improvement Plan that sets out how the rail industry will make tangible and enduring network wide improvements to the provision of passenger information.

In its response, RDG commits to a strategy that will enable passengers and staff alike to have access to timely, accurate and complete information. This includes commitments to developing an industry plan to present to ORR on 20 April 2020, and to the further development of a Passenger Information Measure devised as part of the ORR research as a means to independently monitor and report on progress to make improvements.

Stephanie Tobyn, Deputy Director for Consumers at ORR said: "Although progress has been made by industry in recent years, events such as the disruption caused by the hot weather last July and the electricity power outage in August demonstrated that weaknesses remain in how the industry communicates with passengers. Poor quality information, particularly during disruption, makes an already frustrating situation worse for passengers, and significantly more challenging for frontline staff.

"In this digital age, the benchmark being set by other industries is high and by coming together we believe that Network Rail and train operators can achieve the necessary improvements."

Notes to editors

  1. Passenger improvement documents
  2. Failure to progress against the plan could lead to further action in accordance with the requirements of Condition 4 (Information for Passengers) in the Passenger Train Licence and Station Licences.