Rail firms still failing on train information

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THERE are still too many cases of poor train information for passengers despite rail companies agreeing to higher standards, regulators said today.

Problems include wrong information on platform screens and delays in letting people know when disruption is over, said a report from the Office of Rail Regulation.

There was “no longer an excuse” for this poor type of information and passengers needed to start seeing improvements, said ORR chief executive Richard Price.

In its report, the ORR cited the findings, published in June this year, of Passenger Focus’s latest national survey.

This showed that only 37% of customers reckoned delays were dealt with well during periods of disruption.

This compared with a satisfaction level of 70% for the information received during normal journeys.

Mr Price said: “Rail passengers have long been frustrated by the quality of information available to plan their journeys, and how they are kept informed when things go wrong. We have reviewed industry performance and initial findings show that while each train operator approaches the issues differently, there is a widespread commitment to improving the quality of information for passengers. New plans, staff training and technology have been introduced to help deliver better, speedier and more consistent information for passengers.”

There was an all-too-familiar series of rush-hour delays for train travellers this morning.

Illness to a passenger led to delays to all Southeastern train company services through London Bridge station, while a signalling problem in Yorkshire caused hold-ups between Selby and Hull.

A train fault led to six Southern train company services to be cancelled.

Delays have been a constant morning rush-hour feature on the railways since the beginning of November.

The recent floods and the icy weather have added to problems for passengers who face season ticket average fare rises of 4.2% on January 2.

Later, there were holds-up at Bexleyheath in south-west London due to a lineside fire, with some trains having to be diverted.

On the Underground, a section of the Jubilee line in north-west London had to be closed due to a faulty train, while the incident also led to severe delays on the Metropolitan line.

Rail Minister Norman Baker said: “Recent inclement weather has taken its toll.

“I have been impressed by the work done by both Network Rail and TOCs (train operating companies) to keep things running, including improved levels of passenger information.”