The Office of Rail and Road has completed a consumer report for last year which shows constructive delivery throughout the industry of improvements for passengers.
The report shows that refund rights and accessibility have been shown to improve in the face of the challenges of the pandemic.
The regulator has also laid out its focus for next year in keeping these improvements ongoing via monitoring and enforcing compliance to their accessibility requirements.
The passenger research undertaken by ORR shows improvements in accessible travel have been demonstrated with a well-received increase in support and assistance and this shows in passengers satisfaction.
Significant progress has been made by the rail regulator in making sure that the delivery of commitments laid out in its Accessible Travel Policy guidance is upheld.
Noted in the report are that all train and station operators are well on track for getting 30,000 passenger-facing staff trained in disability awareness and equality by the end of the year.
Other positives are that all websites are laid out in a clear and straight forward style with vital information for the passenger assistance service to support an assisted journey being easy to find, with the regulator now reducing the notice time required for booking assistance to just six hours before travel.
For the upcoming year, The Office of Rail and Road will continue its focus on monitoring compliance with the Accessible Travel Policies conditions specifically observing station accessibility information provided by train operators’ websites and also the National Rail Enquiries website.
Continued research will also be undertaken to monitor if improvements are being delivered throughout the industry.
The rail regulator will also be seeking to make improvements for passengers in creating a straightforward approach to claiming delay compensation and an improved complaints process.
Key interventions during 2020 and 2021 with train operators to obtain improvements such as the reliability of booking assistance, bringing new mobile assistance teams into action and increasing the quality of the information provided to passengers before major station closures.
The Office of Rail and Road took measures to ensure that Eurostar improved information given to passengers on their rights to cash refunds due to cancelled services and also engaged in supporting the government’s bid to protect public health, and also a new role as the regulator to monitor and enforce compliance for international travel regulations regarding both Eurotunnel and Eurostar.
Stephanie Tobyn, deputy director for consumers at ORR said: “Train and station operators must be commended for how they have adapted over the past 12 months. In a challenging year, ORR has helped the industry continue to make progress particularly around accessibility. We’re now focusing on making sure that they remain fixed on meeting passengers’ needs as they return.
“This coming year needs the whole rail industry to work together to rebuild confidence in rail travel and we’ll be playing our part by continuing our work to improve the passenger experience and taking action where necessary.”
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