Northern and TransPennine franchises – passenger research

Independent passenger watchdog Passenger Focus undertook a study with passengers on Northern and TransPennine Express services to examine their views of the current operations and to identify the issues that the new franchise should address. They have now published research into what passengers want from the Northern and TransPennine rail services – whether they remain separate or are combined into a single franchise.

The research includes data from the National Passenger Survey and qualitative research with passengers on the Northern and TransPennine Express (TPE) services to examine their views of the current operations and to identify the issues that the new franchise should address.

They found that passengers value the mix of local and longer-distance services provided by the two operators. Services are regarded generally as punctual, reliable, and suitable for passenger needs. However, there are several issues regarded as particularly important for improvement:

  • better quality (age, functionality and cleanliness) of trains on the Northern franchise
  • more carriages to reduce overcrowding, especially at peak times, and with improved luggage space
  • enhanced airport services.

There were also other concerns, including access, security and staffing at smaller stations, availability of information, the adequacy of timetables for modern lifestyles, and confusion about fare structures and rules, with notable unease about levels of fare evasion.

“When new franchises are let, Passenger Focus believes it is vital that the views of passengers who use the railway are placed at the heart of the contract.”

 A dangerous and radical idea. SMART hopes it will catch on.

The report contains some interesting findings, much of which accord with our own experiences based on the Huddersfield to Manchester Victoria service. 

For example, they highlight the poor state of cleanliness of Northern’s trains, and the reluctance or inability of Northern Rail to sell tickets. 

There’s also a summary of how passengers perceive the qualities and failings of both Northern Rail and TransPennine Express. 

Headline findings

The research shows that passengers value the mix of local and longer distance services provided by the two operators. Services are regarded generally as punctual, reliable, and suitable for passenger needs. However, there are a number of issues regarded as particularly important for improvement:

• better quality (age, functionality and cleanliness) of trains on the Northern franchise

• more carriages to reduce overcrowding, especially at peak times, and with improved luggage space

• enhanced airport services.

There were also other concerns, including access, security and staffing at smaller stations, availability of information, the adequacy of timetables for modern lifestyles, and confusion about fare structures and rules, with notable unease about levels of fare evasion.

The full report can be viewed at

http://www.passengerfocus.org.uk/research/publications/passenger-views-of-northern-and-transpennine-rail-franchises#

This entry was posted in franchising, Northern Rail, Passenger Focus, Rail Strategy, services, TfGM, Transpennine and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *