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Railhub Archive
2000-03-23 ATO-001


Rail ticket selling accuracy reaches highest ever peak

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Association of Train Operating Companies

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Rail ticket selling accuracy reaches highest ever peak

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23 March 2000
source ATOC
type Press release

Ticket sales service at railway stations across the UK has recorded its best ever performance. Independent research carried out for the train companies found that 96.8% of transactions are processed correctly - this represents a 7.5% improvement on a similar survey carried out in 1997.

Researchers made more than 10,500 enquiries to 683 railway stations around the country and scored all the train companies on sales transactions at their ticket offices. Scores ranged from 100% to 94.8%. (A complete table of scores for all the train operating companies is attached).

Philip Benham, Commercial Services Director at the Association of Train Operating Companies (ATOC) said: "The survey result shows that passenger train companies are continuing to improve the standards of ticket selling. This is a particularly good result for the industry coming after the improvements seen last year and reflects great credit on retail staff across the National Rail network. We still want to do more to make buying a rail ticket as easy as possible.

"The train companies acknowledge that they still have work to do to improve the service provided for mobility impaired passengers after a separate survey revealed an accuracy rate of 67%. This was a substantial increase on the 41% of last year but still a lot of work needs to be done to achieve the standard our passengers and the industry expects."

Actions the train companies are undertaking in order to improve ticket selling include:

o Implementation of the Rail Journey Information System (RJIS) which will be operational by the summer this year. RJIS is more user friendly than current systems, making it easier for staff to access the information that meets passenger journey needs.
o Banding Britain's many different ticket types under common family groups to make it easier for passengers and staff to understand.
o Providing clearer retailing instructions and manuals to meet the needs of retail staff
p Improved staff training and development

The ticket selling survey was carried out between September and November last year and covered a range of different types of sales transactions from simple "turn up and go" journeys to more complicated advanced purchase sales where a range of ticket options were available depending on the passenger's needs. Ticket offices were marked down for not offering the cheapest fare, not charging the correct price - undercharging or overcharging by 10 pence or more - issuing an inappropriate ticket and inability to supply the requested ticket (eg refusal to sell an off-peak ticket in advance during a peak period).


For further information, please contact ATOC press office 0171 904 3010

Notes to Editors

Train Company Score (%)
Island Line 100.0
Gatwick Express 99.0
Midland Mainline 98.7
Cardiff Railway Company 98.5
South West Trains 98.5
Thameslink 98.4
Silverlink Train Services 97.8
ScotRail 97.5
First North Western 97.3
Thames Trains 97.0
Northern Spirit
Virgin West Coast 96.9
Central Trains 96.6
Merseyrail Electrics 96.6
Wales & West 96.4
Anglia Railways 96.2
WAGN Railways 95.9
First Great Eastern 95.7
Connex South Central 95.6
Chiltern Railways 95.5
LTS Rail 95.3
Connex South Eastern 95.2
GNER 94.9
First Great Western 94.8
National average 96.8

o The results for each train company have been weighted to reflect their average sales profile.
o The first national survey on retailing quality was undertaken by the Office of the Rail Regulator in 1997. Following this survey it was agreed with the Rail Regulator that the train operators would undertake future surveys of retail quality.
o In the survey nine different scenarios were tested covering a wide range of transactions including journeys where choices could be made between fares and operators. These closely related to the scenarios used in the Rail Regulator's survey in 1997. The table below gives a comparison between the three surveys. In almost all cases the results have improved. For straight forward transactions, such as tickets purchased for immediate travel, very few problems occurred. More complicated types of transactions, such as purchase of a ticket for a journey from another station, revealed further work was needed to improve consistency.
o The lowest figures for the survey showed that only 67.2% of transactions which involved planning a journey for a passenger with disabilities were dealt with correctly, compared with 41.6% in 1998. Errors were defined as not issuing the correct ticket or not offering adequate information about how to arrange the journey (relating to passengers in a wheelchair).
o More disabled passengers are travelling by rail as access to trains and stations improves, and TOCs are committed to providing them with the best possible service such as encouraging the use of specialist TOC helplines.
o The research was carried out by Research International and Transport Strategies Ltd for ATOC.


Type of tickets/journey
Survey by ORR 1997
Survey by ATOC 1998 %
Survey by ATOC 1999 %
Standard turn up and go
Turn up and go, return later
Advanced Purchase (APEX type)
First Class
Remote (travelling from another station)
Sunday Return
Disabled (wheelchair user)

N/c Not Comparable or not asked
* The mobility impaired result is unweighted and does not contribute to overall result

Railhub Archive ::: 2000-03-23 ATO-001


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