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Railhub Archive
1996-01-02 DoT-001
Department of Transport


Secretary of State for Transport, Sir George Young's, statement in response to Which? report

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Department of Transport

Secretary of State for Transport, Sir George Young's, statement in response to Which? report

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2 January 1996
source Department of Transport
type Press release

The results of the WHICH? survey are concerning, even though the
survey was conducted over 5 months ago among a small sample. We
recognise the problem; it goes back long before the start of
privatisation. Before restructuring one station would not
necessarily give out information about another.

But of course travellers have the right to expect accurate
information so that they can weigh all the options for completing
their journey. To the extent that franchising offers competition on
some routes, the WHICH? survey is an argument for better information
not less competition,

"I believe that privatisation of the railways, and the franchising
process specifically. will go a long way to addressing the
shortcomings of the currently available information systems. This is
the chance we have wanted to introduce private sector energy and
know-how into the supply of information. A halt to franchising would
actually slow progress towards improving the systems inherited from

"Franchise operators are required by the Franchising Director and the
Rail Regulator to provide impartial and comprehensive train
information. Continuation of the existing telephone information
services is part of the franchise operator's licence and these will
be required to be maintained and improved,

"It will be in all the Train Operating Companies' interests to
provide the best possible information to customers in order to
encourage greater use of the network. Poor information, wherever it
comes from, only discourages use of trains. The real competition for
the TOCs comes not from each other but from the car,

"With regard to criticisms of the Passenger Service Requirements,
WHICH? admits that it only had access to information on service
levels which predated the award of the first franchises. These
awards confirmed that all the new franchisees were committed to
maintaining or improving existing levels of service and that these
were well above the PSRs set by the Franchising Director.

"[[I]] Hope the Consumers Association will welcome this month's freeze on
fares and the new levels of security offered by the PSRs."

Railhub Archive ::: 1996-01-02 DoT-001


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