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Railhub Archive
1996-08-01 ORR-001
Office of the Rail Regulator


Rail Regulator launches enquiry into accurate and impartial retailing

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Office of the Rail Regulator

Rail Regulator launches enquiry into accurate and impartial retailing

related documents

Accurate and impartial retailing: Meeting the needs of passengers: A consultation document (ORR, 1996)

1996-01-24 Regulator's Statement on “Save Our Railways” Allegations (Office of the Rail Regulator)

1996-01-17 Rail Regulator's intervention in the wrong kind of fares in Kent (Office of the Rail Regulator)


1 August 1996
source Office of the Rail Regulator
type Press release

note ORR/96/17

The Rail Regulator, John Swift, QC, today launched a wide-ranging enquiry into accurate and impartial retailing by publishing a consultation document inviting views on how passengers' needs in this area can best be met.

Introducing the document, Mr Swift said, "Ticket retailing has deservedly received a considerable amount of attention. For the first time, standards have been set covering retailing facilities at stations, and attention has now turned to the quality of service offered. Rules are in place which require information to be given impartially, i.e. without discrimination in favour of one operator over another. This is vital, not only because all operators depend on other operators to some extent to sell their tickets, but because passengers need to have confidence that they are getting accurate information which meets their particular travel needs.

"The fundamental requirement therefore is for information to be accurate and responsive to what passengers want or need to know," he continued. However, I do not underestimate the difficulties of achieving the provision of fully accurate information. Limitations on ticket issuing and other systems, the many different ticket and route options, and the pressure to serve passengers quickly to avoid long queues, pose particular challenges to operators. These challenges are not new, but accurate information is even more vital now if the restructured railway is to develop and achieve commercial success.

"That is why I do not intend to just sit back and wait for improvements to come about. Equally, I think I would be failing in my duty to both passengers and the industry if my only response to these issues was to apply the heavy hand of formal licence enforcement. I believe that I have a wider responsibility to work with the industry to establish why there is an apparent mismatch between passenger needs and operator performance, to propose and encourage practical solutions and to implement monitoring programmes. This consultation document is intended to help me fulfill that wider responsibility. I hope it will provoke a lively debate about the needs of passengers and the ways in which retailing performance can be improved, to contribute to a better railway for the future."

The consultation document sets out the Regulator's preliminary views on the issues involved and seeks views from interested parties, particularly passengers. The objectives of the consultation exercise are:

to establish more clearly the needs of passengers in relation to accuracy of information and impartial ticket retailing;
to seek views on the effectiveness of the current rules and the need for additional guidance on how the impartial retailing obligation translates into front line service delivery;
to stimulate debate on the practical means of delivering accurate information; the financial implications of proposed solutions and the way forward, including the need for research to define what passengers want and how that can be delivered cost-effectively; and
to seek views on the Regulator's proposals for a programme of network-wide surveys to measure performance.
Responses to the consultation document are requested by 27 September 1996.

"Accurate and Impartial Retailing: Meeting the Needs of Passengers. A Consultation Document" is available, free of charge, from Sue MacSwan, ORR Library.
An audio tape version is also available.

Railhub Archive ::: 1996-08-01 ORR-001


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