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Railhub Archive
1997-06-11 ORR-001
Office of the Rail Regulator


Rail Regulator says to passenger train and station operators: deliver improvements or face tougher enforcement

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Office of the Rail Regulator

Rail Regulator says to passenger train and station operators: deliver improvements or face tougher enforcement

related documents

Regulatory objectives for passenger train and station operators (ORR, 1997)


11 June 1997
source Office of the Rail Regulator
type Press release

note ORR/97/12

The Rail Regulator, John Swift QC, today issued his objectives for passenger train and station operators, giving them a clear choice: to make a concerted commitment to deliver improvements or face tougher enforcement.

Mr Swift said, "In January I published my regulatory objectives for Railtrack. Now that all passenger operations are in private hands it is time to review how passenger operators are working within the contractual framework, and what areas need to be improved if passengers are to enjoy the benefits of a better railway, which they have the right to expect. That is why I have today set out clear, fair, achievable objectives for them.

"Operators also need to know what I am likely to do if the action to meet my expectations is not forthcoming. That is why I am giving them a clear warning today that I will not hesitate to use my enforcement powers - including modifying licences if that proves necessary - if improvements are not made to acceptable timescales."

Mr Swift set out the principles to which passenger operators should work:

In return for the security of funding they enjoy, operators have a duty to make a positive contribution to improve services to passengers. That means more than just doing the minimum necessary to comply with their franchises and licences.
Operators should work together to ensure that passengers can use the railway as a seamless national network.
The Regulator looks to operators to identify opportunities for competition and cooperation which promote the network for the greatest benefit to passengers.
Operators should be aware of the part the railways play in meeting the country's transport needs, and ways of enhancing that role.
Operators should set targets for significant improvements to accessibility for disabled passengers in the shortest practicable timescale.
Operators should be proactive and treat their contracts with Railtrack and other operators as opportunities to improve qualities of service, not to block proposals from others for desirable development.
Operators should be as open and transparent as possible, and should develop genuinely consultative relationships with the Rail Users' Consultative Committees so that passenger views and needs can be fully taken into account.
He went on to set some specific objectives and priorities in particular areas, including:

Operators must work together with Railtrack to make timetables more stable and robust, to cooperate on investment projects, and to deal with systems issues - both the problems caused by the millennium date change and the provision of real-time information to passengers.

Operators must produce clear project plans to deliver the obligations on accurate and impartial retailing outlined in the policy statement which the Regulator published in January.

Operators must make early progress on improving the range and quality of information available to passengers.

Mr Swift concluded, "I want to see a railway which develops and thrives, which competes for excellence and attracts more passengers onto the network. This cannot be achieved by operators taking a narrow and parochial view of their businesses. They must take a wider view of the passenger and public interest and the interests of the railway as a whole. What is needed is a balance between cooperation and competition which promotes innovation and improvements in the interests of passengers, operators and taxpayers. My aim is to regulate an industry which grows and which delivers improved performance and value for money. Operators have the primary responsibility for delivering that - the objectives I am publishing today set out a firm and fair regulatory framework to aid that delivery."

The Regulator has today written to Managing Directors of all the passenger train and station operating companies, saying, "I am expecting a clear commitment from you, individually and collectively, to deliver improvements which promote the use of rail and the public interest generally. I expect you to respond positively to that challenge." A copy of his letter is attached.

"Regulatory Objectives for Passenger Train and Station Operators" is available, free of charge, from Sue MacSwan, ORR Library, 1 Waterhouse Square, 138-142 Holborn, London EC1N 2ST. (Tel: 0171 282 2001; Fax: 0171 282 2045; E-mail: An audio tape version is also available.

"Accurate and Impartial Retailing: Meeting the Needs of Passengers: A Policy Statement", and "Regulatory Objectives for Railtrack", were published in January 1997 and are also available from Sue MacSwan.

Railhub Archive ::: 1997-06-11 ORR-001


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