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Railhub Archive
1997-06-24 ORR-001
Office of the Rail Regulator


Regulator demands improvements to National Rail Enquiry Service

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Office of the Rail Regulator

Regulator demands improvements to National Rail Enquiry Service

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

note ORR/97/14

Train operators will have to improve dramatically the performance of the National Rail Enquiry Service if they are to avoid enforcement action, warned John Swift QC, the Rail Regulator, today.

Speaking as his Office issued an order seeking weekly information on performance Mr Swift said, "Unless operators can produce evidence to convince me that the awful performance figures for April and May, which were only recently reported to me, were a temporary aberration, I intend to move to issue a final order in July. The purpose of the order will be to ensure that operators take the necessary steps to meet required standards. Ultimately this may result in financial penalties if standards do not improve."

Mr Swift stressed, "My intention is to secure improvements for the travelling public. What I am doing today is setting in motion the necessary statutory processes which will enable me to act decisively if those improvements are not delivered. Operators should be in no doubt as to the consequences. On the other hand, if those improvements can be achieved without the need to penalise operators then I will have achieved my objective."

The performance targets for the National Rail Enquiry Service (NRES) are for 90% of all calls to be answered. Since full implementation of the national service in October last year performance had been steadily climbing towards this target. However, figures only recently provided to the Regulator show a severe fall in performance since April. While the Regulator acknowledges that this may in part have been a result of initial difficulties with the move to zonal contracts in April, he is acting now to fulfill the statutory requirements which will enable him to take action against operators if the service does not improve.

Notes to Editors

1. Today's order seeks information under section 58 of the Railways Act to enable the Regulator to decide whether to proceed with a final order under section 55 of the Railways Act.

2. NRES is a scheme administered by the Association of Train Operating Companies (ATOC) to which all 25 passenger train operators are party. A final order would enable the Regulator to take action against all 25 operators if NRES performance targets were not met in the future. The Regulator has no powers to fine operators retrospectively for poor performance prior to his issuing such an order.

Railhub Archive ::: 1997-06-24 ORR-001


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