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Railhub Archive
2001-06-11 ATO-001


Rail ticketing survey - accuracy remains high

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Association of Train Operating Companies

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Rail ticketing survey - accuracy remains high

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11 June 2001
source ATOC
type Press release

A survey of ticket retailing at Britain's railway stations has achieved a 95.6% accuracy rate - the second highest result ever achieved. During the year 2000, researchers carried out more than 10,500 transactions at 698 railway stations around the country and scored all the train operators on sales transactions at their ticket offices. Scores for the operators ranged from 100% to 91.9%. (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 results are the second highest since this survey started in 1997. All credit to the train companies and their staff who are continuing to set high standards of customer service.

"Although the level of accuracy remains very high it can still be improved. Train companies that have not done particularly well will be launching their own investigation into why and reporting back to ATOC on their findings and methods to improve customer retailing.

"What is of particular concern is the level of accuracy achieved for wheelchair passengers (45.1%). ATOC will be working with all train operators with an aim to improve staff knowledge of the ticket types available to wheelchair users and investigating whether the fares structure can be simplified."

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

The Rail Journey Information System (RJIS) is now operational at stations across the country and phase two of the programme providing enhanced functions is expected to be operational by early 2002. RJIS is a new fares and timetable information system, making it easier for staff to access the information that meets passenger journey needs.
Banding Britain's many different ticket types under common family groups to make it easier for passengers and staff to understand.
Easy to understand leaflets have been produced, aimed at providing passengers with clearer information on National Rail operators and their retail products
Improved staff training and development
The ticket selling survey was carried out over four quarters 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 - 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 020 7904 3010


1. The results for each train company have been weighted to reflect their average sales profile.

2. 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. The Strategic Rail Authority now oversees the results.

3.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 four surveys. 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.

4. The lowest figures for the survey showed that only 45.1% of transactions which involved planning a journey for a passenger with disabilities were dealt with correctly. 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).

5. 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.

6. The research was carried out by Research International and Transport Strategies Ltd for ATOC

Railhub Archive ::: 2001-06-11 ATO-001


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