Information – what
11 September 2013
Passengers’ core needs are pretty simple .....
• Is there a train or bus?
• What time?
• From where?
• How much will it cost?
• Fares information ... comprehensive on rail
• Very sparse on bus
On the day – bus passengers’ experience
With buses there are no
mechanisms to find out
what’s going on – whether
it’s cancelled or really
delayed. You do find
yourself just stood there
(Leeds – commuter)
You just get your
information from whoever’s
stood there at the bus stop
(Manchester – commuter)
You don’t know what to do you see, if you’re
standing there and it hasn’t come… you’re
thinking ‘Oh my goodness, have I missed it, have
I missed it?’… you don’t know what to do ‘cause
you’ve got to wait for another 112 to come
along… you just have to wait and hopefully
somebody says, ‘Oh yes, it’s running late’
(Birmingham – commuter)
National Rail has
which is really
useful – why can’t
the buses do the
(Leeds – commuter)
• Strong sense that bus passengers feel powerless when
faced with delays.
• Many feel there is no way of finding out what is going
• Adds to stress and anxiety
• At any railway station or bus
stop, passengers need to know ....
> is the train coming
> when is it coming
• Visual and audible information should be at all
stations and all well-used bus stops
• Trains and buses should be tracked comprehensively
to ensure complete and accurate information
• Why should passengers have to gaze into the
At the station or stop
It's mental torture
sometimes at bus stops
working out whether to
stay or whether to go
• It’s not yet comprehensive, but live departures
information is a reality for many – through apps and
websites as well as ‘on the ground’
• Station information is gradually improving, and real
time bus systems are being introduced to more towns
• Train companies, bus companies and transport
authorities have embraced twitter as a means of
getting information to passengers
But it is improving!
Rail passenger satisfaction since 1999 ….
National Passenger Survey (rail) 1999-2013
% satisfied or % dealt with delay well
• Information is critical to passengers’ experience
Part practical – “shall I stay, shall I go”
Part emotional – “you treat us like mushrooms –
you just don’t care”
• Staff behaviours key, not just technology
Information during delays
[Being communicated with during disruption] makes the passenger
feel that actually, yes, you are important… It’s customer service, its
politeness, it puts everybody in a better mood
(Birmingham – Commuter)
Needs to be .....
Being useful means letting people make an
I think you just need to
know what’s happening up
front so you can make your
decision as to what you’re
going to do
(Birmingham - commuter)
Information during delays
Information screens that say “on time” after the train
should have departed ...
• Fail the accuracy test
• Fail the usefulness test
• Lead to accusations of .....
“you don’t know what you’re doing”
• Undermine trust and cause doubt about the accuracy
of all information
And the same with bus ...
It has happened lots of times that the
count down is saying 10 mins down to 5
mins and then 1 and then it starts from
10 mins again, and you then wonder
what is going on
(Leeds - commuter)
What still needs to improve – rail
• All routes should have comprehensive GPS tracking
(“we know where it was” just isn’t good enough)
• All stations should have audio and visual real time
departures information – it should be a hygiene factor
• Station displays need to stop saying trains are “on
time” when they are already late!
• The two minute rule – if you stop in the middle of
nowhere, say something fast
• Getting disruption information to passengers on ‘driver
only’ trains – a big weakness in current arrangements
• Real time tracking of rail replacement buses (planned
or short notice) – is it actually on the way?
What still needs to improve – bus
• A real time system (the ‘back of house’ kit) throughout
the country – it shouldn’t be a postcode lottery whether
you have one
• 100% automatic vehicle location
• Better prediction engines
• More bus stops capable of providing real time
departures and context – audible and visual
• Market real time smartphone apps – few passengers
seem to know about them
• Information flow to passengers on a bus that gets
delayed – tackle staff attitudes, explore technology
• Help people understand what’s real time prediction
and what’s scheduled time
Keep focusing on:
• Is it timely?
• Is it accurate?
• Is it consistent?
• Is it useful?
All available at www.passengerfocus.org.uk
• Delays and disruption: rail passengers have their say,
• Rail passengers' experiences during the snow, March 2011
• Information: rail passengers’ needs during unplanned
disruption, September 2011
(joint research with Southern)
• Passenger Focus assessment of online information provided
to rail passengers during high winds January 2012
• Short and Tweet: how passengers want social media during
disruption, June 2012
(joint research with Abellio)
• Bus passengers’ experience of delays and disruption, April