Industry plan for improving customer information

At the start of 2015 an industry wide push to improve customer information further was started.

Over a period of three years every train operator will implement a set of recommendations. If you would like to read more about what Greater Anglia has done so far, please read the below.

In the different industry groups train operators discuss the changes together with the necessary steps to realise the recommendations. For some actions they are also responsible for the implementation, for others it is up to the Train Operating Companies (TOCs).

Recommendations Status per October 2015 Industry deadline Industry Group Delivery Date
1 So that customers get the right level of information when there is disruption, the industry needs to specify good practice in the area of prominent warnings on websites (which cover local and multi-route disruptions) for incorporation into the “Good Practice Guide for providing Information to Customers” and TOCs then need to deliver the changes to desktop and mobile websites and Smartphone apps. On Target Mar-17 Information Development Group Websites Nov-14 App Mar-17
2 To make sure that the most accurate timetable is reflected in real time customer information systems (that are powered by Darwin, of which there are over 450), TOCs need to make sure they have the right level of resource available, to provide a high proportion of known amendments, and strive to ensure that all known amendments, for changes made on the day, are communicated in a timely fashion into Darwin e.g., before the train is due to depart its origin station, or within 5 minutes of being cancelled once it has started its journey. Closed May-15 Operations Council Mar-15
3 To minimise the chances of customers being offered incorrect journeys, and purchasing tickets for trains that will not run when there is disruption, the industry is committed to increase the number of suppliers who integrate the Darwin Timetable feed into their real time journey planners - and ticket issuing systems that offer journey planning functionality – in real time, with TOC channels being a high priority. This is to make sure that customers receive up-to-date information and are not offered cancelled trains in journey results – and therefore cannot book onto trains that will not run. On Target Mar-17 Information Development Group Mar-17
4 For longer term disruptions (like Dawlish when the line collapsed during the storms in early 2014), the industry should develop and adopt a process for getting passenger information into downstream systems at the earliest, practical opportunity and for the duration of the disruption. Closed Aug-15 National Task Force - Operators Group Aug-15
5 The Day A for B process needs to be formally communicated by Network Rail Operations to all Train Planning, Operations and Information departments so that all parties are aware of the timescales they need to work to in order for the process to be fully implemented. Closed May-15 National Task Force - Operators Group Oct-14
6 The industry needs to develop a Day A for B checking process, within the TOC controls and NRCC, to make sure that, when the Day A for B process has been implemented, spots checks are made to give confidence that changes have been uploaded correctly to the timetable system and passed into all downstream information systems. Closed May-15 Information Development Group Feb-15
7 To make sure that customers are aware of any disruptions that may affect the journey they are planning to take, all TOCs should integrate the National Rail Enquiries Disruption feed into the various parts of their website where customers can access journey information – this will include the ticket sales parts of their websites (and other relevant digital channels) as specified in the “Good Practice Guide for providing Information to Customers”. On Target Mar-17 Customer Information Strategy - Development Group Mar-17
8 Each TOC will implement a process whereby someone is sense-checking their own website - and other major websites which contain information about their trains - at a frequency appropriate to the level of disruption to make sure that what the customer sees makes sense and that the information being provided is consistent. Closed May-15 Information Development Group May-15
9 To make sure information received about disruption is shared with all required parties, all TOCs should implement a process to make sure that the NRCC and other TOCs addresses are contained within the address books of their messaging systems, and that they are added to the correct recipient groups when sending information about disruption. Closed Oct-14 Operations Council Oct-14
10 To make sure that staff and customers receive the information they require during disruption, the industry should develop a more streamlined and versatile method of providing the right information to the right people at the right time, based on staff and customer requirements.. Customer Information Strategy - Development Group - Industry steering group action, deadline March 2016
11 In order to make sure that communications to customers about disruptions are more meaningful, the list of revised reasons should be implemented within TOC messaging systems. Closed May-15 Information Development Group Oct-14
12 In order to make sure that communications to customers about disruptions are more meaningful, the list of revised reasons should be implemented within Darwin for dissemination to customer information systems Delayed for 6 Months May-15 Information Development Group Now expected Dec-15
13 So that customers are better able to understand what is happening on the ground, and therefore make decisions about their travel plans, the evolving/changing story of the incident should be made available to customers where practically possible. Closed Dec-15 Information Development
14 To increase customers’ trust in the information they are being told when there is disruption; manual announcements should be made during disruption (at stations and on trains) alongside the current automated ones where the facility exists. For DOO trains, PIDD-39 (modifications to make remote announcement to passengers on the train via GSM-R) will need to be live to make this fully available. On Target Mar-17 National Task Force - Operations Group Mar-17
15 The industry needs to reconfigure the current suite of automated announcements (both on stations and on trains) to remove the apology where repeated automated announcements would be broadcast. On Target Oct-15 National Task Force - Operations Group Mar-15
16 When a journey is delayed to the extent that compensation is payable, (in line with the Compensation Toolkit) operators should make reasonable effort to ensure information is available which makes it clear that passengers can make a claim. Closed May-15 Information Development Group Nov-14
17 Claim forms for compensation should be made easily available to passengers – on trains and on stations, where practical, and on all TOC websites (easily accessible, downloadable forms). Closed May-15 Information Development Group Mar-15
18 So that customers are aware of disruptions, the industry needs to develop and implement a method of tying a customer’s journey to the ticket they have purchased (where their journey and personal data is known) – in order to provide tailored information (e.g. emails/texts on delays/cancellations and invitations to claim compensation). ATOC Commercial Board - Industry steering group action March 2019
19 So that customers have visibility of information sources, to help them avoid the problem in the first place, the industry should promote the services that are currently available for customers to check for delays before they travel – for example Real Time Journey Alerts/ Smart Phone Apps – for example, on TOC timetable literature and on websites – and as part of PIDD-12 commit to review the current suite of services to make sure that they are fit for purpose. Closed Oct-15 Customer Information Strategy - Development Group Oct-15
20 All TOCs need to review the apps & devices made available to staff to ensure that they’re fit for purpose (i.e. does the device have the right functionality and right level of mobile coverage for the location that the staff member works in?) for providing customers with accurate information and TOCs will write into their Local Plans to review on an ongoing basis. Closed May-15 Operations Council Dec-14
21 The industry will update its processes to make sure that they include the requirement for staff to make announcements when the train comes to a stop between stations within 2 minutes. This includes increased usage of “general call” announcements. Closed Mar-16 Operations Council Feb-15
22 Customers should to not be forced to pay more because of disruption. In the eventuality that they are forced to pay more, ‘no quibble’ refunds should be provided. On Target Mar-17 Commercial Board Mar-17
23 Temporary fares that are put in place as mitigation for major disruption should be made readily available to customers to purchase in all ticket issuing systems. Those systems that do not have the ability to do this should be upgraded to make this possible. On Target Mar-18 Commercial Board Mar-18
24 To establish what might be done to improve the information at unstaffed stations, where there is currently no real time information provision (circa 500 stations), work needs to be done to identify solutions powered by Darwin, so that TOCs are aware what is available to them so that they can build the costs into future plans On Target Mar-16 Customer Information Strategy - Development Group Mar-16
25 All TOCs to advise their number of stations without any real time info (CIS) Closed May-15 Information Development Group May-15
26 Ongoing quantitative research should be commissioned to measure the improvement in the quality of information during disruption for all train companies and that the results are published. ATOC Operations Council Action - Industry Group Action - May 2015
27 In order to facilitate the work required in PIDD-31/32, work needs to be done to develop a measure of Core Message quality. Closed May-15 Information Development Group Oct-14
28 TOCs should monitor the quality of their own output for CSL2 incidents, and at least once annually should carry out an in-depth review of at least one CSL2 incident. This review should be carried out by an independent party (such as another TOC) and focus on customer impact including information and other customer service. Closed May-15 Operations Council Oct-14
29 The industry should develop a standard for measuring Core Message quality, and each TOC should have its Core Messages audited against this standard by an independent party (such as another TOC) at least once annually. Closed Oct-15 Operations Council June-15
30 Where practically possible, an estimate for how long the disruption will last should be provided. Where no estimate is available, the industry should agree the form of messaging to be used until a reasonable estimate can be given to customers. Closed May-15 National Task Force - Operators Group May-15
31 Additional coaching should be provided for staff responsible for the production of Prioritised Plans (where there is a need) so that the plans are produced more quickly and are fit for purpose including in respect of duration and impact – and added into the controller training and competence management process. On Target Oct-15 National Task Force - Operators Group Oct-15
32 Network Rail needs to report the level of adherence to the production of Prioritised Plans by Control in order for compliance to be measured. Network Rail Action
33 All TOCs should review the contents of their local Plans and CSL2 threshold definitions against the content of the new ACoP to ensure they are fit for purpose. Closed June-15 Operations Council June-15
34 So that customers who use Social Media to contact a TOC about disruption are not ignored, all TOCs need to review how they service the information needs of these customers throughout the period they are running trains. Closed Oct-15 Information Development Group Oct-15
35 So that customers receive consistent information about multi-TOC disruptions across all channels, industry-wide Social Media good practice for providing information needs to be captured and shared, whilst also taking into account individual TOC business needs. On Target Dec-15 Customer Information Strategy - Development Group Dec-15
36 So that TOCs can make manual announcements to customers on trains, including DOO operated services, the work previously done to ensure the GSM-R modifications are made, which will allow TOC controllers to make remote announcements to the train, will be delivered subject to costs. On Target Mar-17 National Task Force - Operators Group Mar-17
37 All TOCs need to review their local Plans to ensure that they are reflective of the type of service they are running e.g. commuter / long distance / metro. Closed Jun-15 Operations Council Apr-15
38 To increase transparency and accountability, TOCs should publish what they are doing under their local Plan issued under the ACoP, together with the ACoP itself and an annual progress report. Closed Oct-15 Operations Council Oct-15
39 The Network Rail “Guidance Note for Control, Response and Station Staff: Information During Disruption” document should be published on the Network Rail website and an annual progress report provided. Network Rail Action - May 2015
40 The PIDD ACoP and the Network Rail “Guidance Note for Control, Response and Station Staff: Information During Disruption” should cross-reference each other. National Task Force Operator Group action - October 2015
41 TOCs and Network Rail should hold periodic cross-industry reviews of local plans in order to make sure they are up-to-date and also to share good practice. This should also include test events to make sure that the information dissemination processes are kept up-to-date and fit for purpose. On Target Dec-15 National Task Force - Operators Group
42 To help trigger the right cultural response this action plan will be circulated to all TOC and Network Rail Route MDs in order for them to provide the right level of focus on PIDD within their businesses. This will promote high level leadership for the local delivery of the action plan. Closed May-15 National Task Force May-15