Transport Focus calls for better passenger information to support social distancing
With new data showing that nine in 10 people would find it useful to have information on how busy services are, Transport Focus has called for transport operators to provide better information about the space available on board their services.
The UK’s independent transport watchdog, Transport Focus, has called for all transport operators in the UK to give passengers the information that they need in order to help them to social distance.
As people begin to return to travel, the watchdog investigated the information that is provided by rail and bus operators to help passengers to avoid busier services. The investigation found that many but not all operators now provide information about the space available on board their services.
Recent Transport Focus data shows that nine in 10 people would find it useful to have information on how busy services are as soon as restrictions begin to be eased. Even when COVID-19 is less of a risk, more than eight in 10 say that they would find this information useful.
Anthony Smith, Chief Executive of Transport Focus, said: “As restrictions ease and more people return to public transport in the coming weeks, it will get harder for passengers to maintain social distancing at busier times. Reliable information can help passengers to plan, avoid busier services and make social distancing easier. It’s vital that more transport operators share this information and keep it up to date so that people can make informed decisions.”
Operators should make crowding information available in website journey planners, apps and other places, like National Rail Enquiries (NRE) and Traveline. Operators should also continue to improve information by offering greater personalisation, including proactive alerts to passengers if their services are disrupted or likely to be busier than normal.
The report also provides a number of examples of industry innovation and best practice which should be replicated across the country. As a result, Transport Focus is calling for transport operators to:
- Provide information about the space available on board services where it is not already available
- Ensure that information about space available on board is as accurate and reliable as possible and is promoted to encourage further use
- Learn from best practice to ensure that the information about space available on board is easy to understand, transparent, trusted and accessible
- Provide information about space available on board in journey planners to ensure that information is easy to find.