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New rail campaign launched - Passenger Railway Challenge

24 May 2018

Campaign for Better Transport is launching a new rail campaign today, the Passenger Railway Challenge.

The Passenger Railway Challenge aims to get the best parts of the railway on every part of the railway and will focus on the things passengers across the network have said are important to them, like new routes and services; more seats; better trains and stations; smarter tickets; and more flexible and affordable fares.

Steve Chambers, public transport campaigner at Campaign for Better Transport, said: "The Passenger Railway Challenge is a challenge to the Government, train operators and the rail industry to give passengers the best experience possible. We know there is best practice out there, but it isn’t being shared. We want to see operators learning from each other and Government spreading good innovation through the franchise system. The franchising process must start putting passengers and their needs at the centre, not merely be a race to find the highest bidder. 

"We’re really excited to be launching this new campaign - we want to see the best parts of the railway on every part of the railway." 

The Passenger Railway Challenge will initially call on: 

  • Government - to implement the findings of the ticketing review due to start next month, to make good on its promise to have smart ticketing at every station by the end of 2018, and to commit to a Network Development Fund to pay for the opening of additional lines and stations 
  • Train operators - to improve communication with passengers when planning service changes and during disruption; to treat the timetable as a promise, rather than an aspiration; and to engage widely with  passengers in the forthcoming ticketing review
  • Rail industry - to complete delayed investment projects, including in the north of England, the Midlands and South Wales and to develop a long term coherent programme for improving accessibility across the rail network.

These are just the initial calls of the campaign - others will focus on improving passengers’ experiences on trains and stations, and improving links to and from stations. 

Rail passengers and the public can find out more about the campaign at www.bettertransport.org.uk/railwaychallenge or through social media using the hashtag #railwaychallenge.

Notes to Editors

1) Find out more about the Passenger Railway Challenge campaign from 24 May at www.bettertransport.org.uk/railwaychallenge

2) The rail industry, together with the independent watchdog Transport Focus, is launching a public consultation ‘to establish a roadmap for change to update fares regulation and make things easier for customers’. It will run from 4 June to 10 September 2018.

3) Campaign for Better Transport has been calling for a fund to help open additional lines and stations since 2012 when it formed a key recommendation of its Reopening Railways: the case for growing the rail network and how it can be achieved report. This month it handed a letter signed by 4,000 members of the public supporting the call to the transport secretary.

4) In July 2017 the Government published its High Level Output Specification document which put the brakes on a number of electrification schemes.

5) The Government committed to introducing smart ticketing across England and Wales by 2018 in October last year.

6) Passenger Railway Challenge replaces the Fair Fares Now campaign, which Campaign for Better Transport successfully ran for seven years.

7) Campaign for Better Transport is the UK's leading authority on sustainable transport. We champion transport solutions that improve people's lives and reduce environmental damage. Our campaigns push innovative, practical policies at local and national levels. Campaign for Better Transport Charitable Trust is a registered charity (1101929).

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