A new report from Transport Focus, in conjunction with HS2 Ltd, suggests that potential passengers have high expectations of technology and customer service on the route.
High Speed 2 - Using passenger insight to aid High Speed 2 design confirms that passengers have high expectations for every stage of their journey, with improvements to ticketing desired, compared with the existing classic rail system.
The research says that passengers should be easily able to see which ticketing option is best and cheapest for them. They also desire flexibility in switching to other services without penalty, and paperless ticketing including maps and timetables in a single digital location (such as an application).
Some of those surveyed expressed concerns about whether passengers unwilling or unable to adopt the ‘digital wallet’ concept would be excluded, but acknowledged that by 2026 many more will be comfortable with the technology.
Providing there are sufficient staff, the Customer Community surveyed expressed no concern about having no ticket offices. However, ensuring there is sufficient luggage space on trains near to passengers and having help to carry heavy luggage were significant concerns.
Provision of correct and detailed information about all aspects of passengers’ journeys is regarded as vital, as is sufficient availability of large toilets (so that passengers do not have to leave luggage unattended), secure storage space on trains, and a ticketing system which directs passengers to the best place to board.
Catering was also considered, with passengers calling for ‘substantial’ cold or hot food options for longer journeys of 90 minutes or more. For shorter journeys, more basic ‘essentials’ are considered sufficient.
Transport Focus Chief Executive Anthony Smith said: “Passengers tell us that they want a stress-free experience. They hope new technology will let them take more control of, and personalise, their journey experience.
“It’s important that the railway builds trust in its passengers by considering what they want right from the planning stages. We’ve been pleased to see findings from this work pop up in HS2’s plans.”