The provision of information about rail services to enable passengers to plan or make their journeys with a reasonable degree of assurance is a requirement of Condition 4 of both the Passenger Licence and GB Statement of National Regulatory Provisions: Passenger.
All passenger licensees are therefore responsible for ensuring that appropriate, accurate and timely information is provided to railway passengers (including prospective passengers) to enable them to plan and make their journeys with a reasonable degree of assurance. Licensees are required to achieve this purpose to the greatest extent reasonably practicable. Our regular monitoring of train company performance identified that SWR may not be taking all the necessary steps to enable passengers to plan or make their journeys when train services are disrupted by planned engineering work.
We wrote to SWR 23 January 2018 setting out our serious concerns regarding the information provided to passengers about its rail services. We required SWR to take immediate action to ensure that passengers are provided with the information they need to make informed decisions.
In its response of 26 January 2018, SWR has set out a number of immediate improvements to provide better information to passengers. It has also given details of other enhancements together with measures designed to provide an enduring solution. We note that the action taken to date should make it easier for passengers to plan their journeys.
Nevertheless, it is important that the all of the promised improvements are delivered in a timely manner. We therefore intend to monitor SWR’s progress.
We have published today our exchange of letters with SWR given the seriousness of the issue and for the purposes of transparency.
We will also write directly to other passenger operators setting out our expectations for compliance with Condition 4 of the Passenger Licence and GB Statement of National Regulatory Provisions: Passenger. This will also be published on our website.