Which Campaigns: My Wishlist for Train Services

Which? is asking for suggestions on what campaigns you would like them to run in 2015.

Here is mine…

I would like to see a Which? campaign on safer & fairer trains for all passengers, specifically:

  • A sufficient number of well-maintained ticket machines at all stations.
  • In the light of the potential new crimes that may arise as smart tickets & contactless card travel becomes more widespread, all conductors & penalty fare officers to have clear photo ID out on display when approaching passengers, to make them both identifiable and accountable.
  • Where passengers are forced to board a train without a ticket, commitment from all train operating companies that their conductors will pass through the carriages to sell tickets to those passengers and that they will have out on display an ID with a photo from which they can clearly be recognised.  I.e. an end to lazy conductors who expect passengers to make their way through the train to them.
  • Notices informing passengers forced to board without a ticket (due to no machine/office at local station) that they can purchase a ticket from any conductor/PFO when they pass through the train, or at their destination.  These notices should clearly state that penalty fares do not apply under these circumstances (prohibited by Penalty Fare Rules 7.3), even if the passenger has changed trains (Penalty Fare Rules 2.o).
  • Any passenger purchasing a ticket on board to be able to get the ticket with the same discount, e.g. with railcard, as if they bought it at a station.
  • Equal access: Any online discounts, except advance tickets, to apply at the station. Not everyone is on the internet.
  • Rail laws to be revised to reflect new technologies, e.g. Railway Byelaws 18 mandates you must hand over your ticket to a conductor on request. But what if your ticket is your contactless bank card? And what if that conductor refuses to show any ID to prove who they are?
  • Connecting trains to actually connect, i.e. wait a reasonable time before departing, particularly where there is no adverse effect on other parts of the schedule (often true on branch lines).