ORR is pleased that since it wrote to all operators in January 2023, the vast majority have implemented a new system, which enables notifications to be sent to ticket retailers (whether train companies, independent retailers, or travel management companies) when trains are changed or cancelled more than 48 hours before travel. Passengers who have booked online are then sent an email or text notifying them of any changes to their service.
However, ORR’s review of these notifications found they are often lacking information and clarity when explaining the full range of options available to affected passengers.
ORR expects all operators to review the content of their notifications to ensure that they are clear and provide useful information to passengers, including setting out their rights and options.
The regulator is also discussing this matter with independent retailers, who are responsible for contacting passengers who purchase tickets using their websites or apps.
ORR would also like operators to consider their policies on ticket flexibility where trains are cancelled, to give greater choice for passengers.
The regulator says it would like all ticket retailers to secure the right outcomes for customers and would expect any necessary changes - whether to the National Rail Conditions of Travel, retail systems or individual train operator policies - to be progressed at pace.
Stephanie Tobyn, director of strategy, policy and reform says:
Notes to editors
- Letter to train operating companies
- The Smarter Information, Smarter Journeys programme was established by the rail industry in response to a request from ORR that it develops a strategy for improving passenger information. As part of that programme a workstream developed personalised journey notifications. 1.8 million notifications had been sent by the end of May 2023.
- Transport for Wales plans to implement the system by September 2023 and ORR continues to work with c2c to ensure its notifications system meets the standard requirements.
- Passenger information licence conditions
- The National Rail conditions of travel (paragraph 30.1) makes provision for a fee-free refund from the retailer if the service is cancelled, delayed or rescheduled.