Tuesday, 5 April 2011

Will NR's new board live up to the fine words?

An interesting challenge for Keith Ludeman, currently Chief Executive of Go-Ahead.

Regular Eye readers will recollect that Network Rail announced in February that the Permataned one would be joining Network Rail's board, as a non-Exec, upon his retirement from Go-Ahead in July of this year.

Welcoming the appointment NR Chairman Rick Haythornthwaite said:

"Keith Ludeman brings to Network Rail decades of experience of leadership in Britain’s transport industry. The addition of him to the board will provide first-hand, passenger-focused expertise which will help Network Rail on its journey to becoming ever more responsive to its customers and passengers."

Meanwhile, on today's railway, Go-Ahead franchise London Midland has announced its intention to slash ticket office opening-hours at 87 stations, generating predictable fury from the aforementioned 'customers and passengers'.

Indeed Anthony Smith of Passenger Focus issued the following words on the proposed closures today:

Times are difficult and it’s important that train companies make best use of their resources. London Midland has done a good job in talking to its passengers about its plans but the message back is clear. Passengers were almost unanimous in their request for staff at the station, raising concerns about ticket machines and the need for staff for advice and assistance on ticket sales.

We fear these plans will lead to passengers paying more for their tickets than they should. Ticket vending machines are important, but while they don’t offer all ticket types or provide advice to ensure passengers get the cheapest fares, there will be a need for station staff.

Finally, passengers want staff on hand for help on the station and for security reasons. For all these reasons we’re calling on London Midland to address the concerns passengers raised.

Eye looks forward to seeing just how 'passenger focused and responsive to customers' NR's new board member can be!