Business Travel Association calls for rail ‘revolution’ in white paper

The Business Travel Association (BTA) has produced a white paper on the rail system, calling for a “revolution” leading to a passenger-led service.

The white paper argues that some people are reluctant to take the train because of the risk of heavy delays and challenging conditions.

Among the series of recommendations are that the UK should learn from best practice displayed in other countries, ensure carriages are kept clean, design simpler tickets and introduce ‘passenger champions’ at the heart of decision-making.

BTA chief executive Clive Wratten said: “We need to move rapidly to creating a passenger-led railway system that takes us from a partial recovery in train travel, post-pandemic, to a revolutionary new deal for business and leisure travellers that supports a thriving, integrated economy working efficiently for all.”

The white paper cites figures suggesting that ‘rail passenger kilometres travelled’ has only recovered to around 85% of pre-pandemic levels.

The document discusses common passenger frustrations, including finding rubbish that has been left from previous journeys.

It is suggested that lessons can be learned from “well-run airlines”, where it would be “inconceivable” to find dirty interiors.

On looking overseas for inspiration, the white paper states: “Our business travellers and all rail passengers are entitled to ask for a British railway system that clearly and consistently compares itself to global best practice.”

“Consumer champions” such as Martin Lewis should be involved in railway decisions, the white paper states, while a “business travel champion” should also be included.

Wratten added: “We recognise the importance of prioritising passengers in our efforts to transform the rail industry.

“By putting passengers first and implementing innovative solutions, we can create a rail system that is efficient, comfortable and accessible to all.”

The white paper is called: ‘Getting our Trains Back on Track! Putting Passengers First.’

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