Disclosure - I attended the Transforming Passenger Information Customer Experience Summit 2013 as a guest of London Business Conferences Live Tweets from the Conference were posted at #TPI13
TPI13 was an international conference with speakers from the US, Canada, Denmark, Germany, and Sweden as well as from a range of UK TOCs and national rail-orientated organisations. Not surprisingly, many concerns overlapped with an emphais on the effect of WiFi, GPS, Social Media, and the role of Staff. Also, not surprisingly, different countries and (within the UK) different organisations were developing systems and solutions at varying paces and perhaps re-inventing the wheel?
Of course, the Rail Industry is complex - especially in the UK - yet the passengers' (information) needs are simple: I want to know how to get from A to B; I want reassurance that I am getting from A to B; if delayed, I want to know when I have to leave A to get to B / if I left A when I will get to B.
It was good to hear speaker after speaker recognise that such needs are valid, and to learn that much effort is being put into meeting them more effectively. It was also good to hear about efforts to inform and involve front-line staff in meeting passengers' needs, especially during disruption. There is a danger that in the excitement of the technical solutions being developed, it is forgotten that the most reassuring way of meeting a passenger need is the sound of a human voice or the actual physical presence of an informed member of staff empowered to take the appropriate action.
From the point of view of my blog, it was good to see all three TOCs involved in the Conference and all displaying a leading-edge approach to enhancing the information being made available to their passengers. Long may such pro-active approaches continue from +Chiltern Railways +London Midland and Virgin Trains