Transport chaos and the passenger
As the snow comes down so the UK transport system descends in to chaos. Given the general irregularity of heavy snow perhaps this is understandable.
But, as a group concerned with people, what stands out when watching the news reports is the number of people stuck at airports and train stations saying “we’ve been given no information”.
How can this be so? It would appear from the ground that so much of the organisations and operators’ focus goes into sorting the problem that not enough effort is paid to informing the customers.
In these difficult situations, people need a constant flow of updated information. Organisations are looking at using more technological solutions like Twitter to support this. But this never replaces a well informed member of staff who can deal with questions and actually answer them.
I saw a piece last night on the news where trains had been cancelled at Peterborough and there was the usual chaos with uninformed staff, a lack of replacement buses ready to go and a total lack of organisation to help passengers know where and when to get the bus. This suggests a lack of contingency planning on behalf of the operators to know what they are going to do when faced with difficult circumstances when things go wrong.
Transport is key to our economy. In a civilised society we should be able to run a transport system that is passenger or user focused. This means responding effectively to passenger needs for information when things go wrong.