Public commuters are the main customers of public railways worldwide. It is very important that public railway managers are aware on to achieve the overall satisfaction of their passengers. There must be some goals that directly affect such satisfaction in order to maintain the quality service that they provide to their passengers. Having such goals, there are recommendations as well as suggestions in which railway managers must consider to address the opportunities that might have missed in operating the railway as one of the public transportations. On the other hand, it is quite obvious that some passenger if not all are experiencing dissatisfaction in terms of their overall experience with their train services in their countries or location. Therefore, these recommendations will address the points of dissatisfaction so as to turn the commuters’ transit experience into a positive feedback, which will increase the satisfaction rate of the railway service.
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Having recommended actions towards efficiency improvement could an important thing to consider. An increase in utilization of the railway assets is one of the recommendations that were suggested by Beck, Bente, and Schilling (2013). Based on the report, this action could lead into better efficiency of the railway than its current one. This action must be considered and done using an extensive maintenance as well as high depreciation cost for the railway’s assets in which using each kilometer of the railway track is very crucial. Improving efficiency of the railway will not just satisfy the passengers, but will increase the satisfaction rate of the railway service in terms of the business. Studies have revealed that the high utilization of the railway assets when it comes to freight operations may have a positive feedback on efficiency (Beck, Bente, and Schilling, 2013).
Furthermore, there are some additional factors that can improve the train and track utilization. For instance, focusing the rolling stock assets of the train service on those highly used tracks may improve the utilization because these routes have higher passenger rates, which the train management will know based on their average passenger counts per day. Fuller coaches by definition signify higher utilization of train service’s rolling stock that will be advantageous railway revenue and efficiency.
This recommendation does not imply to reduce the focus on those tracks that does not normally used, but it suggests that increasing the focus on the high passenger volume routes will more likely to increase the overall satisfaction rate of the train service. This is similar to spending the rolling stocks more on the critical side of the operations, as it has more potential to have a satisfaction level feedback from the passengers than on those routes that have lower passenger volume.
It is very critical for the railway operation to provide efficiency on their service because this could be the start of either passenger satisfaction or otherwise. A group of passengers who are experiencing inefficient service from the railway service could lead into a more complex experience. Meaning, if a passenger has been waiting for a delayed train, the dissatisfaction experience may have already been starting in which the passenger may see another factor that could add up to the dissatisfaction level once he stepped into the coach. The example of these factors would be congestion inside the train coach, cleanliness, punctuality, and more, which could have not been detected by the passenger if the train service exercised its efficiency in the first place.
Train commuters’ satisfaction can be measured using various factors. Thus, passengers may be satisfied with the way the process of taking train, as a public transportation is implemented. Therefore, train service management must have an adequate operational management so that passengers’ satisfaction will be achieved. The train service management may involve some aspects that directly affect the passengers’ experience when it comes to commuting. As such, some recommendations were developed to increase the proper management of the train operations. The railway service may use a capacity management method.
The railway operations can be complex because of the involvement of a number of trains that need to be operated on a daily basis. Thus, there are a number of train stations that also needs to be considered in terms of the volume of passengers. The difficulty of the train operation could be a combination of managing the number of coaches that need to be routed and managed to several train stations. It may not be easy, as this task needs to be done in a timely manner in order to avoid delays, which may cause passenger dissatisfaction.
In order to mange the complexity of this train operation, railway services such management system. The recommended system will give the passengers with information that they can rely on, in terms of the transport time. It will also increase the railway service’s reliability. Additionally, it will reduce the buffer times of the service and will provide more appealing times that the passengers may choose through capacity management technique. Using the management system may increase the optimization of existing vehicles to transport more passengers and shipments using the same amount of wagons and trains. Furthermore, the capacity management method will ease the issues in terms of booking and reservations and train timetables (Kenzler, 2006). Having such management system may decrease the dissatisfaction level from the passengers. Thus will increase the demand of the service and increase the revenue.
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As we face rapid changes in the environment, the lifestyle of people also changes. These include the way the travel and go to their destinations through public transportation. In current time, many environmental advocates are encouraging people not to use their private vehicles, but instead to use public transportations such as train service. However, there are factors that need to be improved or changed, so that people may be encouraged to use railway service instead of their personal cars and vehicles. One of the most common issues is the fare. There are some recommendations on how to meet the passengers’ expectations and demands when it comes to fares. The government may restrict the price by which railway operators may increase their fares per year. Based on the recommended actions against fare issues, there must be a formula and ticketing system that will reduce the effects of fare increase on commuters. The train operators may the flexibility in terms of fares, which will be offered to passengers (gov.uk).
In order to attain this recommendation, a lower single leg fare for off peak return tickets can be offered to passengers. Another consideration is the provision of flexible ticketing that includes discounted prices for trips at quieter times. At times, the railway operator may provide some flexible tickets for seasonal times, but the most important would be the provision of code of practice when it comes to ticketing information. This is crucial, as passengers may just take advantage the offers without knowing the conditions, if there is any, of the tickets they are purchasing.
The service quality improvement may not be accurate if there will be no feedback that will come from the passengers themselves. So, it is important that the railway operators musty have some sort of surveys, which will enable them to receive comments and suggestions directly from the passengers. This is not just to address their complaints, but also to address the opportunities that need to be acted upon to increase the customer satisfaction.
The government of the United Kingdom (gov.uk) also suggests that improving the leadership within the industry will help in achieving the customers’ satisfaction. In this case, having an improved leadership I the industry will have a domino effect from top management down to the rank and file positioned employees. Thus, an improved leadership will affect the way employees do their tasks, which will also improve the totality of the service. However, these employee-based skills are just the underlying conditions to achieve the customer satisfaction. Tangible services must be improved such as washrooms and coach cleanliness for sanitation satisfactory, punctuality of the transit to avoid congestion inside the coaches, and reliability to increase demands from the public commuters.
Another recommendation is the adaptation of the UK’s Thameslink Programme (gov.uk). This program aims to increase the capacity of each train. In order to achieve its goal, the railway operators must have longer coaches; increase the frequency of the service, reduction of crowding and upgrade the train stations. The railway operators can also put additional destination choices and improve the passengers’ access to their train stations. The complexity of these improvements can be achieved using recommended guidelines such as concrete plans for its implementation as well as having the adequate budget to support costly improvement plans.
On the other hand, the railway operators may develop an improvement plan based on the listed priorities. Depending on the budget involved, railway operators may focus on their initial project based on the passengers’ feedback. It could also be a seasonal-based plan in which major changes and improvements can be done during low season, so that fewer passengers will be affected with such project. Relatively, a smooth transition between the current operational procedure and improvement project must be executed to ensure that passengers’ trip will not be sacrificed.
One of the main challenges of improving the overall service of the railway service is the funding. The total service quality improvement may not be possible if there will be no enough funds available to use for such improvement. In this regard, various recommendations were discussed so as to address this challenge. Providing enough funds could be the first line of the process in order to achieve the recommended action plans. There are several factors that affect the funding of railway improvement such as the capacity of governance to manage the transport sector. Another factor would be the questions about the definition and implementation of a long-term vision to support the development of the railway service system as an inclusion in the transport sector.
When it comes to the enhancement of the governance, it is important to be aware of its strengths and weaknesses (Olievschi, 2013). This could be applicable on the railway service systems that are being operated by a private company. In this context, it says that railway operation may have good solutions in terms of facing the challenges and issues when it comes to developing improvement strategies. Conversely, the private sector may not be able to replace the government when it comes to addressing the premeditated issues of the train service sector (Olievschi, 2013). In this case, a recommendation for privately operated railway service is to seek support from the government in case any issues regarding such sector.
Private sector may have the adequate funding when it comes to sustaining the operation. However, the government plays a bigger role when it comes to the implementation of laws concerning the railway industry. Additionally, the government will rightfully play its role as a policy maker, infrastructure owner, and even act as the client of railway transport services. Therefore, the private sector must not just focus on their rules, as the government is providing other supporting guidelines.
Achieving the overall satisfaction may not be easy, as there are plans that need to be developed and implemented in a smooth way. Train stations, coaches, facilities, and many other factors are the ones that are being combined to form a competitive railway service. Hence, having a long-term vision in order to achieve the current and future goals is one of the crucial parts of the railway service improvement. Therefore, it is very important not to repeat some approach that gave dysfunctional results on the first attempt of improvement (Green and Hall, 2009 p.84). Relatively, a recommendation for a long-term development approach may be modified in a quarterly basis so as to cope with new issues and challenges pertaining to the railway operation. In addition, the modification of long-term plans can be used as a response to unexpected or unforeseen events. However it is recommended to develop a plan in the fist place.
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Developing a concrete plan in exclusion to the unforeseen event is similar to being ready and responsive, in case of emergency. This recommendation may not be the primary concern of the passengers, but its essence may come up in the event that its importance will be needed. Therefore, the passengers will realize that the railway service operator is indeed ready for any unprecedented event that might happen. Furthermore, plans that are readily available may serve as an early improvement for the future’s needs.
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