On December 23 Jean Boutanquoi, Director of SNCF’s Ile-de-France commuter business, presented the first results of quality initiatives introduced last June after a survey of customer opinion. They are focused on personal safety, punctuality, passenger information and ticket retailing.

At the end of December, the first 170 of 240 extra personnel went into service to help discourage crime and fare evasion on the Paris suburban network. Dressed in red or blue uniforms, the staff will also carry passengers’ bags, report faults in station escalators and lighting, and assist customers to find their way.

Since October, SNCF has posted monthly punctuality figures at almost 200 Ile-de-France stations. On the northern sector of the network, the percentage of trains running late fell from 9% to 7% in seven months, but the goal of 5% may remain elusive as half of all delays are caused by malicious acts.

Meeting SNCF’s national target of informing passengers of delays within five minutes is complicated by the fact that older rolling stock lacks public address equipment. Information screens are being tested on three RER Line C trainsets; elsewhere drivers and other on-train staff have been trained to make announcements.

Ticketing innovations have included the introduction of a telesales service which aims to sell 10000 tickets a week and deliver them to customers’ homes. Since September 20, holders of the Carte Orange season have been able to renew their ticket at any Ile-de-France station. o