Rail replacement bus sign

UK: Rail-replacement bus and taxi services have suffered from ‘a lack of a joined-up industry-wide and customer-led approach’, CMAC Group told Rail Business UK when it announced the launch of its Great British Rail Replacement business. This aims to help operators provide a more seamless passenger experience during planned and short notice disruption.

Corporate transport and accommodation services company CMAC is part of the Comfort Del Gro Group. It is being advised by consultant Alex Warner of AJW Experience Group, who told Rail Business UK that ‘we will be working to help rail operators and those that specify the proposition going forward to improve the interfaces with other customer touchpoints, including information about rail replacement, signage, knowledge about the rail replacement service from railway staff to the quality of the onboard product and of course the friendliness of the driver.

‘We will also be gathering insight to help review the experience in terms of customer metrics and customer outcomes and we will be intensifying the recruitment and training of those who co-ordinate and manage the experience so that it is more customer-centric.’

GBRR ‘will impart our experience as independent providers of rail replacement services, as an organisation not owned by an existing organisation that runs railways in the UK, and we will do so cost-effectively for the good of the rail industry during these challenging times and drawing on best practice approaches to improve the customer experience all round.’

Announcing the launch of GBRR on July 3, CMAC CEO Peter Slater said ‘the rail industry is long overdue a fresh approach’, as ’customer expectations are higher than ever and post-Covid they are more discerning about whether to travel or not. Too often, customers choose not to travel because they see that rail replacement services are running instead of trains, or they have a bad experience during disruption and either don’t come back or reduce their trip frequency.’