Eurostar communication should be improved on 27/01/2010
London TravelWatch has submitted its response to Eurostar’s inquiry into the major disruption late last year after five Eurostar trains broke down in the Channel Tunnel.
As the voice of transport users, London TravelWatch has concentrated on the passengers’ experience and the provision of information during the incident.
Sharon Grant, Chair, London TravelWatch said: “This was a major incident that affected many passengers. We were disappointed that Eurostar did not take the lead in managing the situation, and should have been more pro-active in anticipating the needs of passengers.”
London TravelWatch used feedback from the public, personal experience and observation, along with discussions with Eurostar to collect its evidence. We were particularly concerned about the lack of announcements made at stations about what was happening, and when passengers could travel, and the lack of information given on trains.
Sharon Grant continued: “It seems that passengers were not accurately informed about what was happening, or what to expect. It is vital that there is effective communication between staff and passengers on board, in order to minimise confusion and potential anxiety. Eurostar need to ensure that adequate provision is made to supply refreshments to delayed passengers, and to maximise communication with ticket holders.”
London TravelWatch is encouraged by some aspects of the management of the disruption, in comparison to the last major incident on Eurostar after a fire in the Channel Tunnel.
Sharon Grant continued: “After the previous incident, the website collapsed and we received numerous calls from passengers who were finding it impossible to contact Eurostar. This did not happen this time. We were also pleased to find at St Pancras several French speakers: the language barrier had been a big problem before.
“Eurostar clearly made efforts to learn from previous mistakes, but it is clear that there are still massive improvement needed to ensure that passengers are kept informed, looked after and valued.”
London TravelWatch’s full response can be downloaded.
For more information, please contact the London TravelWatch press office on 020 7726 9953 or 07734 055494.
The voice of London's transport users
27 January 2010