Seven ways Transport for London improved its customer service strategy

18th Dec 2017

The capital’s transport network faced a huge challenge when the Olympics arrived in 2012. In the latest issue of Customer Focus, Vernon Everitt explains how TfL responded and now uses information sharing.

Radical openness
To prepare for the 2012 games, Transport for London (TfL) published all the information available to it, including where the pinch points would be on the network if passengers didn’t change their travel plans to make allowance for the games. This allowed people to change their routes if necessary.

Making services resilient

As well as 31 million Londoners’ enjoying smoother daily journeys, sharing journey data helped to make the city’s transport network more resilient, minimising disruption when issues inevitably arose. Helping passengers to help themselves Vernon Everitt, TfL’s managing director for customers, communication and technology, says: “Sharing our information means passengers can plan their journeys better. Freight companies can choose the quietest times, and it helps us to wring out every last ounce of capacity from the transport and road network we already have.”

Meet the digital railway
Automated signaling on the Victoria, Northern and Jubilee Lines enabled more trains to run at peak times. Payment went digital with the introduction of Oyster in 2003, followed by contactless bankcard payments. Now more than 40 per cent of people who use pay-as-you-go on TfL’s services use contactless, be that a card or a mobile device.

Sustainable service – short, medium and long term
“We have to get the daily service right, and also look after its long-term sustainability,” says Everitt. “We combine immediate improvements like cycle superhighways with things like making the case for Crossrail 2, which wouldn’t be ready until the early 2030s.”

Customer journey data
“We used anonymous Wi-Fi connection data to see how people move around the system. We found that even for a simple journey from King’s Cross to Waterloo, people use around 15 different routes – sometimes pitching them into the most congested stations in London, that they could have easily avoided if armed with the right information,” Everitt says.

Bringing stakeholders on board
“The Olympics created a moment when we were absolutely focused on customer experience, and we’ve learned enormously from it. It’s driven a customer strategy, and we work on that collectively as an organisation,” he says. “Any service innovation needs to deliver on the priorities of key stakeholders.”

You can read the full article featuring Vernon Everitt's interview here.

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