What does the customer mean to Crossrail?

16th May 2016

The Elizabeth Line, the largest civil engineering project in Europe, is on track to deliver a world-class, affordable railway for London and the South East, with services due to commence in December 2018. 

Constructed by Crossrail Limited, the new railway will cover 118km of track, connecting 40 stations between Reading and Shenfield.

Crossrail’s chairman Terry Morgan is tasked with delivering the world-class affordable railway on time, in full and on budget. We caught up with Morgan to find out more about the project that is driven by the need to meet the customer expectations of some 200 million future passengers.

How central is customer experience to the project?

The Elizabeth Line is driven by the opportunity to transform the passenger experience and to replace it with one that is worthy of the best of the 21st century and not that of 150 years ago. 

Traditionally, we talked about passengers, rarely customers. There’s always been a sense of each passenger ‘owning’ their own railway journey – an element of co-ownership – which is why the word customer hasn’t been widely taken up. But by transforming the London travel landscape, we will also be changing the relationships with the people who use the Elizabeth Line. Our customers will be the prime drivers and it will be all about offering an excellent customer experience.

How will the new line improve travel for passengers?

The Elizabeth Line will change the way our future customers travel around the capital. There will be new journeys and shorter travelling times, and that’s why we’re building the customer experience into every stage of the project. For Crossrail, world-class means leading on safety in construction, management of delivery and focusing on high customer satisfaction, both in design and in operation. 

Do stations form a significant part of the overall customer experience? 

We are always trying to make the station an experience, looking at restoring railway stations to the heart of the community. We ask: “What about the experience of customers as they start to approach the station? How can we improve the functionality here?”

The Elizabeth line will have larger station entrances and ticket halls, longer station platforms and longer trains than other Transport for London lines, which will mean the system has the capacity to operate as passenger demand increases. We are determined to deliver a vastly improved travelling experience. It’s all about providing a sense of customers being valued.

What are you doing to ensure that the people living with, above, or alongside the project face as little disruption as possible?

We have large teams of people on our community liaison panels who address this as far as possible. We involve the community – our current customers – at every level, making sure they are informed and understand how, when and why things are happening. We invite the public to view how the work is progressing, organising tours and exhibitions of the archaeological finds we have come across.

Delivered by public and private investment through the Department for Transport and Transport for London, the project is driven by a large number of partnerships. How do you manage their different interests?

By constantly talking to each other and sharing any concerns, both of which are essential for effective partnership working. We don’t draw any distinction between our valued private and public sector partnerships. We all feel accountable for delivering the best for London and our customers.

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