Railway is an essential element of transportation system because it is an efficient alternative to driving. The railway system seems to be the answer to the rising costs of owning, operating and parking automobile plus our dependence on fossil fuels and its environmental issues. Trains operate at speeds varying from 50 to 200 km/h on schedule. It connects suburbs and regions with service that includes off-peak and everyday runs with increased frequency of service. It provides more seating for longer distances and locations that draw large number of people who travel on a daily basis. Train system are viewed positively by citizens around the world because of their impact on mobility, its potential to develop urban centres and its relatively low environmental footprint compared to other transport modes.
The development of railway system supports economic development by connecting rural communities and helping reduce roadway congestion in greater metropolitan areas. Facilities and customer service on the railroads need improvement to be able to continue providing reliable service and meet the population demands. Without improving passenger experience people will still prefer using private vehicles which will lead to crippling congestion that takes a heavy toll on the economy.
Running railroad services means providing excellent customer service all the time. Providing information on fares, journey options and what to do during disruptions are important to give commuters a positive customer experience. Innovation could help improve customer service within the system. Innovating through digital technologies to provide information to consumers could be the cheapest way to improve satisfaction levels. Social media networks such as Facebook and Twitter can be used to give constant flow of real-time information and get instant answers. Digital applications with cellular capability will allow passengers to receive text messages from control centres about train operations, service updates and disruptions.
More and more people are relying on mobile technologies for information. Mobile applications can be developed to let passengers know which are the busiest trains and suggest alternative routes with less busy services. Other apps can tell users where facilities are located such as disabled access and priority seats. Applications like this will give passengers the power to adjust their schedules to avoid busy trains and improve their overall experience. Specially-labelled priority seats for persons with disability, with medical conditions, expectant mothers and people over 65 are important for passengers with special needs. A dedicated disability help desk can offer passengers the opportunity to pre-book seats before travelling.
Issuing card containing key telephone numbers such us customer service contact centre and lost property office can help make it easier for commuters to contact the customer service team quickly when they need to. Another way on improving customer contact on the railroads is by letting directors and executive meet customers at stations to discuss passenger information, timetables, board services and passenger concerns. Customers with internet access can participate in the discussion via live webchat. Management can communicate directly with commuters and get feedback on how to improve their services.
Online form on company website or online feedback portal is also an active way to seek customer feedback on its transport services. By filling up the form passengers can comment on the service they received. These comments can be collated for quality service monitoring and used in planning improvement initiatives. Positive feedback could then be used for rewarding and incentivising staff who went the extra mile to help make a difference in customer experience. Traditional face-to-face customer service coupled with the use of digital technology could help improve customer service within the railroad system.