I was recently a keynote speaker at the inaugural European Passenger Federation summit in Brussels, I must admit that I was looking forward to the event due to the fact it had a focus on the rail traveler.
The event had a very good mix of railways, transport organizations, European parliament officials, travel commissions, public affairs and city authorities. But the conference gave us some good insights on the rail industry.
DG Move provided the results of a recently some European rail statistics conducted passenger survey, which illustrated some interesting results on high-speed rail vs airlines and other modes of transport:
- 78% respondents used public transport
- 59% local urban
- 34% national rail
- 28% air
- 14% long-distance coach
- 10% ship & ferry
- 5% international rail
DG Move is engaged in an ongoing campaign to raise awareness of passenger rights over the course of next 3 years. The main theme recurring throughout was the need for intermodal passenger rights.
Connecting rail throughout the whole travel process
The main message I wanted to share was that rail has to be integrated into the travel process for there to be a significant shift from other modes of transport such as the car, to entice more rail passengers. I presented our European rail travel trip to Vienna showing the fact that there was a different itinerary offered from each sales channel with no real collaboration across countries. It just makes it that harder for first-time rail travelers to have confidence in getting from a to b. The projects that are ongoing too are all serving a purpose to help realize the pursuit of the 2011 EC white paper on transport vision. Allways Travelling, IT2Rail, FSM, and Shift2Rail are all contributing to integrate rail through the different distribution channels so that travelers have a choice where to buy their rail ticket and have it as part of their total trip.
After the summit, my onward journey from Brussels to London was by Eurostar and their new Business Premier lounge is excellent; very comfortable, lots of things to read and refreshments available to help you relax before the journey. On board the service was excellent too, the food was very good and it just made the whole experience enjoyable, the only thing missing is the Wi-Fi.
Looking forward to meet you in the upcoming events.