Journal of Public Transportation Article in Volume 6, Issue 1 (2003) by Graeme McLay
Transportation research often focuses on the problem of persuading travelers to switch from private to public transport. Lists are drawn up that note the differences between private and public transport and emphasize the environmental benefits and efficiencies that can be gained from a modal shift. New technologies or even new modes are studied to combat the ever-growing popularity of private transport. Yet, car ownership and travel continue to increase. Instead of asking what would persuade car drivers to travel by public transport, this article focuses on the question: What’s wrong with the railways that make people prefer to drive?
This research follows an earlier paper in the Journal of Public Transportation (Lyons and McLay 2000) and presents some observations on the state of passenger railway in the United Kingdom. Complaints about passenger rail continue to rise (see Office of Passenger Rail Franchising [OPRAF] 1999 and Office of the Rail Regulator[ORR] 1999). While there may be a number of reasons for this rise, including increased press coverage and improved complaint procedures, it is clear that a lack of investment in rail infrastructure led to increased delays and reliability (Department of the Environment Transport and the Regions [DETR] 1998). It is not clear from these statistics as to what people who continued to use the railway actually thought about the service. The Association of Train Operating Companies (ATOC) granted access to its collection of complaints to make further inquiries, which showed that those who do use the railways are generally satisfied with the service. View the full article or the entire Journal issue.