Train operator Greater Anglia has been short-listed for the Rail Operator of the Year award and the Technical Innovation award at the Rail Business Awards.
The nomination for Train Operator of the Year reflects the £40 million invested by Greater Anglia in customer service improvements during the course of its previous franchise – double what it was required to invest by the Department for Transport.
Greater Anglia created an additional 600,000 seats per year, made improvements to performance and reliability and refurbished trains.
The company also formed an alliance with MPs to lobby for train services between Norwich and London in 90 minutes and between Ipswich and London in 60 minutes.
In its current franchise, passengers in East Anglia will receive a £2 billion package of improvements to transform rail travel in the region. This includes replacing every single existing train with a larger fleet of brand new trains during 2019/2020, up from 933 carriages to 1043 carriages.
Other highlights will include more services, faster journey times, 55 per cent more seats into London in the morning peak period, initiatives to improve punctuality from 89% to almost 93%, £60 million of improvements in stations and new ticket options offering even better value for money.
The train operator has also been short-listed for the Technical Innovation Award, with its partner, Cubic Transportation, for its trial of the ‘NextAgent’ Virtual Ticket Office, which combines a virtual walk-up ticket office, a ticket vending machine and a video-linked call centre. NextAgent operators can remotely answer customer questions, provide advice about best fares and reassure passengers about their onward travel.
Customer reviews have been extremely positive, with 97 percent of users reporting a positive experience using a virtual ticketing office like NextAgent and 93 percent saying that NextAgent was either better or the same as using a staffed ticket office window.
The winning and commended entries will be announced at a special ceremony in London on 23 February.
Greater Anglia Managing Director Jamie Burles said:
“I’m pleased to see the sustained focused on investment into the region’s train service and the commitment, and achievements, of our employees in raising service standards has been recognised. We know we have much more to do and we are committed to consistently improving train services for the customers and communities we serve.”