Transport for Wales must put customers at the centre of its services
Transport for Wales (TfW) needs to be much more active in engaging with and responding to the views of its customers across the country, according to a National Assembly committee.
The Economy, Infrastructure and Skills Committee has been looking at the roles and responsibilities of TfW. It concluded that, while some progress has been made in gathering the views of stakeholders, sufficient general public information about the organisation is lacking and difficult to obtain.
The Committee also found TfW operates in a reactive way as regards to communication rather than being proactive.
Transport for Wales is a not-for-profit company wholly-owned by Welsh Government, and responsible for delivering its vision for transport in Wales.. It runs the Wales and Borders rail franchise but is also responsible for delivering an “integrated, affordable and accessible transport network” in line with the Welsh Government’s ‘Prosperity for All’ national strategy.
Chair of the Committee, Russell George AM, said:
“The evidence was unequivocal - transport is first and foremost about the needs of the user, and TfW’s future governance arrangements must reflect this.
“It is also critical that the policy functions of health, education, housing and land use planning are integrated into decision-making, in order to successfully deliver an integrated transport network.”
The Committee found the separation between TfW and the Welsh Government was unclear, leading to confusion about the roles of either organisation.
TfW appeared to be responsible in some areas for both policy development on behalf of the Welsh Government, and also delivery of services.
The Committee concluded that the need for greater transparency around TfW’s role is critical as the organisation continues to develop. Russell George said:
“The overriding view is that there is no clarity about where Transport for Wales ends and Welsh Government begins, and where the various responsibilities lie.
“Although we accept that Transport for Wales is a new and developing organisation, which until now has been focused on successfully delivering the new rail franchise, this lack of clarity cannot continue much longer.”
The Committee makes 13 recommendations in its report, including:
TfW must demonstrate a stronger commitment to meeting customer needs and improving passenger experience: it must employ a wide range of mechanisms, both formal and informal, to consult and engage with stakeholders and passengers. TfW should develop and publish a comprehensive communications and engagement plan setting out its approach and making clear what standards stakeholders and the public can expect;
TfW must move quickly to set up a formal advisory group to allow it to engage with stakeholder bodies and improve levels of public awareness about TfW’s responsibilities and functions, and the lines of accountability for all the various transport functions in Wales; and,
It is difficult to recommend what form the transport body should take until there is clarity about its functions, and it has developed to the point where it is ready to assume those additional functions. Welsh Government needs to decide what it wants TfW to achieve before agreeing a definitive governance model. In doing so it must clearly define the remit of TfW, and resolve the tensions created by it having roles in both policy development and delivery.
The report will now be considered by the Welsh Government.
Read the full report:
The Future Development of Transport for Wales (PDF, 687 KB)