Passengers Satisfied with “Ghost” Train WiFi Service(02 Feb 2018, BWCS Staff)
Around one fifth of passengers on Southeastern trains say they are happy with the WiFi service available on-board. However, this figure must come as a pleasant surprise to the operator, as it has yet to introduce WiFi on any of its 350 trains that run on 1,000 miles of track in Kent, London and Sussex.
As the Kent Online website points out, 18% of Southeastern passengers who took part in a national poll said they were “satisfied” with WiFi on-board service – despite the fact that it doesn’t exist yet. In fact, this figure is not that far below the national total which records 30% of passengers being content with the (real) WiFi service on board UK trains.
Despite having satisfied one fifth of its riders already - with no service - Southeastern says that it remains committed to rolling out on-board WiFi this year. Managing Director, David Statham, said: “There is still a big job to do, but we are closer to delivering internet connectivity on all our trains.”
A train company spokesman told Kent Online: "Southeastern intends to launch a new, free WiFi system for all of our train services in the very near future as part of our £78 million programme of investment to improve the journey experience for our passengers.”
The National Rail Passenger Survey, published this week by Transport Focus, consulted more than 50,000 rail passengers on their satisfaction with various aspects of train travel. In this year's survey, Southeastern trains were ranked joint lowest for internet reliability, along with Great Northern.
Internet services on Heathrow Express trains were ranked highest, with 71% of passengers saying they are satisfied with its reliability.
BWCS would like to remind readers that the UK Government has recently launched a call for evidence on how to improve WiFi signals along rail routes (https://www.gov.uk/government/consultations/commercial-options-for-delivering-mobile-connectivity-on-trains-call-for-evidence ). The move comes as part of an ambitious plan that, it claims, could see passengers benefitting from a dramatic improvement in on-board mobile and WiFi connections.
The move is being pushed by the Department for Digital, Culture, Media & Sport and the Department for Transport, and is being driven by "Digital Minister" Matt Hancock and Chris Grayling the Transport Secretary. The deadline for submissions is February 6th.
Keith Monserrat of Network Rail will be one of the keynote speakers at this year’s WiFi on Trains Conference – Train Communications Systems 2018 (www.Traincomms2018.com )
This year's Train Communications System Conference will be sponsored by Icomera, Nomad Digital, Fluidmesh, 21Net, RADWIN and BAI Communications.