Southeastern - Delivering the Future

Southeastern - Delivering the Future


J Vickers, MVA Consultancy, UK; D Miller, Southeastern, UK


The introduction of CTRL domestic services ie the biggest change on the London rail network for a generation. A combination of market research, analysis and modelling helped us understand the socio-economic base and current and post-2009 markets.


On 1st April 2006, Govia commenced a unique and very exciting business opportunity. The Integrated Kent Franchise (IKF) brings together the existing Southeastern, or classic, services in Kent East Sussex and London and the new high speed, or CTRL DS, services that will run on the Channel Tunnel Rail Link from December 2009. The new timetable, which arguably represents the biggest change on the London commuter railways since Thameslink electrification in 1990, will bring a change for the entire franchise and herald a new era in rail travel for the region.
Key to the approach was an initial programme of surveys which were specifically commissioned to recognise the different types of customer, even within the peak and off-peak periods, business commuter and leisure markets, and that they had different needs and constraints, and had different motivations for increased expenditure, or rail use, or both. This provided the first opportunity to identify the different segments of he customer base. Qualitative interviews and focus groups were undertaken to explore with customers their ideas for service improvements that might lead to increased spending, or greater train use. This qualitative phase was used to whittle down a substantial list of potential service improvements, whilst identifying any interesting ideas proposed by customers. A more structured, quantitative exercise followed which quantified the likely take-up of alternative service offerings.
To assess the level of transfer, a two-fold approach was adopted:
- specific market research targeted at relevant areas; and
- a demand forecasting model of the choice between CTRL DS and classic services.
In addition, a survey of potential CTRL DS customers sought to:
- provide information to enable a reliable estimate to be made of how individuals trade off the time, cost and quality attributes mentioned above; and
- provide guidance on the attributes expected of the CTRL DS service, including on-train, at station, access to stations (both ends of journey) and how these are valued so that robust business cases can be built for any product enhancements.
A difference was also made between whether these existing customers are likely to transfer for regular journeys (commuting to work, evenings out in London) or only occasional journeys (eg when undertaking trips north out of London) and also sought to identify whether there would be any change in the frequency of trip making. Importantly, the CTRL DS will significantly improve the attractiveness of parts of Kent as a place to live for those who work in London. Consultation was undertaken with employees in the City, West End and Docklands about how they make decisions about where to live and whether CTRL DS might make them consider Kent. The objective being to identify what product attributes will encourage trial and adoption of CTRL DS by new customers already resident in Kent, the extent to which the new service can encourage new people to move to Kent, and to seek to quantify the extent of new travel.
The Paper, to be presented jointly by the consultant (MVA Consultancy) and client (Southeastern), will:
- explain Southeastern¡¦s objectives in seeking to understand it¡¦s customer base;
- explain the methodologies used not only to gather, but interpret the data;
- describe how the resulting information was used to formulate strategies to underpin the franchise;
- provide conclusions and recommendations on such approaches can be used in other similar transport studies (both rail and other modes); and
- include recent and expected actions by Southeastern to both deliver to passenger expectation and maximise their business opportunity.


Association for European Transport