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Author Topic: Airports would benefit from standardized rail systems  (Read 831 times)
grahame
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« on: September 06, 2017, 03:22:31 AM »

From Passenger Terminal Today

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UK-based consultancy Transporting Cities has released two case studies examining the passenger journey on the Heathrow Express rail service for London Heathrow Airport and Airport Link rail service for Sydney Airport in Australia.

The consultancy focused on the journey experience for arriving international passengers who travel through the airport and onward to the rail links. The assessments assumed the role of a first-time user and were conducted as a walkthrough experience from plane to train. Beginning at the gate, the route proceeded through the arrivals process into the public arrivals area, before entering the rail station and boarding platform.

Liam Henderson, founder of Transporting Cities, said, “I would say that the biggest challenge in providing excellent journey experience is recognizing that passengers’ assumptions on services are informed by their home systems. In the case of major airports, passengers are arriving from far flung destinations and will interpret rail services differently whereas the user experience has usually been designed by a local planner.

“Making the system accessible for these passengers will increase the overall user experience. I think there is an opportunity for some level of standardization in information provision across major airports so that a visitor to any global airport can expect to see a familiar guide through to the rail service.”
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stuving
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« Reply #1 on: September 06, 2017, 10:01:42 AM »

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Liam Henderson, founder of Transporting Cities, said, “I would say that the biggest challenge in providing excellent journey experience is recognizing that passengers’ assumptions on services are informed by their home systems. In the case of major airports, passengers are arriving from far flung destinations and will interpret rail services differently whereas the user experience has usually been designed by a local planner.

“Making the system accessible for these passengers will increase the overall user experience. I think there is an opportunity for some level of standardization in information provision across major airports so that a visitor to any global airport can expect to see a familiar guide through to the rail service.”

"Accessible"? Surely that should be "legible".

There seems to be an assumption here that airports are run for the benefit of arriving passengers. That is not self-evident, in transport or other respects, even when they are not just trying to make money. Trains are usually easiest to make sense of (though I remember Milan Malpensa as also being hard to use, with two services and different tickets). Buses are usually set up for locals only and don't try for clarity (not just true of airports). And as for taxis - well, they are arranged to suit the taxi drivers, aren't they?

The prize goes (or did, as this was over 30 years ago) to Pearson International at Toronto, where I was delayed for nearly 6 hours one night - duty-free shopping was confined to the departure lounge, but took Canadian cash only and the last change desk was at the one-way door going into it, so you'd have got rid of you last Loonies before then.
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Bmblbzzz
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« Reply #2 on: September 06, 2017, 12:34:00 PM »

The prize goes (or did, as this was over 30 years ago) to Pearson International at Toronto, where I was delayed for nearly 6 hours one night - duty-free shopping was confined to the departure lounge, but took Canadian cash only and the last change desk was at the one-way door going into it, so you'd have got rid of you last Loonies before then.
I've had a similar experience at Leningrad, as it still was back then. There was a bar in the departure lounge which only took roubles; at this time it was actually illegal to take roubles out of the USSR, so any you still had on you, you shouldn't have!
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Bmblbzzz
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« Reply #3 on: September 06, 2017, 12:45:27 PM »

Standardized rail systems might benefit arriving international passengers, but who would draw up the standard? How would it be implemented? Would it match anything that already exists? Would it cause international protests: "We don't want these <unloved nation> practices on our railway!"?

What I think would benefit passengers would be, to pick up on stuving's word, legibility. Clearly labelled services in a couple of major languages and pictograms. This way to the trains. Buy tickets here. This is Platform 1. The next train is going to... via... . Multilingual staff (and ticket machines, and maps and so on).

I can't really comment on airport rail services internationally because I've never used any. That none of the 14 (AFAIR) non-UK airports in 9 countries had a connecting rail service, or none that I wanted to use, might show other things need to be done before standardization; though I've done very little flying around Europe. All had bus connections of some sort.
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patch38
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« Reply #4 on: September 06, 2017, 01:00:33 PM »

I agree on the legibility issue. I always find AMS Schiphol hard to fathom (in terms of what's going where) in comparison, say, to OSL Gardermoen (admittedly a simpler service layout) which has excellent signage and displays. Standardized signs and pictograms could well help. I rarely use HEX but am always impressed by the staff on-hand to sell tickets and answer questions as you come through the arrivals corridors in T5.
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