Chintakayala P, Risley R, Muir J. Reconfiguring the coaches: impact on demand and revenue. Presented at the European Transport Conference 2014; September 29, 2014. Frankfurt, Germany.

Rail companies are increasingly listening to passenger needs whilst striving to maximise revenue and make efficiency improvements. To be most effective TOCs need a clear understanding of the different customer segments and understand how they can tailor their offer in order to meet these different passengers’ expectations and preferences. Research undertaken for East Coast suggested that the current configuration of its rolling stock and onboard service offering may not be the most appropriate given customer behaviour, needs and preferences. Given that service needs to be dynamic and potentially change to reflect these evolving demands, a hypothesis was developed that East Coast could better define their proposition and generate more revenue by changing the rolling stock configuration and service offered in line with the requirements of specific customer groups/segments. This paper presents the results of research carried out to explore the potential for developing a three class proposition or amending the two class proposition to better meet the needs of some key customer segments. The core objectives of the study were to:

• understand the specific attitude to and needs of different customers segments

• understand the impact on customer behaviour, and ultimately revenue, of changing the rolling stock configuration and on board service

• assess the likely behavioural response of different customer segments together with assessing price elasticities amongst these customer segments.

A quantitative approach involving CAPI on train and online survey interviews was employed in this research. The questionnaire included stated preference and stated intention elements to robustly assess the impact of any potential changes in the train configuration. In addition, attitudinal and behavioural questions were included and analysed to identify segments by customer need/behaviour/attitude. The stated preference/stated intention data were also analysed by these segments. The results were used to understand the revenue and demand impact of reconfiguring East Coast’s carriages around a three-class model and the revenue and demand impact of reconfiguring East Coast's carriages to deliver an optimised two-class model.

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