View From The Signalbox
For this issue of the Newsletter I was tempted to change the heading from "View" to "Outlook" because I have been studying some recent issues of "Outlook", the complimentary magazine issued by ScotRail to their passengers; and a first class read it is. It is a publicity document with interesting articles on places to visit by train and details of all the latest fare saving deals.
These magazines brought home to me, once again, a major weakness with the attempt to get passengers on to the trains and that is one of publicity. Do you know all the ScotRail offers that are available? Probably not because the publicity doesn't reach any further out than the carriage with its copies of Outlook on the station forecourt. Have you seen the TV commercial ScotRail has produced? It was publicised in Outlook but so far I haven't seen it, mainly I suspect because I dislike commercials and if I video anything on the commercial stations I can't hit the fast forward button quickly enough - and I am probably not alone in this attitude! It seems such a shame to me that ScotRail is only preaching to the converted i.e. those already converted to the idea of rail travel.
With the current range of offers it does seem that ScotRail is prepared to test the theory that it is better to have a full train of passengers paying half fares than a half full train of passengers paying full fares.
However, it won't achieve this until it gets the publicity successfully aimed at those who don't yet go anywhere near a station, and every little helps - a recent experiment of sending out timetables to all the Post Offices along the Far North line resulted, in my local Post Office, of them all being taken in a matter of days. The interest is there - we've got to convert that into action.