A joint meeting of the heads of Russian Railways and the Russian Federal Service for the Surveillance of Consumer Rights Protection and Human Wellbeing – known in Russian as Rospotrebnadzor – was held in Moscow on 10 May 2016.
The meeting was attended by the President of Russian Railways Oleg Belozerov, the Head of Rospotrebnadzor Anna Popova, the Vice-President of Russian Railways Mikhail Akulov, the Head of Rospotrebnadzor for Rail Transport Yuri Kaskov and the Deputy Chairman of the Consumer Council for Russian Railways Kirill Yankov.
In his address to the meeting, Oleg Belozerov expressed his thanks to the Federal Service for Surveillance for its cooperation in implementing the agreement signed between the two organisations in December 2015.
“We understand the need for independent control, and we know that you will accurately provide that control for us,” said the President of Russian Railways. “The mechanism for our interaction, which includes regular summaries of the results, has already been launched, and we are now seeing the impact and the changes.”
The President of Russian Railways also cited the results from a study carried out by the Russian Public Opinion Research Centre (VCIOM), the oldest marketing and opinion research company in the post-Soviet space, according to which 47% of respondents who had travelled long distance in the last year had noted positive changes in rail transportation, while 32% of Russians were fully satisfied with the quality of service on the railways and another 40% were “rather satisfied.”
“Our task is to do everything we can to increase the number of our passengers. This will be possible if the entire passenger infrastructure – from the stations, platforms and trains through the ticket offices to the online services – is convenient, if the quality of service is predictable, reliable and good, and our employees are polite and always ready to help,” said Oleg Belozerov.
Anna Popova in turn highly praised the Company’s social position and in particular stressed the measures that it has put in place in the children’s transportation segment in the run-up to the summer season. From 1 June to 31 August 2016, children and adolescents aged 10 to 17 will receive a 50% discount on journeys in second-class and common carriages, carriages with seating in the categories long-distance “fast” and “passenger” trains on domestic routes, and 2nd and 3rd class carriages in multiple unit rolling stock.
“The role of the railways in facilitating summer holidays is very significant,” said Anna Popova. “For us it is always a high-risk period, and I am sure that together we can reduce this risk to a minimum, and even better, reduce it to zero.”
For his part, Oleg Belozerov promised that the Company would make every effort to ensure that journeys would become more comfortable and that passengers would notice more and more that the service is improving noticeably.
“In order to make ticket purchases more convenient, we have launched a new mobile application which enables passengers to buy tickets for long-distance trains without any commission,” said Oleg Belozerov. “We are testing the Unified Service Portal platform. Once passengers have registered and connected to Wi-Fi at the departure station, they will be able to continue using the Unified Service Portal on the train and have access to content.”
Speaking about the procurement of rolling stock, Oleg Belozerov noted that, in addition to upgrading suburban electric trains and high-speed trains, Russian Railways also planned to renew its fleet of second-class carriages for long-distance trains.
“We have conducted market research and come to the conclusion that we have to retain the economy class carriages,” said the President of Russian Railways. “We need second-class carriages, not only for specialised transportation, for example to carry groups of children. This is a service that is in general in demand, that people want to use. But there should, of course, be other second-class carriages which are more comfortable. We therefore plan to replace the old rolling stock with new carriages over the next four years.”