Opin­ion: Amer­i­can Dream?

Amer­ica is renowned for its love of the car but as some start talk­ing of trans­port sus­tain­abil­ity, Roger Wil­liams, chair­man International Rail Cater­ing Group (IRCG), asks could high­speed rail be the new Amer­i­can Dream?

Onboard Hospitality - - Contents -

In Amer­ica there seems to be a con­stant co­nun­drum – big busi­nesses are main­tained by and rely on burn­ing fos­sil fu­els, in­clud­ing the mas­sive air and road trans­port in­dus­tries. But whilst many recog­nise that can’t con­tinue they also don’t want to dam­age the econ­omy or jobs.

That's where Andy Kunz comes in. He's the pres­i­dent and ceo of the U.S. High Speed Rail As­so­ci­a­tion and has been mak­ing the case for spread­ing high-speed rail across the U.S. His vi­sion for sus­tain­able trans­port in­cludes a 17,000-mile na­tional net­work to be com­pleted by 2030. Is that a pipe dream or could it re­ally be the new Amer­i­can Dream?

Re­cently he set out his top 10 rea­sons for the change rang­ing from be­ing car­bon neu­tral through to safety, job cre­ation, city and hous­ing re­gen­er­a­tion and us­ing rail de­vel­op­ment as a tool for eco­nomic growth. In short, many of the things coun­tries and com­mu­ni­ties have al­ready ben­e­fited from with high­speed rail in Europe and many other parts of the world.

2030 is the end game but plan­ning starts now - so my mes­sage to Andy is don't for­get the ad­di­tional ben­e­fits of a great cus­tomer ex­pe­ri­ence and good de­sign in the space, and build in ca­pa­bil­i­ties early on in your process.

The re­duced stress and im­proved well-be­ing that pas­sen­gers ex­pe­ri­ence when prop­erly looked af­ter in tran­sit, in sta­tions and on­board is al­ways un­der­es­ti­mated but makes such a dif­fer­ence to cus­tomer satisfaction. It's a fac­tor for­got­ten at our peril and of­ten the dis­tinc­tion be­tween com­mer­cial suc­cess and fail­ure in any new en­ter­prise.

The rail hospi­tal­ity in­dus­try, led by mem­bers of IRCG, is well equipped to help de­fine the best on­board ser­vice so­lu­tions, with ex­perts in the de­sign of re­tail and cater­ing con­cepts, brands, sup­ply chains, ser­vice ar­eas, equip­ment, tech­nol­ogy and lo­gis­tics; so plan early for a great pas­sen­ger ex­pe­ri­ence and it will pay div­i­dends for the fu­ture suc­cess of any new high-speed rail op­er­a­tions and the cus­tomers alike! •

Plan early for great cus­tomer ex­pe­ri­ence on­board and it will pay div­i­dends in the fu­ture for U.s. rail op­er­a­tors

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