Stewart Fox-Mills is one of our Director’s at Abellio. He was speaking at the CBI Low Carbon Conference (4 Nov 2019) on the consumer journey and the role of business in driving change. Here is a snapshot of what was covered at the event - check out @CBITweets for more details.

Think about the last time you asked someone for directions on the street.

Thanks to apps like Google Maps and Citymapper, asking someone how to get to the nearest tube station or restaurant is a thing of the past. And, if you can’t be bothered to get directions you can always just book an Uber or jump on the next shared bike you find.

Customers’ expectations have been rising, and what they’ve put up with in the past won’t dictate what they’ll put up with in the future. As people enjoy a seamless retail experience – be it Netflix, Revolut or Amazon – they want the same from public transport. And we need to respond – over 60% of people still choose to drive to work.

So how do we create transport fit for the 21st century? In short, we need to see our industry through the eyes of the customer. This might sound trite and stating the obvious, but it’s not always an easy thing to do.

The railway is run through a complicated set of contracts with government and at the other extreme much of the bus market is completely deregulated. This means that the public debate focuses too much on those contracts and ownership structures and not enough on those who have to use our services every day.

At Abellio, we’re focused on moving away from outdated ways of thinking. Firstly with massive investment of £3bn from moving tourists in the Scottish Highlands to commuters into the heart of the City of London. But this is only the first step in the journey. Radically transforming the customer experience doesn’t just come from new trains or buses – it comes from harnessing the tech revolution that our competitors in other transport modes have done so effectively to help people make the transition to our zero carbon future.