ATOC has set up a range of schemes where train companies work together to find shared business solutions for passengers’ benefit and generate efficiencies to provide value for money for both commuters and taxpayers. Each scheme is governed by its own council.
These elect management groups to handle the day-to-day operations of their respective schemes to enhance the benefits to passengers of the UK’s national rail network.
Schemes currently in operation
ATOC LRT Scheme
Managing the marketing, retailing and settlement arrangements where train operating companies co-operate with Transport for London.
ATOC Staff Travel Scheme
Assisting employers currently or previously in the rail industry to discharge their employment contract obligations to arrange the provision of free or reduced rate staff travel facilities.
An umbrella arrangement covering a number of commercial businesses, including:
- Disabled Railcard Scheme
- Young Persons Railcard Scheme
- Senior Railcard Scheme
- Family Railcard Scheme
- Network Railcard Scheme
- H M Forces Railcard Scheme
- Passenger Demand Forecasting Scheme
- Retail Agents Scheme
These Schemes manage the marketing of products that offer discounted travel to individuals and groups.
Attended by train operating companies' (TOC) engineering directors or other senior engineers who are able to share best practice concerning the running of maintenance depots. Besides providing a forum for sharing ideas and establishing common procedures, where appropriate, the scheme undertakes projects that can be commissioned by the TOC representatives attending scheme sessions, but managed centrally by ATOC executives.
International Products Scheme
Managing an agency arrangement for the sale of rail tickets and related products abroad, for use in connection with UK rail operations.
National Rail Enquiries Scheme
Franchised and quasi-franchised train operating companies, and open access operators, have a licence condition mandating them to participate in an arrangement for handling telephone enquiries about rail services. They discharge that commitment by joining this particular scheme.
Over the past few years, the activities managed at ATOC by the National Rail Enquiries (NRE) team have changed from a purely telephone enquiry service to a situation where the majority of enquiries (over 90%) are handled by the web-based service. The NRE team also manages other automated enquiry services, such as TrainTracker.
The team is constantly evolving new and more sophisticated enquiry channels in order to keep pace with developments in the communications sector. It ensures that whatever channel is used by passengers to secure information about services, fares, disruption or other issue, the systems are in place to offer a consistent message, and that this applies whether that message is communicated by NRE channels or by others (such as those holding a licence to use NRE data).
The Operations Scheme is another body where train operating company (TOC) experts (in this case, senior operating personnel) come together to share ideas and commission work relevant to TOC businesses in general. This group works closely with Network Rail and, at any one time, there are normally several joint TOC / Network Rail initiatives underway aimed at improving operational performance or safety.
Ticketing & Settlement Scheme
This scheme covers the allocation and settlement of revenue between train operating companies (TOCs) and, accordingly, facilitates through-ticketing. Those selling rail tickets and rail products generally (e.g. joint rail/event tickets) need the same information about price, availability, conditions and the like. The Rail Settlement Plan (RSP) team at ATOC manages these processes, and thereby ensures that retailing by TOCs and others is effective and consistent, that the contract between the passenger and the carrier(s) is robust and that all the revenue generated ends up in the correct place.
The systems underpinning RSP activities are exceptionally complex which is not surprising given the range of products on offer and the multitude of outlets and channels involved in selling those products. “Settlement” activities relate not only to the relationship between the TOCs themselves but also with third parties linked to the TOC businesses, such as Transport for London, Eurostar and travel agents (including web-based agents like the Trainline).