Improving ambience on the London
Client and initial situation
Metronet Rail (MRBCV) is responsible for a third of the London
Underground network. The terms of the Private Public Partnership
(PPP) contract provides strict requirements for MRBCV to ensure
quality of service, rewarding for improved performance but
penalising for failure to deliver to stringent performance
criteria. Performance is measured in availability, service points
and ambience. VISION was initially asked to work with MRBCV to
improve the ambience of the Central Line fleet and to bring a more
customer-centric focus to the organisation. Ambience concerns the
quality of the travelling environment, and is a good indicator of
the customer's experience. London Underground Limited measures
ambience through mystery shopping surveys. Years of chronic
under-investment resulted in less than satisfied customers and poor
performance under PPP criteria. Ambience was of particular concern
to MRBCV because it was an area where their scores were in
Client's request and VISION's approach to the
MRBCV asked VISION to help them create an ambience improvement
and roll it out on their Central Line fleet. The key project
- Achieve a target of 69.1 in the Mystery Shopping Survey within
six months improving on the average score of 63 points.
- Produce an annualised saving in ambience on the Central Line by
moving from abatement to a reward situation.
- Introduce a customer-centric style of management.
The VISION Consulting and MRBCV team successfully identified the
experience that would delight the travelling public, and meet the
regulators requirements, measured via the Mystery Shopping Survey.
The team designed a network of commitments that would satisfy these
customers. The concerns of the travelling public became the concern
of each individual within the team, from management to cleaner
Building trust between the team at all levels was a vital key to
the success of the project. The core cleaning process was carried
out during the night. The consultants worked shoulder to shoulder
with the operational staff in the depot and the contract cleaning
teams overnight, building trust and confidence in the
This team ethos was extended to the commercial deal that was
struck. VISION promised to deliver results by sharing the risk and
the reward of the project. This pricing agreement meant that both
companies were equally committed to delivering a successful project
ensuring mutual benefits.
- Central Line Fleet achieved a score of 72.3 (Results for Q1,
2003-4) in the Mystery Shopping Survey, comfortably exceeding the
target of 69.1.
- The declining trend in ambience score was reversed. Instead of
costing MRBCV money in terms of abatements, ambience for the first
time was making a positive contribution to the bottom line.
- Cleaning frequency increased from four trains to 18 trains per
24-hour period, allowing the entire fleet to be cleaned every six
- Graffiti was eliminated from the entire fleet. 90% of all new
graffiti was removed within 24 hours, and 100% within 48
- The contract cleaner attrition rate fell dramatically, from 40%
to less than 5%.
"VISION and MRBCV's working partnership has created
practical results. We have moved from a penalty to a reward
situation with the regulator and we have a new commitment and
confidence to deliver a quality service. The daily underground
passenger has a service that is cleaner and more pleasant to use.
That's over three million more satisfied customers each day."
Lloyd Rodgers, Director of Maintenance,