SWR needs to
be aware of its competitors. The market for travel is highly competitive. Other
forms of travel, e.g. bus, car, are sources of both threat and opportunity. One
opportunity, for example, is that car users may find it cheaper to travel by
train because of high petrol costs.
Digital rather than physical solutions can be rolled out
in days or weeks, not months or years. And the perennial issues of ticketing,
overcrowding and train organisation are some of the issues in the sights of
start-ups aided by a recent blooming in hackathons and a first rail accelerator
opening in London. Closely connected to the development of the start-up
community within rail is a widening digitalisation of the processes behind many
of the key systems behind rail operations. The digital revolution arrived in
rail later than in other industries, but is quickly becoming the establishment.
The incredible speed of
technology advances has a big effect on any transport industry. The likes of
faster and more reliable broadband connections will increase the amount of work
done by teleconferences and reduce travel to meetings. This allows nondirective
competitors to put SWR out of business as customers will not travel if the
option is available via the internet.