On 1 January 1948, following the implementation of the Transport Act 1947, railway, canal and inland navigation undertakings were nationalised and ownership was vested in the British Transport Commission (BTC) as the central policy making authority. The BTC also had powers to acquire road transport undertakings predominantly relating to long distance carriage and also passenger road transport undertakings. The Central Transport Consultative Committee (CTUCC) which met in London, was appointed by the Minister of Transport in Dec 1948. Its purpose was to provide a meeting ground for the BTC as provider of transport services and for users' representatives and also to co-ordinate the work of all the area committees. It consisted of an independent chairman and 19 members representing agriculture, commerce, industry, shipping, labour, local authorities and the BTC. The CTUCC was required to meet not less than twice a year (and in fact met 3 times during its first year) and also to produce an annual report to the Minister.
Transport Users Consultative Committees (TUCCs) were also set up under the 1947 Transport Act. Initially there were just two appointed by the Minister, for Scotland and for Wales, with their inaugural meetings being held in 1949. They were required by the act to send copies of their minutes and recommendations to the CTUCC. The first chairman of the Transport Users Consultative Committee for Scotland (STUCC), who also was a member ex officio of the CTUCC was Neil Beaton, former president of the Scottish Co-operative Wholesale Society and member of the North of Scotland Hydro-Electric Board, while Councillor James Welsh, former Lord Provost of Glasgow represented the interests of the local authorities on the CTUCC.
The STUCC met normally 3 or 4 times a year and had 2 subcommittees, one for rail and one for shipping which dealt with complaints and withdrawals of services.
Regional Transport Users Committees, initially, had the power to decide whether or not lines should be closed. But, following the Transport Act 1962 their remit was drastically reduced. The power of decision on station and line closures was removed from them, in order to implement the rail closure proposals of Dr Beeching. Although they could still exert a certain amount of pressure through the holding of hearings and became as a result far more representative of the general travelling public. The Act also empowered TUCCs to report on closures directly to the Minister instead of the CTUCC. The STUCC, therefore reported to the Secretary of State for Scotland as the Minister responsible for transportation north of the border. In 1978, the Transport Act made it incumbent upon Regional Councils to consult with consumer bodies such as the TUCC concerning rail matters when preparing their Public Passenger Transport Plans.
Under the Railways Act, 1993, TUCCs were replaced by Rail Users Consultative Committees, of which there are 6 for England and one each for Scotland and Wales, set up by the Rail Regulator and coming into existence on 1st April 1994. While the Rail Users Consultative Committee for Scotland still covered Caledonian MacBrayne ferry and shipping services, its sister bodies, in England, no longer covered Sealink ferry services, following privatisation.
In 2000, the organisation was renamed the Rail Passengers Council and Committees (RPC) and sponsorship was taken over by the Strategic Rail Authority. The Railways Act, 2005 dissolved the eight Rail Passengers Committees and reconstituted the Rail Passengers Council as a GB-wide body now sponsored by the Department for Transport. The new organisation was renamed 'Passenger Focus'.
Rail Users Consultative Committees were established to protect the interests of users of the services and facilities on Britain's rail network and cover areas, such as punctuality and reliability of trains, timetable changes, quality and design of trains, station facilities and provision of information. Chairmen of all the Rail Users Consultative Committees are members of the London-based Central Rail Users Consultative Committee, which was established by the Railways Act 1993. This committee deals with UK wide issues and liaises with bodies such as Railtrack, the Association of Train Operating Companies (ATOC), the Office of Passenger Rail Franchising (OPRAF) and the Office of the Rail Regulator.