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Survey reveals a rise in UK rail passenger satisfaction

27 January 2016  •  Author: Katie Sadler, Digital Content Producer, European Railway Review

The latest National Rail Passenger Survey has revealed a rise in overall rail passenger satisfaction during 2015 but commuter rail services are holding the recovery back.

UK rail passenger satisfaction rises

The National Rail Passenger Survey (NRPS), carried out by Transport Focus, has revealed a two percent increase in overall rail passenger satisfaction levels across the country rising to 83 percent in autumn 2015 compared to 81 percent the previous year.

Transport focus surveyed 28,000 passengers in autumn 2015 recording Passengers’ overall satisfaction, overall satisfaction with the station and train, and satisfaction with 33 specific aspects of service.

Overall rail passenger satisfaction rises to 83 percent

The latest results show a reversal in previous decline with improved satisfaction seen in 20 out of 35 categories of train and station facilities, including a three percent increase in overall satisfaction with the trains themselves. However, overall scores for commuter satisfaction was 76 percent, compared to 85 percent for business and 90 percent for leisure travellers.

Transport Focus Chief executive Anthony Smith said: “Punctuality and crowding drive passenger views of the railway. The value for money scores highlight the wide variations around the country and between different routes. Passengers rightly expect the train companies and Network Rail to keep to their basic promises with most trains on time, the right length and with few cancellations.”

Spiralling numbers putting pressure on the rail network

Transport Focus highlight the pressures of spiralling passenger numbers putting pressure on the rail network both in its day-to-day operation and during rebuilding. ‘While improvements and investments to the railway to cope with this growth are long overdue and very welcome, the process of rebuilding is proving painful in some places’.

Smith added: “Passengers must be involved much more closely in the planning of future big investment programmes, such as at Waterloo and Euston. In addition, these schemes should have realistic expectations about performance and price freezes built in from the start. The deserved credit for the investment will be much harder to claim otherwise.”

Overall satisfaction by train operating companies varied between 73 percent and 97 percent

Overall satisfaction by train operating companies varied between 73 percent and 97 percent whilst overall satisfaction by individual routes within train operating companies varied between 66 percent and 97 percent.

Finding of the survey also revealed:

  • Overall satisfaction by train company varied between 73 per cent (Thameslink) and 97 per cent (First Hull Trains).

The highest ratings for overall satisfaction were achieved by:

  • First Hull Trains (97 per cent)
  • Heathrow Express (95 per cent)
  • Grand Central (93 per cent)
  • Merseyrail (93 per cent)

The lowest ratings for overall satisfaction were given to:

  • Thameslink (73 per cent)
  • Southeastern (75 per cent)
  • Southern (78 per cent).
  • Satisfaction with value for money by individual routes within train companies varied between 33 per cent (Thameslink: South) and 78 per cent (Grand Central: London-Bradford).

“Our customers must be at the heart of everything we do”

Reacting to the latest figures, Jacqueline Starr, Managing Director of Customer Experience at the Rail Delivery Group, said: “Our customers must be at the heart of everything we do. It is good to know that more people are satisfied with their journeys by train but we know that there is more to do to keep improving and to give passengers the excellent services they expect.

“Our railway is benefiting from one of the biggest investment programmes in its history, major improvement work that is producing better stations, better trains and better journeys.

“We are sorry when people do not get the service they deserve. We never want people to suffer delays or disruption. Train operators and Network Rail work hard together every day to deliver a better, more punctual railway and to give people better information when things do go wrong.”

Full results of the National Rail Passenger Survey can be downloaded here.


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