HS2

05.02.16

Passengers still want railway staff at stations - research

Face-to-face interactions with railway staff are crucial for passenger satisfaction, Transport Focus’ latest National Rail Passenger survey has found.

The survey shows that 76% of passengers reported satisfaction with the attitude and helpfulness of railway station staff, a 3% increase from autumn 2014, and 66% with train staff, a 2% increase.

However, only 44% were satisfied with the availability of staff.

Transport Focus chief executive Anthony Smith said: “Each time we ask passengers about rail staff we get the same answer: we like and value having staff around and our journey experience would be much the worse without them.

“It is essential that the rail industry carefully considers the findings of this research when deciding how it uses frontline staff.”

The most popular means of buying tickets is still in person at the ticket office, with just under 40% of total tickets in 2013-14 bought this way, although this represents a decline from 70% 10 years ago.

Transport Focus’ autumn 2014 National Rail Passenger Survey found that lack of staff was the second biggest reason passengers feel unsafe during their journey, with 40% saying it made them feel unsafe at the station and 50% on the train.

RMT leader Mick Cash told BT News: “With Southern and Thameslink confirming this week that they are planning to close or downgrade over 80 ticket offices, this report should serve as a brake on the national drive to a de-staffed railway.

“Staff are the living and breathing link between passengers and services and are also critical when it comes to safety and security at this time of heightened alert and massive overcrowding.”

Cash warned on Tuesday that Govia Thameslink were going to “unleash a wave of ticket office carnage” after they announced plans to close ticket offices at 81 stations on Thameslink, Southern, Great Northern and Gatwick Express.

This year’s Transport Focus survey found an overall slight increase in passenger satisfaction, to 83%.

Comments

Huguenot   08/02/2016 at 10:02

It is important to remember that there are three instances where tickets cannot be bought at ticket machines or online: 1. Some local authorities provide off-peak concessionary rail travel within their area and adjacent authorities at half fare on production of a bus pass. This can only be used at a staffed booking office. 2. Tickets for some journey pairs are only available from booking offices. An example is for a suburban journey from the national rail network into London Underground Zones 2-3 which does not involve travel via Zone 1. 3. Vouchers issued as 'delay repay' refunds can only be exchanged at booking offices.

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