Latest Rail News

25.06.14

Open access operators top the league in National Rail Passenger Survey

The three top train operators for passenger satisfaction are all open access operators, not franchisees – First Hull Trains, Heathrow Express and Grand Central.

Passenger satisfaction varies wildly across the country, but the national average has held steady, the latest figures show.

The spring 2014 National Rail Passenger Survey (NRPS), based on 27,000 passenger interviews, shows 82% overall satisfaction rates with their last journey, the same as a year ago.

But broken down by train company, the findings show stark differences – from 72% (Southeastern) to 96% (First Hull Trains).

Abellio Greater Anglia and East Coast saw the biggest jumps in passenger satisfaction, while Southeastern, Arriva Trains Wales and c2c saw declines. No other TOC saw statistically significant changes on the spring 2013 survey.

Anthony Smith, Passenger Focus’s chief executive, said: “It is good news that overall satisfaction with Britain’s railways remains steady. Congratulations to Abellio Greater Anglia and East Coast for significant improvements. Some other operators have to work hard to recover passenger confidence after difficult periods.

“Getting trains on time is the key factor underpinning passenger satisfaction while how delays are dealt with is the key factor behind scores for passengers’ dissatisfaction. Better communications during weather-related disruptions may have ensured passengers’ satisfaction in dealing with delays has held up with some train companies.

“Satisfaction with value for money varies even more widely among operators but, while still low, has increased slightly from 42 to 45%. This is likely to reflect the Governments’ decision to bear down on fare rises last year.  However, it does vary widely between routes from 29 to 79%.”

The full NRPS report can be downloaded here.

Passenger Focus said these were its key findings:

• The highest satisfaction ratings went to First Hull Trains (96%), Heathrow Express (94%), Grand Central (94%), Merseyrail (93%) and Chiltern Railways (92%)

• Satisfaction with punctuality and reliability remained similar to 2013 at 77%

• Two biggest improvements in satisfaction were with value for money of the price of the ticket and cleanliness of the outside of the train – both up 3% on spring 2013

• Satisfaction with sufficient room to stand varies widely by route between 52 and 93%

• For London and South East passengers, the biggest improvements in satisfaction were with helpfulness of station staff, how requests to those staff were handled, value for money of the ticket price, and the cleanliness of the outside of the train. 

• For long distance passengers, the biggest improvement in satisfaction were with train toilet facilities, and the choice of shops, eating and drinking facilities available (4% increases)

• For regional passengers, the biggest improvement in satisfaction was with train toilet facilities (4% increase)

More analysis of the results in the next edition of Rail Technology Magazine.

(Photo copyright mattbuck, used here under a Creative Commons licence)

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