Rail user satisfaction at 10-year low

People waiting for trains on a platform Image copyright PA

Passenger satisfaction with rail services has fallen to a 10-year low, according to the independent transport watchdog, Transport Focus.

A survey of 25,000 people found 79% were satisfied overall with services, the lowest since 2008, with more than one in five passengers not satisfied.

Worsening punctuality, last summer’s timetable chaos and strikes are among the reasons for the fall.

Northern Rail and Great Northern saw the biggest drops in satisfaction.

Comparing autumn 2018 with autumn 2017, two of the 25 train operating companies (TOCs), Heathrow Express and Chiltern Railways, “significantly improved”.

But over the same period seven operators “significantly declined”: Great Northern, Northern, TransPennine Express, Greater Anglia, Thameslink, ScotRail and London North Eastern Railway.

Other findings included:

  • 71% were satisfied with levels of punctuality and reliability
  • 46% were satisfied with value for money
  • The value for money measure fell to 31% for commuter journeys

Anthony Smith, chief executive of Transport Focus, said: “Government and the industry must continue to focus on performance. In the longer term, the government’s Rail Review must bring about fundamental change.

“Passenger irritation at poor performance erodes their most basic trust in the industry. Passenger frustration at continual fare increases saps confidence in the system to reform itself.

“Passenger anger during the summer timetable crisis was palpable.

“A better value for money and more reliable railway must arrive soon for passengers.”

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