New Street views: rail passengers have their say

27 May 2022

Our rail user survey provides a unique insight into people’s attitudes towards their latest train journey.

We ask hundreds of passengers a week how satisfied they were on a range of topics. Did their train arrive on time? Was it clean? Was it crowded? It’s a great way to gauge how happy (or unhappy) rail passengers are.

Covid restrictions are over and passenger numbers are increasing. We continue to measure passenger experience through our regular monthly surveys. As we often do, we decided to bring the numbers and comments to life with some ‘real passenger’ interviews.

Just as restrictions were about to be lifted, our comms team headed out to Birmingham New Street, the busiest station in the UK, outside London. Arriving just after rush hour, we took our clipboards and cameras and asked people why they had travelled by train (or not, to those using the station as a cut-through), how it was for them and what could have gone better.

We already know from our research that, especially when things are going smoothly, people tend not to think about their journey too much. They know they need to get somewhere and that’s about it. Whether the experience could be improved might not necessarily be at the forefront of their minds. But a bad journey can have a lasting effect on someone’s day.

Overall, passengers value the train for several reasons. It’s quicker and easier than taking the car (especially for those who don’t drive). People told us they enjoyed the convenience of being able to work onboard and charge their electrical devices while of course avoiding the headache of traffic jams.

However, the one issue that consistently reared its head was – the price. People want to take the train, but they don’t want to pay through the nose for it. It’s no surprise therefore that the Great British Rail sale, recently announced, is proving so popular.

We shared our video with the Department for Transport to help bring to life the data we share with colleagues there. You can watch it here.

Our latest rail user survey (published 10 May) shows that more than 88 per cent of rail passengers were satisfied with their latest journey overall. The level of satisfaction among the passengers we met was also generally positive.

Our work to capture transport user voices will continue. So, if you are asked by someone wielding a clipboard or tablet while on the move, at a rail station, on the bus or even at motorway services, please do share your views and help make a difference. Your feedback could help make your journeys better in the future.

If you’re interested in giving your views more often, please do sign up to become part of our Transport User Panel. However, you get around – be it by bus, train, car or just by foot, you can help to influence Government, local authorities, and transport operators to improve the way you travel. Find out more here.

Departures board in New Street station       




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