How do rail passengers rate services? The scores are out…

30 January 2018

How do you rate your train journey?

Nearly 28,000 rail passengers across England, Scotland and Wales took part in the latest wave of the National Rail Passenger Survey. The work took place between September and mid-November last year. The survey asks passengers to rate the journey they are just about to make – this produces rich, actionable data for the industry and Governments to use.

We reach a representative sample of the current, actual users of the railway. It is not a survey about what passengers think about the rail industry or train company more generally. We have the advantage of knowing these passengers have travelled with the train company they are rating. The results are weighted to correctly reflect the number of peak and off-peak passengers, journey purpose, time of day and other factors.

You can see the full results here.

A mixed picture emerges. Many train companies show steady satisfaction ratings – which is good. Normal, boring, OK service day after day is commuter heaven and a pragmatic aim! Good news from Southern, and Southeastern passengers – satisfaction with performance has improved and stabilised. Not good enough yet but heading in the right direction. Thameslink passengers have given much better scores for many factors and are really heading in the right direction.

Tales of woe for South Western Railway passengers – that’s 13 per cent of Britain’s rail journeys mainly in and out of the busiest station, Waterloo. Performance, already patchy before the hugely disruptive Waterloo upgrade, has continued to be weak. Overall satisfaction down seven percentage points. South Western Railway and Network Rail were asked to a recent, public Transport Focus Board meeting to explain how and when performance will recover. ‘Soon’ is the answer and we will keep up the pressure.

Scotland’s passengers continue to score Scotrail’s recovery at 85 per cent overall satisfaction – again, the stabilising of performance acts as a balm. Not so good in Wales as overall satisfaction with Arriva Trains Wales has dipped down as satisfaction with punctuality and reliability has dropped. Big hopes rest on Network Rail and the new operator taking over later this year. Transpennine Express passengers report the most crowding – again new, longer trains should ease this in time.

The results can be broken down in many ways. With the increased devolution to routes and the rise of the Network Rail Route Supervisory Boards – which we represent passengers on. It is interesting to look here at the scores for the various Network Rail routes.

London North Western leads the pack with Wessex, who support South Western Railway, trailing. We intend to make more use of this data.

Good to see investment starting to be noticed. Thameslink passengers are rating their new trains more highly and the rebuild at London Bridge (only partially finished as the survey was carried out) has boosted ratings for the station and probably the train companies that serve it.

So, see how your train company is doing – we have ‘at a glance guides’ for each train company on the website. Have a play finding out the results cut by age, gender or whatever.

Rest assured the passenger voice is being heard loud and clear and Governments and the rail industry get good, strong feedback which, in turns, drives action.

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