Shh! Quiet at the back

18 January 2018

Last month South Western Railway (SWR) decided to find out what passengers thought about the quiet carriages on its trains through a consultation on its website. The operator wanted to know what passengers thought of the difficulty in enforcing the rules associated with quiet carriages and the fact that other train operators have removed them. More than 80 per cent of passengers supported keeping quiet carriages.

We at Transport Focus were interested in these results and the wider issues raised by respondents. We ran our own online survey using our Transport User Panel, seeking responses from people who had used SWR trains within the last six months. Expanding on the single question posed in the SWR survey we asked about keeping quiet carriages on different services and the abolition of first class seating on trains.

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Assuming quiet carriages are to be kept on SWR services, how did respondents think the rules could be better enforced? Presented with a range of options to choose from the most popular choice was for better signage, followed by more staff patrolling the carriage and then fines for those breaking the rules.

The majority of respondents supported the removal of first class seating on suburban services (73 per cent) while there was considerably less support for this on longer distance services (46 per cent). Opinion was also divided on the impact the removal of first class would have on fares, 34 per cent believed fares would rise, 38 per cent disagreed and 28 per cent didn’t have an opinion.

We welcome SWR’s initiative in seeking passenger opinion on the subject of the retention of quiet carriages and hope that our own survey has provided some further, useful insight into what passengers would like to see on different services. Why not share your thoughts too – comment here or tweet me @AnthonySmithTF.

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