Working in partnership with London TravelWatch

Sunday peak in the Peaks

09 December 2016

A colleague travelled with East Midlands Trains from Derby to London on a recent Sunday evening. The train from Derby was absolutely heaving – he couldn’t get to his reserved seat. It was slower than usual as well, so meant 2 hours 20 minutes standing. He found it unacceptable, saying that it wasn’t a one-off; it had happened to him before on that journey.

Sunday evenings sees the usual half-hourly service between Derby and London reduced to hourly. Quite why there should be a reduced timetable at one of the busiest times of the week is odd.

We had a look at Sunday National Rail Passenger Survey scores for East Midlands Train’s London route to see if other people were having similar experiences. Overall satisfaction, satisfaction with the train and particularly satisfaction with sufficient space to sit or stand are below weekday levels and significantly below Saturday levels. The below scores are Autumn 2015 and Spring 2016 combined.

Satisfaction with availability of space to sit or stand on Sundays is six points lower than weekdays, and 11 points lower than Saturdays.

Satisfaction with availability of space to sit or stand

Weekday Saturday Sunday
Percentage of passengers satisfied or very satisfied 71 76 65

Overall satisfaction

Weekday Saturday Sunday
Percentage of passengers satisfied or very satisfied 85 91 82

Satisfaction with the train

Weekday Saturday Sunday
Percentage of passengers satisfied or very satisfied 86 87 80

Satisfaction with frequency is reasonable, comparable with weekdays, but below that of Saturdays. Quite understandably given that many trains take longer than usual, people aren’t very happy with the journey length on Sundays.

Satisfaction with the length of time the journey was scheduled to take

Weekday Saturday Sunday
Percentage of passengers satisfied or very satisfied 87 98 76

Satisfaction with the frequency of the trains on that route

Weekday Saturday Sunday
Percentage of passengers satisfied or very satisfied 86 93 86

This is a classic example of disconnect between passengers’ needs and actual experience. The definition of peak times is rooted way in the past. Things have changed. More fundamental reform of fares and ticketing is needed.

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