The scores are in – what do rail passengers really think?

29 January 2013

The autumn 2012 wave of the rail National Passenger Survey is out. Over 30,000 passengers have voiced their view of their rail journeys. Along with other views this helps to drive change on the railways. It is clear that major improvements are linked to where passengers have spoken, and industry has acted. So, it is critical that industry and government continue listening to what passengers are saying, and basing investment and operational decisions around this.

So an average 85% overall satisfaction shows things are beginning to move in the right direction. However, if you stood on the train from Reading to Paddington this morning or could not even get on a train to get into Manchester it may not feel like that. Autumn wave scores tend to be higher than the spring wave, as last year’s fare rises fades in the memory.

However, this is still a promising score. Of course, the average figures mask big variations in both direction. Satisfaction on individual routes still varies widely from 76 to 97 per cent. Satisfaction with value for money nudged up by one per cent (to 47 per cent), with individual operators varying between 29 and 75 per cent.

Many train companies and Network Rail areas have made noticeable improvements. East Coast is now level pegging with Virgin at 92 per cent overall satisfaction. Greater Anglia, with still a long way to go, has improved markedly and is now much more firmly placed in among its peers. Chiltern, moving many commuters every day, reaches 91 per cent. First Hull Trains has bounced back to a healthy 95 per cent and Grand Central leads the whole pack with 96 per cent overall satisfaction. Investment in stations is also paying off. King’s Cross shows a 32 per cent increase in satisfaction, Waterloo 11 per cent and Blackfriars is also improving.

So a clear mandate – boost the passenger voice in the long-term planning, the franchise replacement and operation, and the whole industry will become more passenger focused.

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