When is rail performance good enough?

02 September 2014

A question we often get asked. Bit difficult for a consumer organisation to answer as we cannot say: “Yes, 90 per cent or whatever is fine…”, but perhaps easier for passengers to answer. Delivering the promise contained in the timetable 100 per cent would be one answer. It is an important question as future investment decisions loom – do you put more money into punctuality or maintain performance where it is and give equal attention to other things?

However, I have often felt that when a train company and Network Rail cease to have punctuality and reliability as the key drivers of their passengers’ satisfaction then something is going right! Our research team do some great analysis of the National Rail Passenger Survey which shows why passengers are saying they are satisfied (as the majority are) or dissatisfied overall with the service provided. So for how many train companies is punctuality still the main factor lying behind whether their passengers are satisfied or not?

Looking at the analysis (based on spring 2014 and autumn 2013 data) for individual train companies, punctuality and reliability is still the main driver of satisfaction on the majority. But, for C2c, Chiltern, London Overground, SouthWest Trains, Arriva Trains Wales, Merseyrail, ScotRail, Grand Central, First Hull Trains and Heathrow Express, cleanliness of the inside of the train is the main driver.

So have some train companies reached nirvana? Discuss.

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