Overall satisfaction steady – individual passenger experience remains varied

25 June 2014

Rail passenger satisfaction remains steady overall, passengers in different parts of the country have had very different experiences.

This is the verdict of some 27,000 passengers who took part in the latest National Rail Passenger Survey1 (NRPS) this Spring which is published today.

82 per cent of passengers remain satisfied overall with their last journey – the same level as in Spring 2013. However, overall satisfaction by train company varied from 72 to 96 per cent. Overall satisfaction by routes varies more widely from 69 to 96 per cent.

Anthony Smith, Passenger Focus’s chief executive, said: “It is good news that overall satisfaction with Britain’s railways remains steady. Congratulations to Abellio Greater Anglia and East Coast for significant improvements. Some other operators have to work hard to recover passenger confidence after difficult periods.

“Getting trains on time is the key factor underpinning passenger satisfaction while how delays are dealt with is the key factor behind scores for passengers’ dissatisfaction. Better communications during weather-related disruptions may have ensured passengers’ satisfaction in dealing with delays has held up with some train companies.

“Satisfaction with value for money varies even more widely among operators but, while still low, has increased slightly from 42 to 45 per cent. This is likely to reflect the Governments’ decision to bear down on fare rises last year2.  However, it does vary widely between routes from 29 to 79 per cent.”

 Other results include:

  • The highest satisfaction ratings went to First Hull Trains (96 per cent), Heathrow Express (94 per cent), Grand Central (94 per cent), Merseyrail (93 per cent) and Chiltern Railways (92 per cent)
  • Satisfaction with punctuality and reliability remained similar to 2013 at 77 per cent
  • Two biggest improvements in satisfaction were with value for money of the price of the ticket and cleanliness of the outside of the train – both up three per cent on Spring 2013
  • Satisfaction with sufficient room to stand varies widely by route between 52 and 93 per cent
  • For London and South East passengers, the biggest improvements in satisfaction were with helpfulness of station staff, how requests to those staff were handled, value for money of the ticket price, and the cleanliness of the outside of the train. 
  • For long distance passengers, the biggest improvement in satisfaction were with train toilet facilities, and the choice of shops, eating and drinking facilities available (four per cent increases)
  • For regional passengers, the biggest improvement in satisfaction was with train toilet facilities (five per cent increase)


Notes to editors  

  1. The National Rail Passenger Survey (NRPS) is one of the largest published customer satisfaction surveys of rail passengers in the world and is released as an official statistic.  Twice a year we speak to around 30,000 passengers and produce satisfaction ratings for around 30 factors including punctuality, value for money and cleanliness. This year the survey ran from February to April.
  2. Last year, the UK, Scottish and Welsh Governments all announced that ticket rises had to be capped at inflation instead of inflation plus one per cent as it had been previously.


Passenger Focus

Passenger Focus is the independent consumer organisation representing the interests of rail users nationally and bus, coach and tram users across England outside London.

We work to make a difference for rail, bus, coach and tram passengers.

We’ll do this by:

  • providing authoritative advice for industry based on sound research
  • securing improvements to services – both big and small-scale
  • helping passengers with advice and information
  • securing improvements for passengers
  • acting on rail passenger complaints.
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