Passenger Voice December 2015: It’s about time to be on time

27 November 2015

Our new report revealed a gulf between what passengers and rail industry consider ‘late’.

Differences between what passengers think about ‘on time’ trains and what the rail industry currently delivers is contributing to lower passenger satisfaction.

The research in partnership with the Office of Rail and Road (ORR) found:

  • passengers expect ‘on time’ to mean a train arriving within one minute of the scheduled time, not the current industry standard of five minutes (or 10 minutes for long-distance trains)
  • there is low awareness of the current performance measures and a lack of trust in how the rail industry measures train punctuality
  • for every minute of lateness, that is, after scheduled arrival time, overall passenger satisfaction declines by one and a half percentage points. Among commuters the decline in overall satisfaction is steeper at three percentage points per minute of lateness.

 Our chief executive, Anthony Smith said: 

“Passengers want their trains actually on time, not up to five or 10 minutes late.

“With passengers now paying over 60 per cent of the cost of the railway through fares, it’s about time their views about punctuality are listened to.

“Better day-to-day train performance will help passengers trust the promises made by the rail industry – delivering the timetable is key to building trust.”

This report provides ORR with valuable insight into passengers’ views on the punctuality of their train services. The report, along with other industry research, will inform ORR’s work with governments and industry in developing measures of performance for the future.

Find out more about this research, Train punctuality: the passenger perspective, here.


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