Rail passenger satisfaction drops again

27 January 2023

Rail passenger satisfaction has continued to fall following months of industrial action and poor performance. 

In Transport Focus’s Rail User Survey overall passenger satisfaction has fallen to 82 per cent, down from 84 per cent in our December report; the lowest since the survey began in September 2021.  

The survey, covering journeys made in mid-December 2022 and January 2023, asked passengers about their experiences of travelling by rail and how satisfied they were with their most recent journey. 

Passengers rated how satisfied they were with their overall journey, the punctuality of their service, value for money and a number of other measures.

The survey saw other notable drops including:  

  • passenger satisfaction with the punctuality/reliability of the train, down from 77 per cent to 72 per cent, the lowest since the survey began  
  • the length of time the journey was scheduled to take, down from 85 per cent to 80 per cent, also the lowest since the survey began  
  • and the frequency of trains, down from 73 per cent to 69 per cent.  

Commenting on the latest results, Transport Focus chief executive Anthony Smith, said: 

“Rail passengers’ satisfaction is driven by running trains on time. Performance across the country has been patchy, but too many passengers are being let down by strikes and unreliable services. 

“Passengers tell us their biggest priority is a rail service they can rely on to actually get them to work or home on time. Train operators must deliver a more dependable and reliable service.” 

What passengers say 

One passenger said: “Train got cancelled on the way to work and made me wait 30 mins at minus 6 on a cold and freezing platform. In addition I had another cancelled train on the way back from work so this was repeated later in the day.” 

Another said: “The train was on time for once. The train conductor onboard was friendly.” 

Another commented: “Train cancellations meant that the train only went to East Croydon. Was late at night and I had to take a taxi from East Croydon home.” 

On passenger complained about how crowded their train was: The train arrived on time, but it was packed and very crowded which I was not expecting. 

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