Rail passengers feeling the strain

29 June 2016

Latest rail passenger satisfaction figures from independent watchdog Transport Focus are out today.

Anthony Smith, chief executive, says:

“Many passengers are feeling the strain. As passenger numbers rise and welcome investment is put in place some passengers are having a difficult time with delays and cancellations making journeys stressful. Simply getting on a train has become a struggle for some.

“Passengers’ main need is for a reliable railway. Our latest NRPS results, in London and the south east in particular, clearly show that for many this is not happening right now. Passengers want their reliable railway back.”

The headline National Rail Passenger Survey results were:

  • Overall satisfaction:
    • commuters – 72 per cent
    • national total – 80 per cent
    • London and the south east area – 78 per cent
  • Punctuality:
    • commuters – 61 per cent
    • national total – 73 per cent
    • London and the south east area – 70 per cent.

Passengers using Southern have had a particularly difficult time more recently as industrial relations problems have aggravated the knock-on effects of record passenger numbers, the impact of major improvement works and existing problems with trains and track. ScotRail passengers have also been hit by industrial disputes.

Transport Focus calls on the industry to better manage planned and unplanned disruption – getting services back to normal as soon as possible and keeping passengers informed. Plus, boosting compensation to help ease the pain – make some offer that shows passengers they haven’t been forgotten and that acknowledges problems experienced. This could include implementing the welcome promise to cut the threshold for Delay Repay to 15 minutes from the current 30.

There were positive results as well – both Great Western Railway and Virgin Trains achieved a higher overall score this year. Northern Rail and South West Trains both scored higher on the value for money rating.

– Ends

Notes to editors

Media enquiries: please call press office on 0300 123 0821.

General enquiries: 0300 123 2350

  • Southeastern scores are the subject of a technical query and may need to be revised at a future date – as such their current scores should be treated as provisional. This could also affect the overall and sector score.
  • The emotional tracker was a pilot to monitor commuter experiences through a period of disruption linked to London Bridge and the Thameslink programme. We found that two key factors affected passenger sentiment – being on time and the ability to get a seat (or have enough room to do something useful with their time).Such issues have always been a core concern for commuters but the research showed how sensitive passengers are to delays and how other factors can help mitigate some of the more negative emotions experienced.It also showed that passengers expressed a range of emotions for their journeys – it was not simply a case of an individual always being happy or angry throughout the research period.
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