Train reliability steadies but performance woes hit South Western Railway passengers

30 January 2018

Just a third of commuters are satisfied with the value for money of their train journey mainly due to continued weak performance.

Transport Focus’s latest National Rail Passenger Survey, capturing the satisfaction of over 27,000 passengers with their last journey, is published today.

Anthony Smith, chief executive of Transport Focus, said:

“For passengers, it’s all about performance – these value for money scores reflect patchy reliability. In London and the South East, Southern, Thameslink and Southeastern passengers have felt performance pick up. However, South Western Railway, TransPennine Express and Arriva Trains Wales passengers, among others, have been buffeted by poorer performance.

“Train companies and Network Rail need to keep to their basic promises and deliver a relentless focus on day-to-day performance and better information during disruption.”

Performance on South Western Railway has struggled to recover since the major disruption which involved the upgrade at London Waterloo. Passenger satisfaction dropped to 75 per cent, and even further, to 64 per cent, for passengers travelling in the peak.

Transport Focus recently called South Western Railway and Network Rail to a special Board meeting to explain the poor performance, their approach to managing disruption and investment plans. Transport Focus will continue to press for improvement.

Meanwhile, there are signs investment is paying off. Scores for the new Thameslink trains have increased – with overall satisfaction with the train up by 13 per cent. Passenger ratings for the new London Bridge station, only partially open during this survey period, have also climbed.

Key results are:

  • overall 81 per cent of passengers nationally were satisfied with their journey (73 per cent for commuters)
  • satisfaction with punctuality is up to 74 per cent – this figure drops to 65 per cent for commuters
  • value for money ratings continue below the half-way mark, at 47 per cent (down to 33 per cent for commuters)
  • satisfaction with how well delays are handled  is at 38 per cent overall (30 per cent for commuters)
  • in Scotland 85 per cent of passengers were satisfied with their journey
  • highest-scoring operators were Grand Central (96 per cent), Hull Trains (95 per cent), Virgin Trains East Coast (92 per cent), Virgin Trains West Coast and Heathrow Express, both with 91 per cent satisfaction
  • lowest-scored were Southern (72 per cent), TfL Rail (75 per cent), South Western Railway (75 per cent), Great Northern (77 per cent), Arriva Trains Wales and Great Western Railway, both with 79 per cent
  • TransPennine Express passengers were the least satisfied with the level of crowding on their train, at 58 per cent.

Notes to editors

National Rail Passenger Survey: Transport Focus surveyed 27,819 passengers, across Great Britain as part of the NRPS between September and November 2017. It is the largest published rail passenger satisfaction survey in the world.

South Western Railway is one the largest train operators in Great Britain, with 13 per cent of passenger journeys.

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