Transport User Voice – April 2019 – Changes to the National Rail Passenger Survey

26 March 2019

Boosting the user voice – new survey innovation 

The National Rail Passenger Survey (NRPS) has been in operation for 20 years. Over 1.1 million passengers have now taken part. As an official statistic, it is more widely used in franchise contracts, business planning, commentary and major station analysis than ever before. 

Over the last couple of years, Transport Focus has extended the reach, usefulness and influence of this key tracker survey. Some examples of more recent developments with NRPS include: 

  • Continuous monitoring and feedback on the ScotRail, Greater Anglia and Northern franchises either as part of franchise agreements or separate arrangements. 
  • Network Rail buys ‘boosts’ to assess the performance of its major stations. 
  • Passenger response rates of nearly 30 per cent – high for this type of survey. 35 per cent of respondents now fill in the questionnaire online.  
  • The length of the questionnaire has been reduced to make it more attractive to passengers. 
  • Providing passengers with the opportunity to take part in further work through Transport Focus’s Transport User Panel. 12,000 people actively participate and some train companies have used the panel to explore more in-depth issues.  
  • Working with train companies to focus on specific issues, such as station redevelopments using NRPS data and verbatim responses to produce tailored reports. 
  • Sufficient waves of the surveys trust question are now available to draw some conclusions. This report will be published soon. 
  • number of waves have now been carried out asking an emotion question. Again, Transport Focus will analyse and publish the results soon. 

The NRPS remains a representative, high quality, actionable, authoritative data set, which is sensitive enough to track improvements and issues on the rail network. 

Transport Focus is now working on: 

  • a new artificial intelligence package that will allow much more and easier use of the rich wealth of verbatim comments supplied by passengers 
  • inviting passengers to take part in further targeted work immediately on completion of the online survey, to provide a more in-depth exploration of issues, such as disability or dissatisfaction with a particular issue  
  • developing a Transport Focus app to allow more continuous monitoring of passenger sentiment and satisfaction over a period of time, involving just a few key questions that can be easily answered on the move with mobile devices. 

Transport Focus is getting very good reactions from passengers to these new developments. Transport Focus will continue to make sure the survey provides the opportunity for passengers to talk about the transport they rely on to make their lives work. 

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