Transport User Voice – February 2020 – Wales – One year on

05 February 2020

What do the latest survey results show?

One year on from the Wales and Borders railway being put into new hands how do passengers rate services? Transport Focus has just published the latest National Rail Passenger Survey results, which show aspects of the journey continuing to decline – two areas in particular: 

Commuters’ view of value for money 

Fewer than half of fare-paying passengers – 48 per cent – are satisfied with value for money during weekdays. This is down significantly from 57 per cent in autumn 2018. Satisfaction on weekdays is also down for punctuality by five points to 73 per cent, frequency by four points to 69 per cent and level of crowding by two points to 66 per cent. 

Passengers measure value for money against the service they receive in return for their ticket and want to have a consistent day-to-day service they can rely on, with a better chance of getting a seat. 

Transport Focus has long called for a fares system that is simple to use, easy to understand and is flexible enough to cater to how people work and travel today. Transport for Wales Rail is addressing this with a package of fare reductions introduced in January, including: 

  • 10 per cent reduction in fares set by Transport for Wales Rail for many journeys on North Wales and Valleys routes 
  • more availability of advance tickets, including on the day of travel 
  • free off-peak travel for those under 16 years old and free travel for all children under 11 years old, when travelling with an adult 
  • new Transport for Wales railcards for 18 year olds and students. 

 Staff at stations

Whilst 75 per cent of passengers are satisfied with the attitudes and helpfulness of staff at stations, this represents a notable decrease from 83 per cent in Autumn 2018. This is clearly an area of concern. Passengers rely on staff to provide timely, helpful and accurate advice about their travels, particularly at times of disruption. 

 Transport for Wales Rail is currently in the process of developing a robust staff training programme working closely with Transport Focus to ensure that passengers’ needs are addressed. Whilst Transport for Wales Rail has a clear vision about what it want rail services in Wales to look like, it is important that staff are brought along with this vision and given support and ongoing development opportunities to enable them to provide an efficient and high quality service to the diverse range of fare-paying passengers.

Satisfaction with the availability of staff at stations stands at 57 per cent. This represents a fall from 67 per cent for the same period in autumn 2018. Visibility of staff is vitally important – passengers need to know where they can access help and advice, especially at times of disruption. 

Toilet facilities are also important for passengers so we welcome the improvement in satisfaction at stations of seven points to 46 per cent and with onboard facilities by four points to 44 per cent. Onboard satisfaction has also improved with helpfulness of staff up by five points to 87 per cent and availability of power sockets up by four points to 30 per cent, providing much needed support for passengers’ journeys. 

Transport Focus continues to work closely with Transport for Wales Rail and will meet to secure actions plans that ensure passengers’ concerns are addressed, with focus on delivering the core service that passengers want. 

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