Transport User Voice – January 2023 – The future of the railway

20 December 2022

What do passengers want?

Passengers want better value fares, trains they can rely on and more of them.

To help support Network Rail business plans for the next investment period starting in 2024, we asked over 15,000 rail passengers across Great Britain to tell us what is important to them.

The goal was to update the understanding of passengers’ expectations of the railway post-pandemic, the impacts of different ways of working and what the positive differences would be for passengers. What matters to passengers, should inform the difficult funding decisions and choices in the next year.

Transport Focus has identified what matters most to passengers and how the railway is performing in those areas. This provides highlights for investment potential and where actions by the operator can be targeted. We also explored passengers’ views on punctuality, reliability, engineering works, the environment and accessibility.

The top issues that matter the most to passengers across Great Britain are:

  1. Price of train tickets offers value for money
  2. Reliability and punctuality
  3. Sufficiently frequent trains
  4. Accurate and timely information about train times
  5. Getting a seat on the train
  6. Personal security on the train
  7. Being kept informed about delays and the options passengers have
  8. My personal security at stations
  9. Quick journey times
  10. Inside of trains being clean and well-maintained.

Other key findings include:

  • almost three quarters of passengers believe it is more important for trains to run to schedule, compared with one in five who would prefer a quicker service which may increase the chance of delays.
  • less than half of passengers think the railway currently performs well on delivering value for money tickets.
  • passengers that last used the train more than 12 months ago say that cheaper fares are the factor most likely to encourage them to return to the train.
  • passengers say that the railway’s ability to cope with adverse weather is the most important environmental issue. The railway’s current performance in this area is a concern for some passengers, with more than one in four saying the railway performs poorly.
  • Disabled passengers have the same top priorities of reliability and value, but unsurprisingly those travelling with a mobility scooter or wheelchair say it is accessibility that matters most to them.

The railway is at a moment of change, and our role is to ensure that the user view is at the heart of these changes. An early new year resolution for Britain’s railway should be to focus on what matters to passengers in 2023, deliver daily and attract lapsed passengers back to rail.

Read the report here.


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