Transport User Voice January 2024 – A clean and safe railway

20 December 2023

Understanding passenger expectations

How can the cleanliness of trains and stations be improved for passengers?

Together with the Department for Transport we have investigated what passengers expect and want improved from cleanliness and safety on the railway.

Transport Focus previously asked rail passengers what is important to them when travelling by train in Britain’s railway – what matters to passengers. Personal security on trains, safety at stations and trains being clean and well maintained, all placed within the top ten.

Our latest research, What makes for a clean and safe railway?, looks to understand what it is about cleanliness, maintenance and personal security that really matters to passengers and how it impacts their experience.

The research found that passenger’s perception of cleanliness on railways encompasses several aspects including; litter, hygiene, toilets, floors and windows and general upkeep of the train and station.

In terms of hygiene, passengers were more inclined to consider diseases as a whole, with flu and colds being of just as much concern as Covid-19.

Toilets were a focus for criticism both on trains and at the majority of stations, to the extent that many passengers said they would rather ‘hold it’ than use such facilities. Research suggested that while toilets are unlikely ever to attract passengers to the railway, well presented, clean smelling toilets can create a good impression and counteract the expectation of poor-quality facilities.

When it came to maintenance, passengers said they accept that trains will show their age over time. The condition of seats can be a key indicator for passengers of how well a train is being maintained.

We will use the research with the industry to help focus attention on the things that really matter to users when it comes to cleanliness and deliver a better overall passenger experience. This research will be used by the Department for Transport to help set standards for train operators’ performance on cleanliness and personal security.


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