Transport User Voice – July 2019 – Passengers respond to better reliability and new trains
01 July 2019
Latest results from the National Rail Passenger Survey
At long last passenger satisfaction has begun to improve, buoyed by a keener focus on improved reliability, and by the arrival of new trains on some routes, according to the latest set of results from the twice-yearly National Rail Passenger Survey (NRPS).
More improvement is essential, but it must be hoped the positive changes captured by the latest round of NRPS heralds the start of a trend that signals the rebuilding of passenger trust in the railway.
Overall passenger satisfaction with the railway rose nationally to 83 per cent in the spring 2019 – up significantly compared to spring 2018 (81 per cent) and Autumn 2018 (79 per cent). Across the network as a whole, satisfaction with punctuality/reliability also rose to 77 per cent this spring, also up significantly compared to spring 2018 (72 per cent).
The journey experience makes a big difference: Across many operators the most significant improvements in overall satisfaction were down the provision of better internet connection and more power sockets (overall national satisfaction with Internet connection rose by 7 per cent and by 5 percent for the availability of power sockets).
Three operators – all in the London and the South East sector – saw significant improvements in overall passenger satisfaction: Southern (+12 per cent), Great Western Railway (+6 per cent) and Southeastern (+5 per cent). These improvements closely reflect a keener focus on improved reliability, better passenger information and/or the arrival of new rolling stock.
As it happens, the amount of improvement registered on those three operators was enough to deliver a significant overall improvement across the national network as a whole, even though no other train operating companies saw a statistically significant improvement in their overall satisfaction score compared with spring 2018.
Nationally, less than half of passengers (47 per cent) are satisfied their ticket offers value for money, though even at that level this score is significantly up compared to spring 2018 when the same measure stood at 45 per cent.
Overall satisfaction at a national level with the level of crowding on the train also rose significantly this spring to 72 per cent (up from 70 per cent a year ago).
For regional operators overall satisfaction (83 per cent) did not change significantly compared to spring 2018 (84 per cent). Underneath this headline figure, were significant declines in satisfaction for factors including the upkeep/repair of the station buildings/platforms (-5 per cent).
For the long-distance operators the proportion of journeys rated as very or fairly satisfactory overall was not significantly different to scores a year ago. Satisfaction improved significantly with station shelter facilities (+3 per cent) but fell for car parking facilities declined (-6 per cent) and for the level of crowding on the train (-2 per cent).
The National Rail Passenger Survey (NRPS), is one of the largest published passenger satisfaction surveys of rail passengers in the world. In the latest survey – between 4 February and 14 April 2019 – Transport Focus surveyed 30,119 passengers.