Understanding rail passengers: festive travel experiences

30 May 2013

With the bank holiday just over, Passenger Focus has published a relevant report looking at passengers’ experiences of services over another, longer holiday period.

In Understanding rail passengers: festive period travel experiences we looked at passengers’ experience of rail travel over the most recent Christmas and New Year period.

This is the first in a series of occasional reports designed to draw out interesting themes not addressed in the National Passenger Survey (NPS). NPS provides a detailed picture of passengers’ journey experiences but cannot address every topic of interest to the industry.

We got in touch with some of the people who had previously taken part in NPS, and asked whether they had travelled by train over this festive period. If they had, we we talked to them about why and what they thought of the services.

We found that:

• there is some demand for services on Boxing Day – 4 per cent would ‘definitely’ and 12 per cent ‘probably’ use train services if available
• demand was higher in the London area – and among younger passengers
• around 20 per cent of weekend journeys in this time were for work – this has prompted us to do some further work on weekend commuters, to be published later this year
• adverse weather and engineering works had impacted passengers travelling between Christmas and New Year.

We will use the results to encourage train companies to consider putting on selected services on Boxing Day if there is a local need.

While there is never a good time to disrupt people’s travel, it is widely accepted that any major work should be done over holiday periods, which tend to be quieter on the railway. However we shall also be using the results of this report to help industry understand how doing this work will affect passengers travelling over holiday weekends.


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