Value for money? Mixed feelings from Britain’s rail passengers

28 June 2012

Satisfaction with Britain’s railways holds up at 83% of passengers satisfied overall with their journey. However, this overall figure masks enormous variations on different routes and widely differing value for money scores.

Anthony Smith, Passenger Focus chief executive, said: “Well done to London Midland, Merseyrail and Heathrow Connect, all of whom improved significantly. Particularly impressive was London Midlands’ whopping 17% rise in how they dealt with delays. Greater Anglia (previously National Express East Anglia) will be well aware of the work needed to boost passenger satisfaction.”

Key findings include:

  • First Capital Connect (FCC) passengers noticing improvements at stations. 

  • East Midlands Trains recording some good gains both on train and at stations.

  • Overall satisfaction scores on individual routes varied from 97% (Merseyrail – Wirral) to 70% (FCC – Thameslink South and Greater Anglia* – Metro) with value for money satisfaction ranging from 75% (ScotRail – Rural) to 23% (Greater Anglia – Mainline) on those routes. 

  • Satisfaction with value for money dipping to 42% from 44% in Spring 2011. 

  • Passengers using different tickets giving very disparate scores for value for money.

  • Comparing the views of Advance and Off-Peak ticket holders who think that the railway is reasonably good value, with Season ticket holders who do not. For example, value for money scores for Advance tickets on CrossCountry and Virgin Trains were 64% and 68%, while the scores for Annual Season tickets on Southeastern and South West Trains were 12% and 23% (respectively). 

Mr Smith, added: “Annual Season ticket holders, particularly in London and the South East, despite having regulated fares, unsurprisingly do not think their tickets represent value for money. The industry must keep its focus on getting the trains on time while Government must think very carefully about the forthcoming decision on the rate of rises for regulated fares. The message from passengers is clear.” 

It is interesting to note bus passenger value for money scores in the March 2012 Passenger Focus Bus Passenger Survey. Satisfaction with value for money among fare-paying bus passengers ranged from 39% to 68% across the 23 areas of England surveyed.

Notes to editors

  *  Surveys of Greater Anglia were undertaken from the point at which this franchise changed ownership from National Express to Abellio.

  1. Please click the link below to view/download the National Passenger Survey Spring 2012 Main Report:

  2. Please click the link below to view/download the Bus Passenger Survey main report: 

  3. Passenger Focus is the official, independent consumer organisation representing the interests of rail users nationally and bus, coach and tram users across England outside London. We want to make a difference for rail, bus, coach and tram passengers.
    We’ll do this by:
    – providing authoritative advice for industry based on sound research
    – securing improvements to services – both big and small-scale improvements
    – helping passengers with advice and information~
    – campaigning for change
    – acting on rail passenger complaints

  4. For further information please contact:
    Dervish Mertcan
    Communications Officer
    Tel: 0300 123 0847 / 07918 626 045
    or e-mail: 

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