National Rail Passenger Survey: community rail lines
25 August 2016
In autumn 2014 we carried out extra work on our regular National Rail Passenger Survey (NRPS) to look specifically at community rail routes.
The research was commissioned by the Department for Transport to understand more about the value of community rail lines and passengers’ perceptions of them.
Looking at the main drivers of satisfaction, the key differences between the national survey and the community rail lines were:
- ‘cleanliness of the inside of the train’ was the top driver of satisfaction for passengers on community rail routes, at 29 per cent against 18 per cent nationally
- ‘punctuality/reliability’ was second, at 12 per cent – significantly lower than the figure nationally of 38 per cent, comfortably in first place
- ‘sufficient room for all the passengers to sit/stand’ and ‘value for money’ came in third and fourth places for community rail passengers, whereas they didn’t feature in the top five nationally.
The headline figures for average journey satisfaction across all the community rail lines surveyed were similar to the ‘rural’ category in the full NRPS survey. Overall journey satisfaction, for example, was 82 per cent for community rail lines and 81 per cent for NRPS ‘rural’ category overall.
However, there was significant variation between the routes surveyed, with Conwy Valley Line recording overall journey satisfaction of 94 per cent, and Mid Cheshire Line recording just 62 per cent. This may have been due to a number of issues: the type of passenger on the route and the types of journeys being made (for example commuters or leisure travellers), frequency of service and journey reliability could all have been important factors.
12 lines were chosen:
1. Conwy Valley Line (Llandudno – Blaenau Ffestiniog)
2. Derwent Valley Line (Derby – Matlock)
3. Avocet Line (Exeter – Exmouth)
4. Heart of Wessex Line (Bristol Temple Mead/Gloucester – Weymouth)
5. East Suffolk Line (Ipswich – Lowestoft)
6. Gainsborough Line (Sudbury – Marks Tey)
7. Marston Vale Line (Bletchley – Bedford)
8. East Lancashire Line (Preston – Colne)
9. Mid Cheshire Line (Chester – Stockport)
10. Tyne Valley Line (Newcastle upon Tyne – Carlisle)
11. Brighton – Seaford Line
12. Island Line (Ryde Pier Head – Shanklin).
The results represent a snapshot of how satisfied passengers were at the time the survey was conducted. It is not possible to see how much results have changed or improved since the lines became a community rail line. However, the results should be a good indication of passenger satisfaction and the profile of passengers in autumn 2014 as surveys took place at various times and on various days.