Rail satisfaction levels at record high

Rebecca Rutt
by Lovemoney Staff Rebecca Rutt on 29 January 2013  |  Comments 1 comment

Train passengers have reported record levels of satisfaction with the UK rail network. But commuters are still angry at the fares they pay.

Rail satisfaction levels at record high

Train passengers have given the UK’s rail network its highest ever customer satisfaction score in the latest National Passenger Survey.

On average operators scored 85%, a 1% rise from the previous year, when it comes to overall satisfaction.

This included the price of fares, reliability of the service, the room available for passengers and the conditions at the station.

But when it comes to the cost of train tickets, many scored poorly, with the average score just 47%.

Passenger satisfaction

The latest research comes from the independent consumer organisation Passenger Focus, which asked more than 30,000 train passengers last autumn what they thought about the UK’s rail network.

Within the study, passengers were asked to score individual operators and routes along with general comments on stations and train services.

The overall score of 85% is the highest score to date since the research first started in 1999.

Northern Rail was the worst operator, with a score of 80%, followed by First Capital Connect at 81% and Southern at 82%.

At the other end of the scale, Grand Central received the highest score of 96%, followed by First Hull Trains with 95% and Heathrow Connect with a score of 94%.

Ticket prices

Customers scored ticket prices for value for money at 47%, a rise from 46% the previous year.

The lowest scoring operators in this section were South West Trains and Greater Anglia with only 37% of customers saying they were satisfied with what they had to pay. First Capital Connect and Southeastern followed narrowly behind with a score of 38%.

Passengers travelling on Grand Central were the happiest with the price of their tickets at a 73% score, while Merseyrail came closely behind at 70%.

Read How to cut the cost of rail and coach travel.

Train delays

When asked how well train operators dealt with delays, First Capital Connect again scored poorly at a rate of 33%. It was followed by Northern Rail and Southern joint with a 39% score and then Southeastern at a 40% rate of satisfaction.  

The highest scoring operator in this section was Grand Central with a score of 77% followed by East Coast at 69%.

Read Train delays and cancellations: how to claim refunds and compensation.

The results

While it’s good news that overall scores have seen an improvement, there are still major problems with certain networks. This means the headline rate of record high customer satisfaction will seem completely unrealistic to commuters stuck on some of the UK’s worst networks.

Anthony Smith, chief executive for Passenger Focus, also points out that when these studies are carried out in autumn they generally tend to be most positive than those from spring. So it’ll be interesting to see how the next set of results compare.

Do you agree with these results and have you seen an improvement in your train line? Let me know in the comment box below.

More on travel:

How to cut the cost of rail and coach travel

Train delays and cancellations: how to claim refunds and compensation

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Comments (1)

  • PDB11
    Love rating 75
    PDB11 said

    Train travel is great for anyone who lives near a station!

    I moved to the Midlands in 1990. A couple of years later I heard that there were plans to re-open the Ivanhoe Line (Leicester, Coalville, Ashby, Burton on Trent) to passenger traffic within three years. It remained "within three years" until about the end of the century. Then it became "2010 at the earliest". 2010 has been and gone, and the only change on the railway has been the removal of a branch to some goods sidings. That branch (formerly part of the Ashby and Nuneaton Joint Railway) makes for some pleasant walks, but doesn't help me travel anywhere.

    I have to go into Loughborough or Leicester to get a train. Or Burton or Tamworth. But once I've got in my car and started driving, it is usually more convenient to take the motorway. And, not surprisingly given the findings above, just as cheap, unless I have booked in advance and committed myself to specific times both ways.

    Last year I spent some time in Germany. I travelled by train a lot. Two things stood out: one, there are no peak fares; the same rate applies all day long. The other was that almost all trains are electric. The Germans have electrified the whole network, and use diesel shunters just in goods yards. Working in the power industry, I can see why - we'd never consider a little diesel generator in each factory when we can connect them all to power stations with the grid; so why do the railways have to have a diesel engine in each locomotive instead of... (you know the rest).

    I don't know how much it affects price, but it seems to me the parts of Britain that still have good local rail services are the parts that are electrified.

    Report on 30 January 2013  |  Love thisLove  0 loves

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