Watchdog finds low levels of satisfaction for rail


A major rail passenger survey by the independent transport user watchdog has revealed low levels of satisfaction for value for money, reliability and levels of crowding.

Only around one in five passengers on some routes were satisfied with the value for money their fares offer, while only around one in two were satisfied with punctuality/reliability or levels of crowding.


Transport Focus found that satisfaction with value for money by individual routes within transport operating companies (TOCs) varied between 21% at its lowest, while even at its best it only ranked at 78%, while nationally only 47% of journeys were rated as providing satisfactory value for money.

Satisfaction with punctuality/reliability by individual routes within TOCs varied between 51% and 98%, and 74% nationally, while satisfaction with levels of crowding was between 46% and 94%.

Overall satisfaction by TOC varied between 72% and 96%, however overall satisfaction by individual routes within TOCs varied between 61% and 96%.

The highest ratings for overall satisfaction were achieved by:

  • Grand Central (96%)
  • Hull Trains (95%)
  • Virgin Trains East Coast (92%),
  • Virgin Trains (91%)
  • Heathrow Express (91%).

The lowest ratings for overall satisfaction were given to:

  • Southern (72%)
  • TfL Rail (75%)
  • South Western Railway (75%)
  • Great Northern (77%)
  • Arriva Trains Wales (79%)
  • Great Western Railway (79%).

However Southern, despite having the lowest satisfaction, was found to have 'significantly improved' since autumn 2016, along with Thameslink, Grand Central, and Southeastern.

Four operating companies were found to have significantly declined - South Western Railway, Merseyrail, Heathrow Express, and London Overground.

Transport Focus also found that nationally the percentage of journeys rated as satisfactory overall was 81% exactly the same as autumn 2016.

The proportion of journeys rated as satisfactory by passengers regarding punctuality/reliability was 74% up from 73% in autumn 2016.

Around two thirds of journeys were rated as satisfactory regarding the level of crowding on the train (a new factor in the survey since spring 2017).

The National Rail Passenger Survey (NRPS) provides a network-wide picture of customers journey satisfaction with rail travel. Opinions of train services are collected twice a year from a representative sample of passenger journeys. Thousands of people took part in the survey.

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