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Sat, 4 April 2020

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Unreliable trains sap passenger satisfaction

Transport Focus

4 min read Member content

Dire performance continues for many as passengers in some areas still can’t rely on their train service, says the independent watchdog.  

The transport user watchdog today releases its latest National Rail Passenger Survey of almost 28,000 passengers. It shows that some areas started to improve, as services became more reliable and new trains were introduced. However, Northern, West Midlands Trains, South Western Railway and TransPennine Express passengers face unacceptable continued disruption and uncomfortable journeys. 


Chief executive of the independent watchdog, Anthony Smith, said:  

“Passengers tell us that their biggest priority is rail services they can rely on to actually get them to work or home on time. Until train companies and Network Rail can consistently deliver on their promises across the country satisfaction will continue to vary.  


“In the meantime passengers hit by poor performance must make their voice heard and claim Delay Repay compensation.” 


Value for money results remained disappointing. Less than half of passengers are satisfied with the value of their ticket nationally – that drops to one in three for commuters.  


Anthony Smith added: 

“Passengers have suffered years of above-inflation fare rises, exceeding average wage rises, and calculated using the discredited Retail Price Index measure. This does nothing to restore passenger trust in the industry.”  


Satisfaction with rail journeys was its lowest level in a decade in autumn 2018. It has now gone up as passengers in some areas, particularly in London and the south east, felt the benefit of more stable performance and new trains. 


Transport Focus will use the evidence from the survey as it continues to push for wide-scale reform of the industry, and immediate improvement in reliability for the worst-affected areas.  


The best and worst performers were: 

Overall satisfaction 

Best in class - Heathrow Express (96 per cent), Grand Central (94 per cent), Hull Trains (92 per cent), Merseyrail (91 per cent), and Chiltern Railways (90 per cent). 


Must do better - Northern (72 per cent), West Midlands Trains (73 per cent), South Western Railway (74 per cent), TransPennine Express (79 per cent), and Transport for Wales (79 per cent). 



Best rated for reliability were Heathrow Express (95 per cent), Grand Central (90 per cent), and Merseyrail (91 per cent).  


Lowest rated were West Midlands Trains (60 per cent - a drop of 15 percentage points), South Western Railway (63 per cent), and Northern (65 per cent).  


Value for money 

Best rated for value for money were Grand Central (75 per cent), Merseyrail (67 per cent), Hull Trains (65 per cent) and Virgin Trains (64 per cent).  


Worst rated were South Western (34 per cent), Southeastern (39 per cent), Thameslink (42 per cent), Great Northern (42 per cent), and Greater Anglia (43 per cent). 




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